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

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?

ilovecolinfirth Mon 18-Mar-13 08:06:16

They are just doing their job as some parents take their child out for any reason. I taught one child who told me she'd be off for a week as she was having a brace fitted and her mum said she could have time off so she could learn how to speak with it!

Schools get judged if their attendance figures are low and I'm also sure you'd complain if your child wasn't attaining, which they cannot do if they're not in school.

TheSeniorWrangler Mon 18-Mar-13 08:09:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ilovecolinfirth Mon 18-Mar-13 08:10:04

Have never heard of a child going to the toilet just to blow their nose...ridiculous. Germs happen regardless of your child going to the loo, and dignity? We all blow our noses! That's just encouraging weird OCD habits!

thebody Mon 18-Mar-13 08:12:53

I really wouldn't worry. I have had these for the last two years and the attendance officer now feels like a friend.

It's the rules. Your dd is 5 and we are practically the only country in the world who sends our kids to school this early.

I work in a reception class and hate to see poorly children dumped at school to spend the day lying in the book corner and crying as the calpol wears off.

If she's sick she's sick. You don't have to justify yourself.

MerryMingeWhingesAgain Mon 18-Mar-13 08:13:57

My school, in theory, asks for medical evidence every time they are off. But she has rarely needed a gp, it's been d and v, fever with sore throat etc. They haven't insisted, and I wouldn't be arsed if they asked me. They have to. Generally they know the difference between reasonable genuine illness compared to can't be bothered to bring the children to school/a week off sick with a broken flask.

msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 11:19:24

Sending my child to school with fever no way! shock I think fever is there for a reason/cause and, regardless of Calpol, she would still feel pretty miserable and might get worse. To me, that is giving more importance to what the school to what the school will say or to your need to carry on rather than to the child's wellbeing.

DD's absence last term was slightly above 15% - she wasnt sick every week, but some kids get sick more often than others. I would say she'd be unwell every 2-3 weeks for a few days.

Does anyone know if I have to present them with proof of having gone to the doctor?

Our practice only gives same-day appointments if it's an emergency, so I feel bad firstly for taking my child out of bed when I know what they will say (keep her home, give her ibuprofen/paracetamol if fever gets too hight etc) and secondly for using an emergency appointment that someone else might need more.

LaurieBlueBell Mon 18-Mar-13 11:34:25

Is she your pfb op. That attendance is pretty poor. Don't you worry that her social life/ friendship groups will suffer.

Mine have to evidence at least broken limbs to get time off school. grin

msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 11:48:34

sorry didn't make that clear - her absences were over 15%, her attendance was around 80-85%.

freddiefrog Mon 18-Mar-13 11:54:56

I think 85% is quite low so I'm not surprised school is concerned tbh. Our school sends out letters when it hits 90%

DD2 had glandular fever at the end of the summer holidays a couple of years ago and ended up with the first 2 weeks off school. We had doctors letters and everything but the school still got involved.

The unfortunate thing was that it happened right at the beginning of the school year, so for the first term her attendance was awful, but as the year went on, she wasn't off sick again and the % righted itself

WorraLiberty Mon 18-Mar-13 11:55:39

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

This ^^

And I personally would pay more attention to how your child actually feels, than to numbers on a thermometer.

TheSeniorWrangler Mon 18-Mar-13 12:01:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TroublesomeEx Mon 18-Mar-13 12:02:29

Wow, 80-85% attendance is very poor. I'm not surprised they are concerned either given those figures.

Most children with a mild temperature are actually fine to go in with a dose of calpol. A few days off every 2 or 3 weeks without an underlying medical condition is ridiculous frankly.

WileyRoadRunner Mon 18-Mar-13 12:02:53


When DD1 was in reception/y1 she had recurrent tonsillitis. Her attendance was 70%. She was antibiotics for at least two weeks of every month for over 2 years. Part of the problem was that the school would "forget" to give her her doses whilst she was there. This meant the only way for her to recover was to be off.

The doctors would not consider a tonsillectomy. I begged the school to write to the doctor about the level of absence but they said it was normal for a child of her age. As did the doctor.

Fast forward to end of Y1 and I get a call as you did! The doctors refused to write a letter as they said everything was normal. I would have thought the fact my DD was constantly on antibiotics would have been proof enough that she was ill.

If you have maintained contact with the school at all points I would carry on as you are. What do the doctors say about it all? I would pass on their view that the school has no right to intervene. Is your child keeping up with the work?

Ignore all the stupid "pfb" comments. Ridiculous.

WileyRoadRunner Mon 18-Mar-13 12:04:08

But she should go into school if has a slight temperature and no other signs.

was so busy writing my rant things moved on several pages!

WorraLiberty Mon 18-Mar-13 12:04:24

85% attendance means your child misses the equivalent of one and a half days every two weeks.

80% attendance means your child misses the equivalent of one day every week.

That's an awful lot to miss.

Pandemoniaa Mon 18-Mar-13 12:07:10

Sending my child to school with fever no way! I think fever is there for a reason/cause and, regardless of Calpol, she would still feel pretty miserable and might get worse

Yes but there's a huge difference between a child who has a temperature high enough to make them clearly unwell and just a slightly raised temperature which, on its own, it not necessarily a forerunner of anything.

Quite honestly I think far too much attention is paid to numbers on a thermometer, not least because individual temperature can vary anyway. But if all your dd has is a temperature of 37 you give her a spoonfull of Calpol and send her in. She might get worse but equally, she may well be fine and if a temperature reading of 37 is the only symptom then you should send her in. Save absences for when the illness is worthy of them.

WileyRoadRunner Mon 18-Mar-13 12:07:38

^ exactly Worra that's why I kept asking for a tonsillectomy! The doctor felt that was perfectly acceptable!

TroublesomeEx Mon 18-Mar-13 12:07:43

wiley your specific and personal experience does not mean the OP isn't being unreasonable. You knew there was an underlying/recurring condition. The OP hasn't mentioned antibiotics or recurring conditions, just very slight temperatures and calpol.

No one has said she shouldn't keep her child off for the d&v.

TroublesomeEx Mon 18-Mar-13 12:08:11

oops just seen your follow up post too!

WileyRoadRunner Mon 18-Mar-13 12:08:29

However in the OPs case if she has constant D&V could this be something that the doctor should be looking in to?

TroublesomeEx Mon 18-Mar-13 12:08:44

OP what is your daughter doing at home on all these absence days?

