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To allow my son to have a day off school that is unauthorised

(55 Posts)
ReallyTired England Wed 24-Apr-13 14:26:16

My son has been suffering from severe anxiety at the age of 11 due to year 6 SATs. He is seeing an NHS pychologist as he is has been threating to commit suicide and having panic attacks. He has had roughly four days off this academic year. I imagine that many adults in his position would have far more time off work. Unlike an adult ds cannot take medication.

The other day he was a naughty boy and pretended to be ill to get out of school. He made a mirculous recovery around lunch time, ie wanted to play with the computer and eat.

He stubbornly refused to get dressed and go to school. He broke down in tears and was shaking like a leaf. I found myself struggling to assess if he was well enough for school or not. I am out of my depth dealing with a child who has not been sleeping at all and having awful mood swings. He is a naughty boy even though he is ill.

School do not accept that my son has severe anxiety. (even though GP and Pychologist have mad the diagnosis.) The school has done absolutely nothing to help him. His absence will go down as unauthorised. No one from senior management will even have a meeting with me.

Am I going to get fined? I really couldn't give a flying f**K about the school's OFSTED at the moment.

loubielou31 Wed 24-Apr-13 14:31:56

How does the school know he wasn't ill? TBH just one unauthorised absence is not going to cause a great deal of trouble for anyone. Education Welfare Officers tend to be more concerned with persistant absences or ones that follow a pattern eg every Monday morning.

somewhereaclockisticking Wed 24-Apr-13 14:32:13

Is there a different school that you could transfer your son to?? If there is one out of your area then the council may put on free transport to get him there and the school may try a different approach to the one you have at yur current school. My friend's DD only goes into school a few hours a week due to certain issues and her school (in the SE) have been really helpful. You have proof from your GP you will not get fined (well I would hope not!). Do you think he'll fel better once SAT's are out of the way? I have 2 friends whose kids are doing SATs this year and the pressure they are under (year 6 kids) is amazing - I have never heard of so much homework before - I think schools are really upping their game on the whole SATs now. You clearly need alot more support than you are getting from this particular school and I would do everything I coudl to try and get your son away from it.

Lucyellensmum95 Wed 24-Apr-13 14:33:10

Oh the poor little sod - keep him home from school. he is ill - fuck ofsted and fuck the SATS refuse to let him sit them - its all a bloody box ticking exercise. Bastards. This really boils my blood.

Lucyellensmum95 Wed 24-Apr-13 14:34:22

Also, you only get fined if you have more than two weeks off - so they can do one!

ReallyTired England Wed 24-Apr-13 14:35:33

We did look at another school, but in the end we felt it wasn't worth changing school for one term. The head mistress of the other school was lovely and she pointed out that ds would know nobobdy at her new school and that he might be better off with his friends.

I think that part of the problem is that ds has not had a break. He got given three SATs papers over Easter as well as a revision guide for grammar and maths to work through. He got through about half the work inspite of spending ten hours on it.

Runningblue Wed 24-Apr-13 14:37:52

As a 'grown up' who has suffered with anxiety and depression - and certainly had such issues when a kid - imo you're not mollycoddling or giving your boy a treat by having the day off, he isnt very well.
If the medical professionals believe he has anxiety too, can you ask them to help support you in better explaining this to the school?
This is a bit of a shot in the dark but are children offered cbt? It is very good at developing coping mechanisms to anxiety, lots of self help templates and guides on the internet too...

greenformica Wed 24-Apr-13 14:38:17

Keep him at home for a few days. Also buy him this app/CD/MP3 thing on the net. Worth googling as it's highly rated. Play it before bedtime each night

Exam Support with Andrew Johnson.

Runningblue Wed 24-Apr-13 14:39:29

Nb if they have attitude cant the gp write a doctors note for the school?

Madlizzy Wed 24-Apr-13 14:41:27

He shouldn't need to be stressed by bloody rubbish SATS. Keep him home, most definitely. If the EWO does get involved, then that would be a rather good thing, as it would show that the school is not supporting your lad. Keep him off, let him switch off and rest and ask your GP to write a note to the school.

Madlizzy Wed 24-Apr-13 14:42:35

Oh, and btw, him pretending to feel ill to get out of school wasn't him being naughty, it was him saying that he's really, really struggling and wants you to find a way to help him.

greenformica Wed 24-Apr-13 14:45:40

Intense anxiety is an illness but it's mental and not physical. Email the school explaining what's happening - at least then you are keeping them informed - they have a duty of care. In your email request a meeting to find a way forward and establish some support for your son, be it in the form of a mentor or teacher he likes. At least the ball is in their court and it is all in writing. If the LEA or ESW are ever involved (due to longer absences) then they will be wanting to know what the school is doing to help. Also agree with getting CBT through your surgery or privately.

