to be quite upset and angry about this letter from school - dd's attendance

(71 Posts)

Dd2 started secondary in September and since then she has had two days off on seperate occasions with minor viral unwell type things. However - two weeks ago tomorrow she fell during a PE lesson and sprained her ankle. She couldn't bear weight on it, I had to collect her from school and the following day dh took her to A&E. She was advised to try and use it as much as possible but it was terribly painful and she couldn't weight-bear for some days. In the end I went and bought her a walking stick and chauffered her to and from school for the rest of the week and she managed to attend. Before I got the stick she couldn't manage at all, was going down stairs on her bottom etc. She has had three days off. She is still in pain but soldiering on. Today is the first day she's both walked to school and home again (1.5 miles each way) in a fortnight. I followed all the school procedures for notifying absence, wrote a note, spoke to the medical room staff so they could update their records re absence from school and x-rays etc. On the Monday she was off I requested work from school in case she couldn't get back the next day and I KNOW this request was passed to the Behaviour and Attendance Manager. Today I have received a letter from that person. Amongst other things it expreses concern over her level of attendance (89.58%) and says 'I do understand that many of the absences may have been genuine'. At that point I started seeing red. We are talking about 3 absences and one of them was caused by an accident at school!
Ok I KNOW this is a standard letter and attendance is very important. None of my children have ever had problems with school attendance. I just feel really upset and actually quite resentful about this. I am also in a minor panic because dd has an orthodontics appointment on Friday morning. The appointment is at 9am so I was going to take her to school afterwards but if I do that she'll lose another registration mark won't she?

AIBU? I probably should just let it go but I'm not very good at that.

Mumsyblouse Tue 20-Nov-12 17:50:14

But how can they justify their job if they don't send you snotty letters?

crashdoll Tue 20-Nov-12 17:50:54

YABU because it's just a standard letter. You know she was genuinely ill. Do try to let it go.

cafebistro Tue 20-Nov-12 17:52:05

Just let it go. Like you say, it's a routine letter and nothing personal.

'I do understand that many of the absences may have been genuine'. That would have really annoyed me. Surely a school has English Teachers and can understand that this sentence implies that at least one of the absences wasn't genuine. Grrr.

Spatsky Tue 20-Nov-12 17:52:31

You say yourself, it's a standard letter.

It's all a bit daft though because genuine parents just get offended (like you have) and anyone it is actually aimed at doesn'#t give a shit about the letter anyway so it does not good IMO.

DragonMamma Tue 20-Nov-12 17:55:11

Just let it go.

I had one because DD's dropped below 85% but they are the ones that keep calling me to collect her because her asthma is playing up.

I binned the letter pdq.

Standard letter, standard letter, standard letter <<breathes deeply>>

I know schools are very closely monitored on attendance and have to have policies to address it. No argument with that. I just want a little sense and humanity behind the letters. If you write to a parent whose child was injured at school about their subsequent absence surely it should occur to you that they might be a bit miffed? And yes MrsPratchett - that IS exactly how I read that sentence and it does hugely annoy me!

Spatsky Tue 20-Nov-12 17:58:10

But then it would all take twice as long as just printing out standard letters and we would all moan at our tax payers money being spent on a letter writing person when they could just print out a standard...

Dominodonkey Tue 20-Nov-12 18:00:58

tbh it's probably the absences quoted that they are unimpressed with "two days off on seperate occasions with minor viral unwell type things"

Since they were minor they probably think she should have been at school. Certainly as a form tutor it is the odd days that I am told to watch out for and question as the theory is that being 'under the weather' or 'a bit ill' is not a good enough reason to miss school. Obviously it is unfortunate that she has hurt her ankle but I guess that's why you should struggle in for minor things.

Dominodonkey Tue 20-Nov-12 18:01:14

I agree that the wording is misguided though.

Kalisi Tue 20-Nov-12 18:01:52

I wouldn't get worked up about it but I would probably write back to the school saying that the wording was innapropriate and they should check individual cases more carefully rather than just sending everyone a standard letter. What if one of the children had a week off through bereavement for example?