Flobbadobs Mon 18-Mar-13 12:09:08

The problem is though that if you keep your Dd off school every single time she has a higher than normal temp at this age she may never go in! My SIL has a very similar attitude and keeps my nephew off school when he has a cold. She took him out of his previous school as she felt 'bullied' by the teachers regarding his attendance.
He's 15 now and all he's learnt is that if he fancies a day off he just has to look at his mum with big eyes and tell her he feels poorly. Fortunately he's incredibly intelligent and can keep up with the work but at your Dd's age she does need to be in unless she is clearly unwell otherwise she will lose so much time at such an important age. A slightly raised temp can be dealt with and a word to the teacher at drop off if she has had a dose of Calpol should be enough. If you show thT you are willing to work witht the school they will probably back off.

WileyRoadRunner Mon 18-Mar-13 12:09:34

Sorry folk and worra I keep x posting and getting mixed up.

Am going to hush now .... But folk you are right.

Flisspaps Mon 18-Mar-13 12:10:01

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

TheSeniorWrangler Mon 18-Mar-13 12:11:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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. 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.

msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 12:56:03

NO Avon, the problem is that "some people" think that children who are unwell need to go to school just to keep up with attendance levels. Then children are being sent and they get worse or they pass whatever they had to other children.

A child that is not well should be kept at home.

piratecat totally understand.

piratecat Mon 18-Mar-13 12:59:16

senior, me too. i strive to get dd in, and she has been sent in when bad only to be sent home again. It upsets me so much to see her miss out. She a sickly child, but is improving over the last year or so.

I totally get they have to assess the parent's attitude. I have always maintained to the school that my toe is up her backside, but i know when she is so ill that all she want to do is lie down and sleep. Unfortunately she is the child who get everything. sorry needed to vent a bit.

kinkyfuckery Mon 18-Mar-13 13:00:24

How does your work react to you needing a day off every week to look after a 'sick child'?

Floggingmolly Mon 18-Mar-13 13:02:50

So have you ever wondered why your dd seems to be unwell on a much more regular basis than her classmates? (I'm assuming 80 - 85% isn't the class average).
Maybe you should have a paediatrician look her over if the illnesses are all genuine, because something is definitely amiss.
Consistent d & v, for example, could point to a hygiene issue?

TroublesomeEx Mon 18-Mar-13 13:04:19

I agree flogging. If my daughter had d&v every 2 or 3 weeks I'd be pushing for a referral somewhere to find out what the matter is because I wouldn't want my child missing that much school.

OP - I agree with others that have said that your threshold for deciding that your child is ill is clearly much lower than most other parents'. She is your child and therefore it is your decision to make, but you shouldn't get annoyed by the school who clearly also have your child's welfare at heart.

Out of interest, what does your employer make of your repeated absence from work?

80-85% attendance is really low.

My DS suffers from loads of ear infections - I send him in along with the anti b's - if I kept him at home everytime he had an ear infection he would never be there.

D & V yes of course keep them off......but things like ear infections, sniffles- they need to go in.

Your work must be getting well fed up of you too.

freddiefrog Mon 18-Mar-13 13:10:25

I send them in if they perk up during the day too.

DD2 had a tickly night cough which kept her awake one night last week. I let her sleep in then sent her to school late. She was absolutely fine during the day and bouncing off the walls

I also send them in with a slight temp after a dose of calpol.

FossilMum Mon 18-Mar-13 13:10:57

Ok, guys, the OP said a temp in the range of 37-39. So, 37 isn't a fever (I don't dose mine unless it gets to at least 37.5, unless he repeatedly claims a raging headache) but 38-39 most certainly is.

The NHS website recommends children stay at home if their temp is over 37.5.

Here's what the NHS has to say about sending ill children to school and here's what it has to say about fevers

No teacher would thank you for sending your child in only to vomit at school (nor would that be fair on the child), yet schools do now make you feel threatened if you judge that your child is too unwell to attend.

This past 6 months DS (5) has complained of recurrent headaches and stomachaches. I couldn't and wouldn't keep him off school every time he says he feels unwell. He went in on Calpol for 2 weeks with his headaches in Oct, and for most of the past term with stomachaches. BUT if his headache/stomachache is ALSO accompanied by a temp of above 37.5, then I know I have some objective indication that something worse than usual is up. I'm not some idiot who measures his temp every morning just for fun, and then keeps him off if it's slightly high, and I doubt the OP is either. However, if he says he feels ill, I use measuring his temp as an objective way of deciding whether or not he has to go to school anyway. If he feels ill AND ALSO has a raised temperature, it's usually a sign he's about to get worse.

He had Norovirus, infected eczema, and bereavement leave last term, so I got the nasty red letter on low attendance from school. My first thought (after I got over feeling offended and upset) was "surely he hasn't been ill an unusual number of times; half the country got Norovirus FGS". Then in Jan he got a bad cough, tummyache, temp above 38, and bone pains for over a week, and I got worried that maybe the school was right and he had actually had an unusual number of illnesses, and might actually have an underlying medical problem. I called his GP to discuss this, and the GP clearly thought I was overreacting. He said that there was nothing at all unusual in the number and range of illnesses my child had had -- for his age. (And yes, DS has had various checkups for his various symptoms, but the GP doesn't think that they add up to a "pattern" of illness - just bad luck in having had several separate things in a row.)

So the OFSTED cutoff for deeming the number of absences suspicious bears absolutely no resemblance to what the NHS deems within the range of complete normality for a child of that age. This disparity does not make sense.

All this guff about this sort of thing adding up to missing an entire year of school etc is daft when you're just talking about a reception-aged child. I'm certainly counting on DS having fewer of these illnesses over time. If he's still being ill at this rate next year and the year after, then I'll be the first to worry about it, thank you very much OFSTED, and not just because of the missed school.

Last Thursday night, just when I thought we'd almost made it through a clear half term, he had D&V, so another 1 day off school. I'm fully expecting a call from the EWO one day, and plan to invite them to come over at 3am and help me clean up the vom next time if they don't believe me.

msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 13:11:21

flogginmolly no she doesnt have consistent D&V, I was just naming them as an example of illnesses that would require a child to stay home.

What DD is getting more is cold and flu viruses, throat infection which if not taken care of (lots of rest, fluids, etc) results in bronchiolitis and ear infection... she has seen the GP in all occasions, sometimes sent to the hospital too. That is why I said all absences were justified, because I have a slip and letters for every time she's missed school.

As to your question: why do other children not get sick so often, each child is different. Mine is prone to these type of infections, especially in winter and she gets them most from school from those children whose parents think that fever, coughs or runny noses are not reasons to keep them at home.

