to think that DDs school is obsessed with attendance levels and feel offended?

(250 Posts)
msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 00:28:47

DD is in reception and she has been ill several times in the last term. Even though all absences were justified, I recently got a call from the school and the advisor from the council to discuss her absences. They suggested I was maybe being "too soft" and that children her age like to "exaggerate" to stay home and watch telly. I told them I only kept her home when she was clearly unwell (fever, diarrea, vomiting...) or there was a risk for the other children. I also let them know that each day I kept her home was a day lost at work. Still, they said that children sometimes could go to school with a little paracetamol, that that's how they build their immune system, and requested that I keep providing them with evidence whenever she's sick.

Now she's ill once more. She has had high fever (37-39C) since last Wednesay. I took her to the GP but she said they don't do letters, only appointment slips, and that my word should be enough and the school had no legal right to ask for evidence.

AIBU? Isn't is outrageous that the school cares more about attendance levels that the wellbeing of children? Do I have to give them proof everytime she's ill? Has anyone experienced the same?

They want evidence? Ask if they want the D&V in a plastic bag or an old margarine tub. Stupid people.
Someone else was complaining of the same rule at their school, I think the local doctor may have some choice words if they want a doctors note for every absence.

cricketballs Mon 18-Mar-13 00:36:20

What is her current attendance level?

Far too often children are kept from school for nothing less than a runny nose and as schools are judged on their attendance then is it no wonder they are concerned with low levels of a child who does not have underling medical issues

UnderwaterBasketWeaving Mon 18-Mar-13 00:37:50

YABU, it's their job to check.

Your child has been genuinely ill. Another child might have neglectful parents. They just need to tick the box that says they asked, and all is above board.

Startail Mon 18-Mar-13 01:24:56

Our school is threatening to send out letters for poor attendence, bloody stupid when D&V meant they were running out of supply teachers so many of the staf were ill as well as the pupils.

They going to get some choice Emails.

Jambonfrites Mon 18-Mar-13 03:33:37

37 isn't really a high temp though is it? Does she have other symptoms? If it's just a slight temp I'd send her in. Obviously D & V is a whole other matter...

anonymosity Mon 18-Mar-13 03:40:19

I know it seems galling but its a process they have to go through. A certain number of absences trigger certain responses - the call you got, letters etc. I would just give them your appointment slips on a regular basis til the end of the year and not worry about it.

We are in the US (UK family) and if our DC who is in the local school misses 10 days in a year they send out a letter. If he misses 14 days then every day thereafter requires a letter from the doctor. If you don't get the letters you get truancy listed. Its the same if you keep your child off school and don't send in a reason within 24 hrs by email, it becomes an "unexcused" absence and you get a letter after 3 of these. Its just a system they have in place. Here every time the child is absent they lose about $35 per day in state funding. By Christmas last year they had lost $300,000 because of absences through illness. They can't get that money back.

Tee2072 Mon 18-Mar-13 06:16:14

It's this attitude that leads to kids growing up to become grown ups going to work ill and spreading the bloody germs around, so everyone misses even more work and school.

Stupid stupid stupid. People get ill and need to rest to recover.

I'd tell the school to fuck off.

TroublesomeEx Mon 18-Mar-13 06:40:40

From the school's perspective, they actually don't want your daughter there if she's ill and infectious. If you sent her in with a fever/D&V they'd be referring to her as the 'poor soul' and complaining that parents don't understand that school isn't a babysitting service...

But they have to be seen to be jumping through Ofsted's hoops following procedure. It's a school's responsibility to improve attendance. So all the letters, evidence etc are so they can prove to ofsted that they are taking attendance seriously and taking action.

It's not about persecuting you (even if that's how it feels!!)

However, a slight temperature can usually be treated with a dose of Calpol. IME children are worse if they're kept at home. They loll around on the sofa, bored and whiney whereas if they were in school they'd be with their friends and perk up pretty quickly - especially in Reception! If they are obviously ill then it's a no brainer, but a bit under the weather and I leave it to the school to call me to collect. They never do.

The school haven't sent the EWO round to see you - schools submit their attendance figures and the local education authority deal with them wgen attendance gets below a certain level. If you're getting visits I'd say your DD's attendance is less than 90%. They have a duty of care to check she's ok.

uniqueatlast Mon 18-Mar-13 06:54:28

As other have said, 37 isn't really a high temp. A dose of calpol and she'll probably be running round fine like the kids in the adverts!