Badvocsanta Tue 20-Nov-12 18:06:21

File bin it

Whoknowswhocares Tue 20-Nov-12 18:06:35

Crap letter I would be annoyed too. I would definitely not write in though, especially after the letter you talked about in your last thread. It will do your daughter no good to be labelled as having a trouble maker who is constantly complaining over petty issues

DameMargotFountain Tue 20-Nov-12 18:10:10

i was in receipt of one of these standard letters a couple of weeks ago - it's horrible to see those worlds addressed to you, about your child, if if you know it's not really the case. DD's part time managed start at her new school had been recorded as absence angry

i suggest a ritual burning of the letter and a stiff gin and more swearing

freddiefrog Tue 20-Nov-12 18:11:41

YANBU

I got one about DD2

She had glandular fever over the summer holidays and missed first 2 weeks of school as per doctors orders, and school guidelines - we kept them informed, Doctor's notes, etc

2 weeks back she got sent home Thursday lunchtime after being sick. Back in school the following Monday.

I then get a snotty letter about her attendance which included the may be a genuine absence line.

I know it's just a standard letter but I still saw red and felt like shoving it up someone's nostril, so I put it through our shredder - made me feel much better

She was fine for the rest of the year, and got 100% for the other 2 terms, but because it was all at the beginning of the first term, her attendance % was awful until the year went on a bit

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 20-Nov-12 18:14:10

I would respond in writing listing absence and reasons and request letter is kept in dc's file.

After attending a education welfare attendance meeting regarding a teenager who had been in and out of hospital most of her life and seeing these standard letters covering time the child was in ICU and used as historical evidence,then the mother being summoned to the meeting to explain why she shouldn't be fined. I would never ignore one for any reason. I was shocked at how this family was treated.

Whoknowswhocares Tue 20-Nov-12 18:16:04

That is absolutely shocking pixie
I retract my earlier advice in light of this new evidence. Send a letter.

Whoknows - by 'petty issue' you mean what I viewed as bullying behaviour. I appreciate we differ on that one. I would always rather be labelled a trouble maker though than know myself to be a doormat. I didn't write in re the previous issue btw - was a phone call.grin I am going to have to write about this though aren't I? And what do I do about Friday?

Sockreturningpixie - that's awful. Those parents must have been so distressed.

MrsDeVere Tue 20-Nov-12 18:23:22

YY to what sock said.

I also hate the ridiculous letters sent out by our children's centre if you take DC to A&E.
I am 100% for effective safeguarding but hate ineffectual and potentially harmful box ticking.

These letters state 'I have attempted to contact you on several occasions regarding XXXX recent attendance'

I know for a fact that they did not try and contact me on several occasions yet we still got a letter saying that they had. This made it look like we had not been cooperating or had been ignoring them.

Not a huge problem for us but for a family involved with SS? Could be a big problem in the way that sock describes.

kerala Tue 20-Nov-12 18:24:11

YANBU I dont understand why these are sent. Surely its a minority that dont attend cant see a good reason why should everyone else be unnecessarily upset. I would be really peed off too OP and pixie that is shock.

BalloonSlayer Tue 20-Nov-12 18:27:21

I would write a letter too.

Something like

"I am pleased to be able to confirm to you that every one of my daughter's absences are for a genuine reason.

Absence on xx day was because
Absence on xx day was because
Absence from xx to xx was because of an accident sustained at school, which should be well documented in your files. Can you confirm that this is the case please?
She will also be absent on xx day because she has an orthodontist appointment.

I would like to put it in writing that I am not happy with the implication that some of my daughter's absences were not for a genuine reason. I would never allow my daughter to take time off school for no good reason.

Or, when you wrote to me "many of the absences may have been genuine" did you actually mean that? In which case, yes I can confirm that yes she was genuinely absent, she was not at school wearing an invisibility cloak or hiding in the toilets. "

carabos Tue 20-Nov-12 18:27:42

File it under W for waste paper basket wink.

Whoknowswhocares Tue 20-Nov-12 18:31:44

Northern lurker .....no hard feelings eh? Agree to disagree.
I'd write in and list as sock returning pixie described and put at the bottom of the letter that DD will also be attending appointment Fri. then just take her as planned Being a suspicious cow and expecting school to lose any letter sent, I might email actually and then I'd have proof that they received it if it were ever needed

Inertia Tue 20-Nov-12 18:34:24

I would write back to the attendance officer, copying in the form tutor, year head and head teacher, explaining what you told us in your OP - I would include very specific details about appointments required to follow up the accident your DD sustained in school. I would insist that your detailed record is kept on your DD's attendance file.

I would also outline the steps you have taken to facilitate your daughter's return to school ( such as getting her a stick ), and outlining any problems that she's had with negotiating school premises following the accident, and asking what steps they've taken to help her.

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