TheSeniorWrangler Mon 18-Mar-13 13:11:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

freddiefrog Mon 18-Mar-13 13:12:55

D and/or V I obviously keep them off, and if they're really struggling I keep them off, but if I keep them off for every slightly raised temp, cough and sniffle they'd never be at school

TroublesomeEx Mon 18-Mar-13 13:15:11

Same here freddie.

OP, the next time she has one of these very mild temperatures, why not send her in and just see what happens.

The school can always call you if she gets worse. What is she like at home when you keep her off?

DD2 has an attendance this year of 85% (which is better than last years' 64% shock) BUT... she has a couple of medical conditions which mean that she regularly can't get out of bed through exhaustion, and at least once a week I get a phone call to come and collect her from school. Plus she has numerous hospital appointments which are about 90 minutes away, so can't schedule them easily for after school. All of this is backed up by consultants letters, and DD is working very hard to keep on top of work.

That level of absence without a medical condition would be a worry to school and the EWO.

OP - what does your employer make of your resulting absence from work?

Sirzy Mon 18-Mar-13 13:20:14

A temp of 37 isn't a reason to keep a child off school.

DS isn't at school yet but misses a lot of time from nursery with his asthma but I only keep him off if I really have to (been to hospital the night before or on steroids normally) I am fully expecting when he starts school to be flagged for attendance unless he has a massive improvement but the important thing is to work with them not against them. OP you seem to be unable to see that missing 15% of her education isn't going to do your daughter any good and perhaps you need to rethink your boundaries for keeping her home.

PatriciaHolm Mon 18-Mar-13 13:21:59

But coughs and runny noses aren't reasons to keep a child home! High fever yes, but a mild temp that goes away with calpol, no.

If you carry on with 80-85% attendance, you will get a visit from the EWO. There is little you or school can do about that, it's not discretionary.

MaterFacit Mon 18-Mar-13 13:23:05

DD only gets to stay at home if she has D&V/other communicable disease like chickenpox or is pale and lethargic. If I kept her off every time she had a cold she would have missed months of school in the winter. The school is so warm and there are so many children incubating things that its just a sink of bugs and germs.

If I was unsure I would send her in and 9/10 she would be fine, in Reception they had a big pile of cushions that slightly under the weather DC were allowed to nap on if they needed to and I only had to go and pick her up three or four times. She hasn't been off school once since September (shes year 3 now) so it obviously hasn't done her any harm.

FossilMum Mon 18-Mar-13 13:29:02

Nowhere has the OP said she keeps her child off for just a slight cough or runny nose, FGS!

Erm Fossil -

"As to your question: why do other children not get sick so often, each child is different. Mine is prone to these type of infections, especially in winter and she gets them most from school from those children whose parents think that fever, coughs or runny noses are not reasons to keep them at home."

Kazooblue Mon 18-Mar-13 13:35:30

Would be nice if it worked both ways,at our school some of the teachers are off continuously and some waaaay more than my dc.Sometimes they're clearly off with a bug my own dc have dragged themselves in with.

My son has been ill pretty much since October(coughs and bugs).Yes I've sent him in however his work has been shite and to be honest I've never known a winter like it.Doctor has said he's getting run down and actually coughs aren't good as they knacker them due to lack of sleep,then they pick up another bug.

I think it's getting silly to be honest,drugging kids to get through a school day is wrong.Maybe if common sense could be used there wouldn't be so many bugs flying around.

I think if adults working in schools dragged themselves in for everything bar d and v then maybe there could be some justification for this sledgehammer approach but until then use your own initiative op otherwise you'll end up with a seriously rundown child like me.

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 18-Mar-13 13:41:33


DS's attendance was at 98% in reception year but he had chickenpox (2 weeks!), gastroenteritis (1 week!) an ear infection (3 days) and a high temp'/vomiting bug (another 4 days) all in that year!

They sent me a slip home saying they were concerned. I spoke to the deputy head about it and she said it was just a formality and NOT to send him in if he was at all ill. Well thanks for the advice but I don't send him in when he is clearly unwell, nor will I. They can whistle.

This term, I sent him into school and he said he felt ill. He did look pale and tearful but I thought I'd try it and stressed to his teacher that I was round the corner at home, and I would come for him if he was ill at school. So imagine how bloodyfurious I was at picking up time when his teacher called me over and said "DS has been quite poorly all day. He sat on the bench alone at lunchtime and he's felt hot all day" WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T YOU RING ME???!! So no, I will NOT send him in if he is ill, since they can't be trusted to ring me to collect if he worsens.

msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 13:45:54

Marmalade exactly, that's what I fear!

Kazooblue Mon 18-Mar-13 13:48:31

Marmalade I've had that-a lot.

It's bloody unfair and tbf they need to play fair.

If an unwell child goes to school,they will need I be kept an eye on as they may well get worse. Yes. I know it's a pita but if you expect poorly kids to drag themselves in,that's what you get.It's totally unfair and rather cruel to just forget about them.

Schools can't have their cake and eat it.

Having said that I got called to pick up a couple of my dc and got the cars bum face!hmm

You just can't win.

Kazooblue Mon 18-Mar-13 13:48:44

Cats bum!

mummytime Mon 18-Mar-13 13:48:55

If a child has 80% attendance over their school career they will have missed two years.

This is why it is such a big deal.

On the other hand one of my children seemed to lose between 3 days and a week, every term from R-year4 with a D and V bug. In addition there were occasional absences for other illnesses. Another one had a stomach bug, which I strongly believe re-occurred every month or so for a term. I myself lost a lot of schooling one year due to tonsillitis.

Schools are under pressure to keep attendance levels up, and this is because it can really harm a child's education if they miss school for no good reason, as well as being possibly a sign of issues at home. However lots of kids "pick up every bug going" when in reception.

Only the OP knows if every absence was really necessary. I would suggest trying to boost the immune system with a supplement (and live yoghurt after tummy bugs).

Kazooblue Mon 18-Mar-13 13:50:32

Mummy neither of those work.I asked the gp and he said there isn't anything.

kinkyfuckery Mon 18-Mar-13 13:50:53

msjones80 What do your work think of you being absent so often?

BackforGood Mon 18-Mar-13 13:51:57

My dc's school's target is to have 96% attendance.
I think all schools have targets, and when a child's attendance falls below that, then the school is dutybound to ask questions.
Once it drops to the equivalent of a day off every week, that you are talking about, then that would normally trigger the involvement of the EWO.

HOWEVER, this is nothing to do with hitting targets, this is to do with the amount of school your dd is missing, and the long term affect that will have on her.
80% is a day every week, or 2 months a year, or a term off more frequently than every two years. That is a MASSIVE amount of time off without a serious medical issue.

The problem seems to be that your definition of a child being too ill to attend school, is different from everyone elses.

