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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?

WorraLiberty Mon 18-Mar-13 12:13:15

Wiley grin

Actually thinking back to the OP saying "her attendance was around 80-85%".

Well what exactly was it? They must have been specific when they rang? confused

WileyRoadRunner Mon 18-Mar-13 12:13:20

80% attendance is the equivalent of an entire year at Junior school missed

Please don't underestimate the effect of this ^ OP. Because of my daughters poor attendance she has really struggled to catch up several years down the line. She missed out on the essential basic math and phonics and whilst she has caught up it is still an ongoing effort.

WileyRoadRunner Mon 18-Mar-13 12:13:57

worra I know! I was so busy on my high horse blush sorry!

kinkyfuckery Mon 18-Mar-13 12:15:49

80-85% is indeed a very poor attendance, without an underlying medical condition. It's no wonder they are checking up on you.
37 degrees is not a 'fever'.

PatriciaHolm Mon 18-Mar-13 12:16:11

She's got a slightly high temp, not a raging fever. 15% absence is high, I can see why the school have to raise it; she's missing a lot of school, and they need to be 100% sure there is a real reason for it, otherwise they have to escalate it. If you are regularly giving her days off for temps that can be easily regulated with calpol, you are going to have problems.

WorraLiberty Mon 18-Mar-13 12:18:27

Don't be sorry Wiley! I'm 'wandering around' the topics today in a state of general confusion due to lack of sleep grin

The bastard dog kept me up all night with the shits and has now made a miraculous recovery! hmm

Domjolly Mon 18-Mar-13 12:21:09

My mate is like this her daughter is off sick at the drop of a hat she has had15 days off school already i wouldnt mind is she was very ill but when i go round there for luch and her ds is running about asking for mc ds i do thin hmm

and the worst of it was she claimed her dd was ill last week and may need a day off school when she relised it was red nose day she sent dd in meaning if itwasnt non school uniform day she would have kept her off

A loose attatuide to time off effects the child in question and also effects other children

My sons old school demanded a doctors note with anytime off and i agree if there sick the should be to to the GP if there not sick enough to see the GP then then should be in

The school also had. Policey of bring them in to teh school nurse if they are really poorley she will get you to come and get them and i can most of the time by 11 the chikdren were running around

I am also always imstrested to see chidren who are "ill" in the school playground charging around at the end of teh school day whiest picking up other siblings

WorraLiberty Mon 18-Mar-13 12:22:01

Also, poor attendance for no apparent ongoing medical condition, can raise red flags and concerns that there may be problems at home/abuse/poverty...and all sorts of things really.

I'm not for one second saying that is the case here (just to be clear) but poor attendance can often be a strong indicator and that's why it must be looked into.

kinkyfuckery Mon 18-Mar-13 12:23:08

if there not sick enough to see the GP then then should be in

Totally disagree with this! You take your child to the GP every time they have sickness and/or the shits? Or have been up all night knackered with a persistent cough?

Floggingmolly Mon 18-Mar-13 12:24:22

That's shockingly low attendance for a child with no actual health issues. No wonder they're on your case.

Nipitinthebud Mon 18-Mar-13 12:27:26

My reception aged child is at 85%. School haven't flagged anything and know its because of D or D&V. But they also have a 48h rule post any D or D&V. Which is understandable - but my DC tends to have a more sensitive tummy anyway. I adhere to their rules but after 24h and you've got a basically well child on your hands I do wonder whether 48h is necessary - but don't like to flout the rules (even though I have to miss work/make up the time). I do do work at home with him if he's otherwise well. This autumn/winter has been particularly bad so hopefully come spring/summer he won't be so prone to picking up everything under the sun and his absence rate will go down.

My DC had a temperature for several days with decreased appetite (and resulting in softer poo as usual) between 37.7 and 39C. Trouble was it kept spiking. By the end when it was a wee bit elevated, he was fine in himself and his poo was still soft but not diarrhoea I Calpoled and sent him in. I don't know whether this was the right thing to do or not. But he was OK at the end of the day and the next day right as rain. BTW....he's not my PFB <but may be softie and a stickler for the rules>

I don't think I would be offended if they sent me a letter. I know that it would be to do with their action levels and Ofsted etc.

msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 12:27:54

Just to clarify, I am not keeping her home because I want to. She is genuinelly ill. And I don't think sick children (again: fever, vomit, diarrhea, throat and ear infection, etc) should go to school.

Nipitinthebud Mon 18-Mar-13 12:29:25

Oh and yes, never have taken him to the Dr's for his several bouts of illness. Have rung them to ask about diarrhoea every few weeks and whether it could be an intolerance or weird but, but told it was likely he was just unlucky in catching bugs.