It does have a massive impact on learning when children are absent a lot. I have a child in my class who has missed over 6 weeks of school so far, mostly made up of of days here and there.

They are struggling academically and socially.

So no, they are not obsessed but YABU to keep off for a temp of 37. (obv d&v is different)

cleofatra Mon 18-Mar-13 07:09:11

I totally agree with you OP YANBU.
Our school has a similar obsession. I wonder if it is the same school?

Last year, my son was absent for a whole week, due to an illness which was "going around the school". He had spiking temperatures, vomiting and diarrhoea. The issue was well known to the school as they has 11 kids off one day from one class with the same and had sent texts to ask that people make sure kids were well enough to come back with the bug being so virulent. This continued for the whole week, poor kid, but he was back at school as soon as we were able to send him.

Later in the year, he contracted something akin to swine flu and was off for a few days, and then was off for a day due to a tooth extraction.

This all put us at under the 94% target, or whatever it was.

I was pulled in to the school to discuss and told that the next step was discussing with social services.

He has never been off for "holidays" like many on his class and has never been off sick on a "one off" because of playing tinkers or because of a mild cold etc.

As you can imagine,I was really upset and offended sad

cleofatra Mon 18-Mar-13 07:11:48

And can I point out that if a child is taken down by illness early in the school year, the absent rate WILL be at a high percentage. Maybe these people should adjust the rates for this.

Absence from school is one of those thngs that schools have to take seriously and are just following procedure as they are required to do.

No absence from school can be authorised regardless of attendance be it for a holiday or sickness.

OddBoots Mon 18-Mar-13 07:27:36

I've just been listening to Inside Health (5/3/13) in which a GP said fever starts at 38C but it's only relevant in context with children, you can have very ill children (meningitis was mentioned) with no fever and children could have a fever but not actually be too ill for school. It's always got to be a parental call and that's not easy.

In light of that meeting then I would be tempted to only keep them home for D&V or if seriously not well even after medication. Once they start having to send your DC home they might think differently.

yellowhousewithareddoor Mon 18-Mar-13 07:35:21

I've got a school mum friend who makes a big deal of keeping hers off every time their temperature is raised. It really isn't necessary.

yellowhousewithareddoor Mon 18-Mar-13 07:36:58

Does your daughter have any other symptoms or are you keeping her off for just a temp? The letters are routine but its worth considering if they have a point rather than going straight to offended.

FasterStronger Mon 18-Mar-13 07:37:32

on the basis you think 37 is a high fever when its within the normal variation as normal body temp varies throughout the day, there is something in what the school is saying.

trinity0097 Mon 18-Mar-13 07:39:09

Personally I wouldn't take their temp and go by how they are after some calpol. I know I perk up once I have lemsip inside me when I am ill and no doubt would have a temp but the paracetamol brings the temp down.

Ironbluemayfly Mon 18-Mar-13 07:40:21

I thought attendance wasn't compulsory in reception?

uniqueatlast Mon 18-Mar-13 07:45:04

Ironbluemayfly
It is compulsory that your child starts school the term after they are 5 and you can elect to keep them at home until the January/Easter by officially declaring that to the school and LA thus deferring their place. But if you send them to school with everyone else in the September, you can't keep them off willy nilly when it suits! The same rules appy to them as every other child in the school.

Ledkr Mon 18-Mar-13 07:49:51

Ours are like this since the new head teacher.
Dd gets migraines if the vomiting kind and simply cannot be at school when she has them.
Unfortunately when she got one at school their obsession with attendance meant they didn't call me so I now feel I can't send her even with a slight headache in case it develops.
She also had nasal infections for a while and was constantly told off for needing to go to the toilets to blow her nose as the dr had told her (infection and dignity) so she was kept off more than necessary.

CloudsAndTrees Mon 18-Mar-13 07:54:34

You are being over sensitive to be offended. The school is right, too many children are kept off for next to nothing, and the school doesn't really have any way of knowing if you are a parent that is over anxious or if you are bing sensible.

Attendance is compulsory in reception, even if children are not statutory school age. Once children have started at school they are treated as any other child at school. The school can use their discretion about half days etc, but when a child is enrolled in school they are enrolled in school, and it's not like nursery. That's how it works in my borough anyway.

It's better to have your child at a school that cares about attendance than it, because low attendance, even at an early age, is linked to low achievement.

givemeaclue Mon 18-Mar-13 07:55:42

Why would a child need to go to the toilet every time they blow their nose, how irritating for the teacher

givemeaclue Mon 18-Mar-13 07:56:19

Op how many days has your dd been off?

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