As someone else asked, upthread, how do your employers and colleagues feel about you only doing 80% of your workload?

mummytime Mon 18-Mar-13 13:52:41

Kazooblue - your GP might say they are useless, mine recommends it!

Kazooblue Mon 18-Mar-13 13:53:34

A supplement that stops continuous coughs,colds and bugs-do link.

msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 13:55:19

^HOWEVER, this is nothing to do with hitting targets, this is to do with the amount of school your dd is missing, and the long term affect that will have on her.
80% is a day every week, or 2 months a year, or a term off more frequently than every two years. That is a MASSIVE amount of time off without a serious medical issue.^

What can I do if she's ill? hmm

^The problem seems to be that your definition of a child being too ill to attend school, is different from everyone elses.
No it's not. I just follow the GP and the NHS recommendations. angry

msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 13:56:00

oh well, italics didnt show on last post, but I think you can see who said what.

msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 14:00:18

OP -why are you not answering the question about your work absence?

Kazooblue Mon 18-Mar-13 14:04:29

Why does the op's boss have anything to do with her child being ill?

Some kids are ill more often than others.My ill child is a twin and I have another dc,the other two never get ill.

This has been a recent happening,it is very difficult to do right from wrong and one day it could be you.It's very easy to judge.

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 18-Mar-13 14:04:35

Because the OP isn't about her work attendance. It is about her DD's school attendance. Why should she need to answer you lot about her work attendance?! confused hmm

LadyWoo Mon 18-Mar-13 14:05:45

I have been told several times by my GP that a child with a fever should be kept off school, as if they have a fever their immunity will be low and they will be far more susceptible to other germs and infections, therefore meaning that they will be even more ill a few days later.

livinginwonderland Mon 18-Mar-13 14:06:42

Because the OP isn't about her work attendance. It is about her DD's school attendance. Why should she need to answer you lot about her work attendance?!

because it's related. most workplaces wouldn't employ someone who only showed up 80% of the time unless their kid was very sick and they needed support and genuine time off.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 18-Mar-13 14:07:08


That is utter bollocks,you are under no obligation at all to send your child to school no matter what age they are, unless they are actually registered at a school.

You only have a legal requirement to educate them.

lottieandmia Mon 18-Mar-13 14:08:17

This year there are definitely a lot of nasty bugs about. My dd who is 9 and in year 4 was hardly ever absent from school in past years, but this year we got a letter about attendance. She has genuinely been too ill to go to school several times in the year. She does not miss school for nothing - this morning she feels a bit unwell but I have sent her in dosed up with calpol. My younger dd missed a whole week off nursery last week because she had a temperature of 40 and was very unwell and then had tonsilitis.

I think it's normal for schools to check up and remind us of the importance of regular attendance in school but it does not stop us from feeling like school is pointing the finger or implying we don't take it seriously!

So, I know how you feel.

Kazooblue Mon 18-Mar-13 14:12:13

Lottie my son is in year 4 and is 9 so far he has had flu(and yes I do mean flu),the noro virus and one horrendous colds,chest infections topped off by secondary infections.

He has been continuously ill since October and I'm convinced sending him in when I shouldn't have has made this happen.

I have never known a year like it,we're normally a very fit family.

Kazooblue Mon 18-Mar-13 14:12:42

After another

I think the work question is relevant because the OP is clearly interpreting NHS guidance differently from most parents and this is not only impacting on her DD's education, but also presumably on her job. I am interested to know what kind of employer stands for this level of absence.

PrincessScrumpy Mon 18-Mar-13 14:14:25

My friend had this and social services were called by the school as they believed she was making up her dd's illness. They demanded proof so she took a photo of her dd (who was in hospital on life support at the time) into the school. She'd given doctor notes in but as they didn't know what was wrong there was no illness named at the time so the head didn't believe her.

I do think some kids get more I'll than others and some parents are a bit soft so I see both sides. Next time she's sick I'd take sine in in a clear plastic bag marked evidence.
Fingers crossed you have a healthy spring x

Kazooblue Mon 18-Mar-13 14:14:39

My gp said this has been a bad year,does make you wonder if the figures should get altered to account for winters like this.

msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 14:15:17

to anyone who's asked about my work - thanks I got that under control, although it's not great when she's sick obviously. And no, I don't think it matters. I could be a SAHM or self employed or own my business or I could work for someone else who'd have to put up with me being at home with her.

lottieandmia Mon 18-Mar-13 14:15:35

My dd's nursery called me and told me to collect her early last Monday when she had a temperature of 38. If you're ill, you're ill. Surely is school is concerned about time off they could suggest work to be done at home to catch up?

Incidently my older dc's attendance was down to 90%, which was why we got the letter. But as I said this is unusual for her and she is doing very well at school in spite of this, according to her teacher.

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 18-Mar-13 14:16:18

because it's related. most workplaces wouldn't employ someone who only showed up 80% of the time unless their kid was very sick and they needed support and genuine time off."

Yes but she isn't posting about that and you are just angling to have a go at her for inconveniencing her employers, aren't you?! Tell me you're asking for another reason.

msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 14:17:04

Also, I understand they need to do their checks, but like I said, I've presented evidence and was accepted each time. That's when I feel offended, because they keep insisting even though they know she was unwell each of those times.

Kazooblue Mon 18-Mar-13 14:18:15

Thank goodness her employers understand that when a child is ill it needs to be at home(op may even have a nanny or helpful,parents).

livinginwonderland Mon 18-Mar-13 14:19:43

Yes but she isn't posting about that and you are just angling to have a go at her for inconveniencing her employers, aren't you?! Tell me you're asking for another reason.

it's not having a go. i work with lots of parents with young kids, and however family-friendly our employer claims to be, they wouldn't take kindly to someone having an 80% attendance because their kids are sick, unless said child was in hospital or seriously ill. the occasional day off because of a stomach bug or whatever is understandable, but 80% attendance is a day off a week, which is a lot of school to miss if you have a healthy child.

it's just a genuine concern, because for me, if my job was at risk because my DC was ill all the time, i may reconsider how "ill" they had to be in order for them to stay home from school. i say this as someone who was always in school unless i was contagious or running an unusually high fever. otherwise it was school as normal.

Kazooblue Mon 18-Mar-13 14:22:41

Living you can't just decide your dc isn't illhmm.

All kids are not the same,some kids get ill more than others.

If a child has 80% attendance over their school career they will have missed two years

^ This.

That is shockingly low, and I agree your definition of "too ill to be at school" is different to other peoples.