Nipitinthebud Mon 18-Mar-13 12:31:31

sorry....just another thing YANBU to be upset that they are asking for evidence. Untenable...how would you do that? Dr's don't have the time to be issuing 'sick notes' for every DC with a mild bug to convince the school.

msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 12:34:13

thanks Nipitin, the thing is, to they have the legal right to do so? GP said they didn't

yellowhousewithareddoor Mon 18-Mar-13 12:34:50

But she's only got a slight temp and you're keeping her off aren't you?

I do think you're going to be (perhaps quite rightly) faced with e problem from school if that's the case.

Home schooling?

yellowhousewithareddoor Mon 18-Mar-13 12:36:01

They will have a right for an education welfare officer to look into your case.

SoftKittyWarmKitty Mon 18-Mar-13 12:39:29

I'd have sent her in tbh. That temp isn't very high and if she isn't presenting with any other symptoms, chances are she'll be fine. The way I judge it is if they are really ill and/or are contagious, they don't go in. Otherwise they go. I apply the same rules to myself re. work.

DS (6) seemed a bit chesty yesterday and today but I sent him in this morning as he's fine in himself. If he's only mildly 'off', say with a mild cold or cough as he was today, I always tell him to go to school and give it until lunchtime and if he's really ill, to tell a teacher and I'll come and get him. I know the school will ring if he's poorly and I'm not working today so can be there in ten minutes.

DS had two lots of two days off during the autumn term (D&V type virus), plus 1 day with conjunctivitis (so a full week in total) which pulled his attendance average down. I wasn't impressed about that but he hasn't been off since so it'll have evened off by now.

bangwhizz Mon 18-Mar-13 12:40:59

If she has a raised temperature it is a sign that she has infection.According to NHS website she should be resting (and not at school)

AvonCallingBarksdale Mon 18-Mar-13 12:43:03

Just to clarify, I am not keeping her home because I want to. She is genuinelly ill. And I don't think sick children (again: fever, vomit, diarrhea, throat and ear infection, etc) should go to school

That's part of the problem, though. Your interpretation of a fever - 37 degrees - means that she's off school more than she needs to be. D&V, yes, they should be off, but a slight temperature, and they can have a dose of calpol and be sent in. 80/85% attendance (which is it?!) is really poor, I'm afraid.

piratecat Mon 18-Mar-13 12:44:43

god please don't get me started. I have experienced the things you have mentioned, over and over.

ticking boxes, that's all it ends up to be. They do have a duty of care to ensure attendance levels are good and to investigate those under 90%.

BUT, what exactly do they want you to do if your child is susceptible to illness, especially D+V and sick.

My dd is in her last yr of primary school and i have been made to feel like the shittest mother in the world. Yes my dd got every bug going, and it was a catch 22, but if a child has a fever and is in a state they go to bed imo.

Then we've had some proper illnesses, hips, periods, two hospital stays, but STILL, it doesn't matter because we don't tick the boxes.

Miserable times for me and dd over the yrs. I was even accused of wanting her at home once, being a single mum and quite lonely.

I can't wait for her to leave this school. I hate the patronising Education welfare officer with a passion, who sits and nods and listens, but doesn't actually listen.

Degrading and has caused so much stress to my dd, because each time she's ill she thinks she is in trouble and feels like a bad pupil. Which she is not, she loves school.

Yet, love it or not the box hasn't been ticked.

Bunbaker Mon 18-Mar-13 12:51:55

DD doesn't enjoy the best of health and missed several says away from school last year while she was being screened for bone cancer (which fortunately she doesn't have).

When she felt unwell last week she went to matron who said that because she hadn't been sick and had had too many absences she wouldn't send her home. At home time DD was in a right state and had a high temperature, bad headache, sore throat and a nasty cold. She went on to develop laryngitis and lost her voice for three days. IMO this is not a trivial reason to keep a child off school.

I emailed the head of year and managed to keep DD up to date with homework so hopefully she will be able to keep up.

Nipitinthebud Mon 18-Mar-13 12:52:36

OP said temperature was 37-39C. I agree I don't really think until under 37.4 ish is too significant. But OP hasn't said what her DD's temperature is today and whether its been spiking around. I don't think its necessary as simple a scenario to be castigating OP and saying, of course, send her in with a temperature of 37.

Curious as to what others would do...would you other posters send in a child who'd had a temperature of 39 in the day before and in the night (once Calpol had worn off), but who's temperature was normalish in the morning?

And yes, I'd think they'd have a legal right to send in an education officer from the Council to have a chat with you. I don't know tbh. But its the school's obligation to do so, if its all due to valid illnesses (and this year has been particular bad I think) then a chat with an education officer would just be something to comply with, listen to them, but not feel too bad about?

ilovecolinfirth Mon 18-Mar-13 12:52:42

If your child gets d and v that frequently there must be a bigger issue going on. However when it comes to fever on its own, don't mix up temperature with fever. If you're not careful your child will develop an unhealthy attitude to taking time off when they're older

TheSeniorWrangler Mon 18-Mar-13 12:54:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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