Can't Go Won't Go

School Refusal

by Mike Fortune-Wood £6.99 (inc UK pp) (pp) (kndle available)

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School refusal, sometimes called 'school phobia', is a complex and often contentious issue affecting rising numbers of children. Coping with this issue can tear families apart and leave lasting affects on children.

In "Can't Go, Won't Go" Mike Fortune-Wood looks at the scale of the problem and how families are treated by a range of statutory authorities. Interspersed with moving accounts from families who have struggled with school refusal, sometimes over a decade or more, this important and ground-breaking book sign-posts the need for better communication and strategies from service providers from schools to psychologists.

It suggests that the current trend to either medicalise or demonise children who refuse to go to school will only add to society's problems as well as damaging the individuals concerned. Fortune-Wood goes on to document an alternative approach; that of removing children from school to home educate them, suggesting that far from leading to disaster (as professionals often predict) this can become a life enhancing decission.

This is the best kind of engaged research; full of information and meticulous in its willingness to analyse a problem fully, but also humane and helpful.


"If you are searching for support and answers to help a school refusing child this book gives a refreshing and inspirational viewpoint. Almost all books on the topic of school refusal approach the issues from a clinical background. This book uses real case studies to illustrate how forced school attendance is not the only solution and it questions the validity of current guidelines and beliefs about the causes of school refusal behaviour.

Reading this book gave us inspiration and gave us the push we needed to go with our gut feelings about the best way to help our child. It is so worth reading if you are a family facing school refusal issues. A 'must read' book"

Beth Bodycote, School Refusal/phobia family FB forum admin

This is both a good research book and a great help if you have a child or know a young person affected by school refusal. Very clear and easy to read, lots of short chapters and true experiences. One thing I did like about this book although it does not provide all the answers it certainly gives you a better understanding to help you continue to assist any young person in this situation. Bought many others but this is the book I always refer back to. Enjoyed and well read.

Campbell, Amazon reviewer

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