DC4 has recurrent tonsillitis, he gets it every 3-4 weeks for 2/3 days. He has a temp, I give him paracetamol suspension and send him into school every time. I inform the teacher he has it, and ask them to call me if he becomes too poorly for school. They've rang me once since September 2011 when he started Nursery. He is more than ready to go to bed at 5:30 on these poorly days, but he is happy to go and isn't missing out on his education.

He also has regular out of school appointments for speech therapy, hospital , CAHMS, and is due to go in for a tonsillectomy and to have grommets fitted (we are waiting on a date for surgery) and he will be off for around 10 days for this. I'm not going to keep him off for 2/3 days every 3 weeks for a slight temp and a sore throat as well! Of course if he is very ill I keep him off, but don't under-estimate the value of education, or how much a low attendance can set them back.

AvonCallingBarksdale Mon 18-Mar-13 14:26:03

I suppose there are several issues at play here. You think your daughter is ill enough, frequently enough, to keep her off school the amount you do, which, it would appear, is approx 15% of the time. You're following NHS and GP guidelines, maybe a little rigidly, so obviously feel offended by the school's questioning. It's not just about the actual temperature - they can have a reading of 37, but still be perfectly normal, in which case it's fine to go to school. However, there are enough people on this thread who have said that they would send their children in with a temperature of 37 and a dose of Calpol, something that I'm getting the impression you wouldn't do. So, if you're happy with your decision, then stick with it, but be prepared to have to the school questioning it. However, I might be inclined to get my DD checkout out again if I was you, just to rule out any underlying reasons for her frequent bouts of illness. Obviously stomach bugs are a very good reason to stay off school! You know your child best, OP and the guidelines you are following are just that - guidelines, not definitive, set in stone rules.

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 18-Mar-13 14:26:34

Why is it a genuine concern for you if this is not happening in your life? confused Why is OP's work attendance such a bother for you? Honestly, I am not being obtuse, I can't understand why you would care?

Maybe OP is allowed to make work up at another time? Maybe OP works for herself? Maybe OP is alowed to take it off as holiday? Maybe OP has X amount of days unpaid parental leave? Personally, I am allowed up to 14 days per year unpaid emergency leave for if DS is ill. If it isn't a concern for OP and she hasn't mentioned that it is in her OP, I can only think that you're hoping to have a pop at her over her work attendance.

Not all children just get ill once or twice a year. Deal with it.

zzzzz Mon 18-Mar-13 14:27:14

I would prefer it if you kept our children at home when they are ill. I think it utterly inconsiderate to subject an entire class to your child's germs because you can't keep them home while infectious.

TSSDNCOP Mon 18-Mar-13 14:28:35

I'm a bit worried. I don't even own a thermometer. Maybe that's why DS doesn't get to stay home very often grin

I am genuinely interested to know how you can "control" this level of absence.

Marmalade - she does mention it in her OP. confused

I agree that you might be following the NHS guidelines a little too rigidly. The guidelines state 2 weeks off school for a tonsillectomy. The paediatrician I spoke to, and dc4's teacher said it's more like a week to 10 days if there are no complications and it's healing well.

msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 14:32:44

I suppose there are several issues at play here. You think your daughter is ill enough, frequently enough, to keep her off school the amount you do, which, it would appear, is approx 15% of the time.

Yes and GP and hospital agree and advise to keep her home, so it's not just me making it up.

^ You're following NHS and GP guidelines, maybe a little rigidly,^

You say that

so obviously feel offended by the school's questioning. It's not just about the actual temperature - they can have a reading of 37, but still be perfectly normal, in which case it's fine to go to school.

If I decide to keep her home is because she is not well, she is clearly sick and has other sympthoms.

However, there are enough people on this thread who have said that they would send their children in with a temperature of 37 and a dose of Calpol, something that I'm getting the impression you wouldn't do. So, if you're happy with your decision, then stick with it, but be prepared to have to the school questioning it.

Again, they shouldn't question it when I'm following NHS guidelines and GP advises me to do so. Unless they claim to know more than GP or don't give a shoot about DDs health.

Sorry, this is getting repetitive.

zzzzz Mon 18-Mar-13 14:33:51

heads while the paediatrician is a good source of medical information, I'm shock that you would take a teachers advice on how long to rest after an operation. hmm

MarmaladeTwatkins Mon 18-Mar-13 14:35:53

"Marmalade - she does mention it in her OP."

I am reading it now and I cannot see where she says that she is concerned by her work attendance. I can see that she has mentioned to the school that she has lost days at work but I can't see any mention of anything else?

mummytime Mon 18-Mar-13 14:36:06

Kazooblue - do you mean to be so rude?

Of course I don't have a magic supplement that will stop 'flu" etc. However if a child is generally run down, and getting lots of illnesses would be a sign of this, then a supplement might help them recover and fight off the next infection.

zzzzz Mon 18-Mar-13 14:36:24

I should have said YAveryobviouslyNBU. Sick children and adults should be at home.

Kazooblue Mon 18-Mar-13 14:37:32

Head my ds's twin had recurrent tonsillitis and had his tonsils out in year 2 it was that bad(they are 9) he had very little time off school and imvho wasn't half as run down or ill as his twin has been since October.

Kids differ(even twins) quit the smuggary and deal with it.Believe you me having a poorly run down child continuously ill isn't fun.

Kazooblue Mon 18-Mar-13 14:38:01

Mummy that is rubbish- link!

Lancelottie Mon 18-Mar-13 14:39:05

i use thermometers to disappoint children who think they fancy an unjustified day in bed grin

TheSeniorWrangler Mon 18-Mar-13 14:39:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

yellowhousewithareddoor Mon 18-Mar-13 14:39:22

Fine. Lots of people would send a child with a sniffle or a small cough or slight temperature in. You will just need to justify to an ewo why staying home one day a week for very minor things is more important than her education.

One day a week is a lot. Either she's incredibly ill and should have the support sick children get or you should home educate.

I think the suggestion further up thread to just try sending her in if its 37 and she otherwise seems well is a good one.

(obviously you keep off for d and v etc)

AvonCallingBarksdale Mon 18-Mar-13 14:43:19

Again, they shouldn't question it when I'm following NHS guidelines and GP advises me to do so. Unless they claim to know more than GP or don't give a shoot about DDs health

Oookaaaay. You missed the bit where I said it's your decision, but be prepared to have school on your back. You've clearly got the courage of your own convictions, which is admirable, so why post on AIBU? Keep her off if you want, send her in if you want, it's up to you.

Floggingmolly Mon 18-Mar-13 14:44:21

I'm another one who doesn't own a thermometer. I wouldn't even think of using one unless the child's legs couldn't support them or they were so pale as to look like a corpse.
Most people know what a sick child looks like.