ReallyTired England Wed 24-Apr-13 14:46:38

"This is a bit of a shot in the dark but are children offered cbt? It is very good at developing coping mechanisms to anxiety, lots of self help templates and guides on the internet too..."

He is having CBT on the NHS, he has had three sessions out of six up to date. The school knows as the pychologist is visiting him at school. The school did say that they would set up an IEP, but this has never happened.

greenformica Wed 24-Apr-13 14:46:55

Also you child's mental and physical health is priority above attendance at school.

sparklekitty Wed 24-Apr-13 14:46:57

OMG your poor son. That is absolutely appalling! School sound shit tbh. This is why I HATE sats (I say this as a teacher)

btw they are not compulsory, in your situation I'd be very tempted to tell your DS and the school that he will not be doing them, they can either apply for him to be dis-applied on medical/health grounds or suck it up. Who gives a shit about their ofsted/results when your DS is suffering so much.

InNeedOfBrandy Wed 24-Apr-13 14:49:12

If one of my children were getting this stressed over Sats I would pull them out of it. They don't need to sit them.

ReallyTired England Wed 24-Apr-13 14:50:14

"Intense anxiety is an illness but it's mental and not physical."

severe anxiety can have physical symptoms. Ie. pain in the shoulders, tummy ache. It can affect digestion, cause constipation.

When the body is in a state of fear it stops processes like digestion and pumps more blood to the limbs. (As if you were about to run from a large tiger.) Over time anxiety certain can damage physical health.

InSync Wed 24-Apr-13 14:55:49

Do you know why he is so anxious about his SATS? Where is this pressure coming from? Is it the school, as I assume you've told him you don't care how well he does etc?

Lucyellensmum95 Wed 24-Apr-13 15:00:39

Yes - anxiety is a physical disorder, just the same as any other "mental" issue. The brain is an organ just the same as the liver etc, its just less well understood. And anxiety can produce the most horrible physical symptoms it can be terrifying.

I am glad that you are getting him some help RT, but do take a firm stance with the school as someone said before if they send the ed welfare officer round GOOD, let them.

I feel so sorry for our children, they are receiving tick box schooling and its too much pressure i hate it.

you are absolutely doing the right thing.

what kind of school forces children to do SATs for their Ofsted but won't even give them mental support when they need it? they don't believe his diagnoses?
that's just shocking. What do children need to do before they're recognised as having a problem?

I personally would be writing to the Board of Governors (and possibly also the LEA) about it. That's just not inclusive.
sad

CocacolaMum Wed 24-Apr-13 15:01:25

are you sure this is SATs related and he isn't being bullied? My DS was/is bullied by some kids in primary school and started pretending to be ill and then had panic attacks later. I hope you can get sorted (can the GP refer him for counselling?) but it might worth asking the school for an apt with their health and welfare officer (I am presuming all school have them) and making your concerns known formally.

FWIW I would have kept him off too.

SirBoobAlot Wed 24-Apr-13 15:24:16

You did the right thing. Your poor son. I suffer from a PD, and with extreme anxiety and depression because of it. I worked myself up into a horrific state of the SATs, the year six and year two ones.

Sounds like you're dealing with it pro-actively, getting people involved, and not just ignoring it. Honestly? I'd be tempted to consider him not sitting the SATs.

HerrenaHarridan Wed 24-Apr-13 15:29:55

I am probably going to get flamed for this but...

I would tell him that while you think it is important that he still works hard to prepare for his sats he doesn't necessarily need to sit them and that if the time comes and both you and he feel like its too much for him then he won't have to.

This should take the pressure off enough for him to actually learn something.

My mum did something similar with my mock gcses. I have alopecia, my hair was falling out an I was driving myself crazy with worry ( unnecessarily) in the end I chose to sit all bar one of them and passed well.

landofsoapandglory Wed 24-Apr-13 15:31:42

Poor little mite.sad He wasn't being naughty, he was crying out for help.

If he was mine, he wouldn't be doing the SATs,TBH. His health is far more important.

cornydash Wed 24-Apr-13 15:32:26

'School do not accept that my son has severe anxiety'

this is awful

can you call a multi-agency meeting to discuss this issue and invite the psychologist who has diagnosed him?
School are legally required to make reasonable adjustments for your ds - look at the equality act 2010.

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