BackforGood Mon 18-Mar-13 14:44:48

TSSDNCOP - no, I never had a thermometer when mine were little either. Like you, perhaps that's why they have such good attendance records ?
You don't need a thermometer to tell you if a child has a fever - it's pretty obvious, but what happens with some parents (and OP, I have no idea if this is you or not - but none of your posts so far are suggesting not), they confuse "a bit under the weather" with "being too ill to go to school".

The missing all that work if OP's dd is being kept at home more often than is necessary is relevant, as it also teaches the child that it's OK to 'have a duvet day' if they don't feel like going that day. It becomes self perpetuating, and produces another adult who isn't pulling their weight at work.
Marmalade it annoys working people, because of the people they have to cover for at work, both in terms of literally picking up their slack, and in terms of it furthering the bad reputation of parents of small children, therefore making it all the harder to get a job when you have children.
TwoGood - you use your judgement and common sense rather than a thermometer and 'guidelines', and you start from the premise of "You will be going to school because it's a schoolday, and if you are too ill they will call me and I will come and pick you up then", rather than starting with the premise of "Do you think you are well enough to go to school today?" (Again, sorry OP, I don't know you or your child - I'm answering questions about situations similar to yours, and on a more 'generalised' base.)

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 18-Mar-13 14:45:28

Attendance % aside, never ignore one of these phone calls or letters always respond to them in a traceable way like email/ letter.

List every absence and every reason and inc any doctor involvement like this ....

17/2/13 sore throat and temp gp telephone consultation
20/3/13 sore leg visit to A&E 8.10 am.
11/12/12 D&V followed NHS/ ofstead guidelines re keeping off school.

And list each day of absence even if its the exact same reason as the day before.

I have seen to many parents years down the line be called into formal meetings and threatened or accused to ever ignore one.

Inc a pupil cancer patient who at the time was actually being educated by the teacher attached to the treating hospital and a just 15 year old who was run over as a young child and on each absence was either being treated in hospital inc 17 occasions where she was unconscious in ICU,or attending some other form of treatment and every attendance with every appointment was documented and evidence provided to the school. The ewo tried to force her to sign a consent form so they could obtain a full copy of her medical notes so they could asses if they could do anything to improve her attendance (the ewo is not medically qualified nor did she intend on asking a docter.)

If you are keeping your child off wwhen It is not needed then yes you should have to justify your behaviour but if you are totally comfortable with the decision that it is needed then list and challenge the suggestion that you have done something wrong. But never let it slide and ignore it.

SomeRainbow Mon 18-Mar-13 14:46:48

I understand that this winter, or the bit before Christmas anyway has been really terrible for germs - at least in this area. We had the snotty letter telling us our child had not been at school enough, it was hectoring and rude and written from the standpoint that we were terrible parents. My child had pneumonia (and a full-on case of D&V on a separate occasion). Which of these illnesses would they have liked him to attend with? We took it that the letter was standard form, felt put out at being ticked off, and then dumped it in the ignore pile. There is nothing we could have done differently. I do think that having one standard percentage across the 4-11 age group is also a bit odd, they are bound to get even more germs in the R/KS1 age group.

Kazooblue Mon 18-Mar-13 14:50:28


Who on earth asks "do you think you're too ill to go to school today".

A lot of surmising here.

No my son hasn't had legs caving in or looking like a corpsehmm but he is often shite and would be better off at home.

Yes. I send him in,yes I tell them and no they don't ever ring even though DS comes home saying he felt shit,didn't eat his lunch and comes out even more deathly white, tearful and exhausted.

Parents evening -work shit and complaints he yawns all day(no kidding Sherlock that would be the cough keeping him up all night).

On a loop,over and over again.

AvonCallingBarksdale Mon 18-Mar-13 14:51:36

Getting letters about children being off due to pneumonia and D&V is unreasonable on the school's part.
These are illnesses that mean a DC shouldn't be in school. A slightly raised temperature is not a reason to be off school.
What FloggingMolly and BackforGood said. ^^

cory Mon 18-Mar-13 14:52:37

I am torn on this subject.

Otoh my dd has medical problems which mean her attendance has usually been way under 80% and tbh no lectures on how it wrecks her life are ever going to stop that: they will just make her anxious and depressed about the future.

Otoh because she has these problems it is particularly important that she learns to keep any hypochonchriac tendencies under control; she simply can't afford those on top of the genuine problems.

Tricky one.

BackforGood Mon 18-Mar-13 14:56:21

Kazoo - well, clearly not you, if it is a surprise to you, but you'd be amazed at the number of parents who do say "He said he had a tummy ache / didn't feel well / had a headache/was tired / etc" and feel that justifies them keeping the child at home.

"heads while the paediatrician is a good source of medical information, I'm shock that you would take a teachers advice on how long to rest after an operation. "

zzzzz, I trust her judgement, she is the deputy head, the SENCO, has been teaching for eons and her estimate of a week is based upon her knowledge and experience that every child that has had a tonsillectomy while she has been teaching has never been off for 2 weeks (complications aside). It is based on her experience, not on medical knowledge. The paediatricians advice was based on medical knowledge. Of course, I would trust his advice over the teacher's, but still, the two of them did come up with the same information smile

"each day that I kept her off was a day lost at work."
This doesn't suggest to me that this was an irrelevant issue. Even if the OP hadn't brought it up, I would have asked about it, because if the school and your employer are telling you that your child has a disproportionate time off work and your GP has confirmed that your child has no underlying health issues, then I think you need to take a long hard look at how you are interpreting those guidelines.

zzzzz Mon 18-Mar-13 15:01:35

Both would have been better ticking with 2 weeks as explained above. But hey ho, send the little Petri dish in, he can culture whatever other joyous germs are being trotted in by the rest of the attendance crazed population.

Kazooblue Mon 18-Mar-13 15:02:14

The paed. I spoke too said 2 weeks,I asked and got the hols!<preens>

Kazooblue Mon 18-Mar-13 15:03:46

My paed said it's not nice if they get an infection,no way would I have risked DS going back too early.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 18-Mar-13 15:17:59

It wasn't that long ago that having your tonsils out was a week to 10 days in hospital then either a week to 4 days off school at home total time off 2 weeks.

I'm not that old surely grin

TheSeniorWrangler Mon 18-Mar-13 15:40:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ByTheWay1 Mon 18-Mar-13 15:50:54

I had mine out in '74 - 3 days in hospital, rest of week at home, then back to school on Monday - all on doctor's advice... seems to have depended on the doctor....

Went from being ill all the time, to never being ill again - well worth it....

ds is year 8 and has 92% attendence. school fine about it but did get ewo letter! a chat was fine. what shocked me was when his form teacher said 17 days off is a grade drop at gcse. ds had already clocked up six days....

bangwhizz Mon 18-Mar-13 15:59:19

I don't think 15% over the winter is abnormal tbh.Especially not this winter when there have been some really nasty things about.
At the end of the day the kid is in reception .She is not going to miss differential calculus is she?

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 18-Mar-13 16:00:48

Bloody hell I am old

msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 16:01:25

madame 17 days off a grade drop at gcse? What does that mean? Is that unjustified absence or any absence?

Floggingmolly Mon 18-Mar-13 16:05:54

Are you serious, msjones, do you really imagine they don't fall behind if their absence is "justified"??? hmm. Dear God.

msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 16:09:12

flogging if that's the case you can always try to make up at home - it needn't necessarily mean the child will get a grade drop.

Oh by the way in case it isn't obvious enough, I am not English so don't really know how grades work. My little one is only starting!

ByTheWay1 Mon 18-Mar-13 16:11:21

We don't have a thermometer - you can tell when a child is too ill for school - mine can't usually get out of bed....

When mine are off school, they stay in bed resting with a book or some colouring - no TV, no games, no biscuits, no chocolate - so they always want to go to school because they get bored.

They probably had 4 days off in reception.. now one or 2 days a year tops... usually full attendance- but I'm lucky - they are not sickly kids - no major illness, never had D+V, just the odd ear/throat infection where they were sooooo miserable they didn't mind being in bed all day... eldest had to go to hospital to get some cysts removed, but managed to schedule it in the holidays, so no time lost there.

A lot of it is parental attitude to illness - I have a friend who is off work for a sniffle, her kids are off school all the time - "Oh she didn't feel well enough to go in" "He had a cough so I kept him home" etc...

Sometimes you just need to dose them in calpol and send them in, by secondary school kids need to know school is not-negotiable - it is the default in term time - my theory is - if I was going on a date with Johnny Depp would they be ill enough for me to cancel - if not - they go to school.....

thebody Mon 18-Mar-13 16:11:51

This thread is actually very upsetting for those of us with genuinely sick children.

Less preening please and crowing over good attendance. You and your children are just lucky. That can change you know at anytime. In an instant.

lljkk Mon 18-Mar-13 16:16:29

This site says that 37-38 is normal body temp for a child. And that only if temp is above 38 should child be deemed to have a fever. Wiki also says 37.5 is about normal for a child.

OP says that 37-39 is high fever. confused So I'm not surprised her child has missed a lot of school.

AvonCallingBarksdale Mon 18-Mar-13 16:16:43

thebody, I'm sorry you're finding the thread upsetting sad. I don't think anyone is questioning whether genuinely sick children should be kept off school or not, but people are just suggesting that perhaps the OP could send her daughter in on the occasions where all that is wrong is that her DD has a slightly raised temperature, which can be controlled wiht Calpol.

ByTheWay1 Mon 18-Mar-13 16:19:42

thebody - we do know that some children are genuinely sick, and some healthy kids become sick,but the thread is about the OP getting rapped knuckles for keeping kids home with a mild fever - just letting her know other people don't do this.

thebody Mon 18-Mar-13 16:22:11

Yes sorry do see that of course. Just a little upset about the GCSE remark.

CecilyP Mon 18-Mar-13 16:23:25

Surely at GCSE age it depends on their overall ability and how concientious they are at catching up with the work they have missed. In reception, I don't think they have missed anything really. Half of them don't actually have to be there. It is supposed to be learning through play, though how much they feel like playing when they are feeling rough, is anyone's guess. Personally I would have felt bad if I had sent a poorly child to school and was asked to take him home - if it had happened 'only' 3 or 4 times, I would have felt ashamed.

Taking a percentage absence half-way through the year is nonsense, especially as all the usual childhood illnesses are very much weighted towards the earlier part of the school year. OP, in all likelihood your DD will sail through the summer term without a single day off so the absence percentage will go right down.

I do understand that schools have to keep on top of attendance and that there are many parents who keep there children off for reasons that have nothing to do with genuine illness, so I don't think there is too much wrong with a reminder letter (not that the worst culprits are likely to take any notice). However OP, YANBU, the way you were spoken to was outrageous.

Still, they said that children sometimes could go to school with a little paracetamol, that that's how they build their immune system.

This is totally ridiculous. I hope you asked if she was medically qualified or how her immune system required her to be in school for it to built up.

I would agree with another poster that it may be best to keep detailed notes of any illness from now on. BTW, 37 is normal body temperature, so possibly not what you meant in your OP.

No-one is criticising parents of genuinely sick children. I am just trying to answer the OP's question - the school may be obsessed, I don't know but her threshold for keeping her child off is too low.

As someone with a child who has asthma, eczema, severe allergies, has had grommets fitted, has been hospitalised with pneumonia and recently had endoscopies and colonoscopies and still has an attendance above 90% I feel able to see both sides.

msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 16:31:42

^ I am just trying to answer the OP's question - the school may be obsessed, I don't know but her threshold for keeping her child off is too low.^

That is your opinion. There is a huge gap between a headache and having a terrible, life-defining illness.

I'm not going to send my daughter to school if she's clearly sick.

If he needs to be off for 2 weeks, he will be off for 2 weeks, don't worry! smile

Likewise, if it's healed nicely and he's raring to go 10 days in, he will be going to school. This is what people mean about guidelines, they are just that, a guide . Common sense has to come into play at some point.

I think keeping a child off with a temp of 37-39 is being a bit too over cautious.

Thebody, please don't feel bad, the illnesses are out of your control, just keep doing the best you can, it's all any of us can do.

SuburbanRhonda Mon 18-Mar-13 16:35:49

I work in parent support in two primary schools and I also work very closely with the EWO, because some absences can be sorted by addressing, say, transport issues. In my schools we do send letters when attendance drops below 80%, even in Reception, but in our letters we acknowledge that under-5s are not of statutory school age. We make the point, though, that regular attendance is a good habit to get into generally.

I am puzzled by comments from a couple of posters that social services got involved for poor attendance. I recently went to a presentation by our local children's services team about their new thresholds - wild horses wouldn't get a social worker into a school in our LA for attendance - it's a level 2 intervention (i.e. me!).

yellowhousewithareddoor Mon 18-Mar-13 16:41:09

So 37temp or a light cough or sniffle is clearly sick? Are you saying there are the reasons for keeping her off?

What does she do when she's home? Does she sleep or watch tv? How is she? If she's better by lunch time she can go in?

If she's regularly ill thoughshe needs further investigation.

karenflower Mon 18-Mar-13 16:49:14

This is from a letter we received from my sons school this week from an
attendance officer

When I visited the school this week, there were over 75 pupils who have missed more than 11 and a
half days (over two full weeks) since September 2012, this is the equivalent of four pupils missing a
whole school year.

So your school are probably trying to make sure this doesnt happen and I am afraid it too often does - really you should be pleased they care about educating your children and if they are ill think well at least they checked and my LO goes to a school who cares if she is learning???

Just another point of view really

37C isn't a temperature. It has to be over 37.5C to be that and 38C to be a fever. I don't really understand the comments about dose them up and send them to school - they shouldn't be dosed up for 37C, it isn't necessary.

I am sure some of you would consider me a soft touch as DS2 gets fevers with little else wrong with him other than a reduced appetite and being tired but his temperature is always 38C before I let him stay home (not in bed mind you, he has a temperature and the temptation is to put the covers over himself which just makes him hotter and then he is really ill - been there done that). He loves school but some days, when he has these temperatures he gets tearful, lethargic and doesn't want to go. I know then that he is not feeling great. He seemed to be getting a lot of temperatures so I asked the school if he should go in. They didn't want him. They said that if the temperature is being brought down by drugs then he could still be spreading illnesses around even if he was temporarily OK. If he had a cold or a bit of sore throat he would go in but he doesn't seem to get those even when they are doing the rounds of the school, just this temperature.

So whilst I don't think the OP is being unreasonable to keep her daughter off if she is ill, even with just a temperature, I think she is misreading the NHS website a bit and shouldn't be thinking her DD has a temperature at anything less than 37.5C and even then, it shouldn't just be one check as I know from experience, if they have just got up and have been rushing around getting ready, they can easily have a temp over 37C one minute which is gone the next.

And just to say, I do have a thermometer. DS2 is a very hot child. He quite often feels hotter than everybody else and I have thought he has a temperature. He doesn't when his temp is taken - well under 37C. That is why I have one. It is really hard to tell without one whether he is putting on being ill and will make a miraculous recovery mid morning, or whether he genuinely ill.

hackmum Mon 18-Mar-13 17:11:43

Cecily: "Still, they said that children sometimes could go to school with a little paracetamol, that that's how they build their immune system.

This is totally ridiculous. I hope you asked if she was medically qualified or how her immune system required her to be in school for it to built up."

I agree! Sending your sick child into school isn't going to build up her immune system. Where do they get this nonsense from? Also, it's a bit exasperating, because at my DD's primary and other local schools, they used to insist on the child being kept off school for a full day after they had had an episode of vomiting, even if they felt perfectly fine. At one school it was two days. So parents used to just lie, and say their kid had a headache or something.

MadHairDay Mon 18-Mar-13 17:12:56

I'm with cory and thebody. People may not be criticising parents of genuinely sick children, but there's a lot of stuff here either crowing about how little time their children have had off <'DC4 has recurrent tonsillitis, he gets it every 3-4 weeks for 2/3 days. He has a temp, I give him paracetamol suspension and send him into school every time.' hmm > or how having time off can damage education.

It's these kind of attitudes which contribute to children who are already sick feeling even more down on themselves <that, and the attendance 'awards', but that's another thread> and feeling that they are letting people down by being ill. This then goes right on into adult life and effects how you are in work. I should know, I was that child, and now have a child who has to attend hospital appts at least once a month and has generally lower attendance than her peers.

I agree with those saying that children should still go in with the odd sniffle and cough, but those who send children in with high temperatures, feeling poorly are putting children like my immuno-suppressed dd at risk.

You sound like you have sought GP advice, OP, and your dd has been unlucky. Many children have this kind of trouble in reception. YANBU.

msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 17:21:32

oh FGS! So, if I say 37-39 degrees, some of you'll understand that I keep her home with 37? What about 38.5C, like she has now? I wish you could see her, all miserable in bed, just wants to sleep!

Agree it's not all about temperature. There are also other sympthoms, like the sad eyes, the cough, the drowsiness, the lack of appetite.. and, like this once, D&V too. It's common sense and I am thankful that I am able to see when my child is sick! And guess what, GP and hospital agree too! angry

babybythesea Mon 18-Mar-13 17:25:12

Someone upthread mentioned a programme on the Radio a couple of weeks ago - Inside Health, I think.

The medical person they had on said that readings of temperature can vary depending on what sort of thermometer you have, even, so going strictly by what the thermometer says doesn't actually tell you much about how healthy the child is, especially when they are in that "a little bit too warm" category.

She said the best thing to do was to use your instinct as to how the child actually was. So, if your child appears a bit warm but is otherwise fine, has energy, is eating etc, then they are fine. A slight rise in temp is in itself not a problem or an illness, or an indication of something serious about to happen. Kids have fluctuations in temperature.

A child can however be really poorly without even developing a temp. Her point was partly that it is important not to rely on temperature as the be-all-and-end-all to tell you if your child is ill or not - it may not rise and you may miss something as serious as meningitis if you are using temperature as your defining feature of illness. A child who is listless, won't eat, complains of headaches or similar is more likely to be genuinely ill than a kid who is half a degree above normal.

From what I can see, the OP started out seeming to say that her dd had been kept off with a temperature (37-39), and no other symptoms were mentioned initially. I think this is why the majority of people are saying the child should be in school - 37 is well within normal so I don't even count it as a temperature. If this really is the only problem and there are no other symptoms on this occasion then I'd agree with the dose of calpol and send her in. There's a big difference between 37 and 39 though, and I'd expect to see other problems arising as it got to or above 39 (certainly my dd gets weepy, sleeps almost constantly, won't eat and often refuses to drink by the time her temp hits that high). If she's got or has only just finished d&v, if there are other things than just a small temp going on (listless, won't eat etc) then keep her home regardless of whether her temp is 'normal' or not. But a small rise in temp on it's own isn't really a need to worry.

The level of absence I would say is worrying. What it is difficult to work out is how often the absences are occuring a) due to problems like d&v, or genuine fevers where the child is properly ill, in which case they are unavoidable or b) how often they are occurring because the child's temp is a 'bit high' even if no other symptoms are present. If it's more often the latter, then the low attendance is avoidable. It's not going to be unavoidable every time, but the attendance can be improved if you don't add to the necessary absences with unecessary ones (which I would say are the ones just due to a slight temp with no other symptoms present).

Sorry this is long but I was trying to be as clear as possible.

yellowhousewithareddoor Mon 18-Mar-13 17:32:26

Op has already said (page 4 ) she thinks everyone should keep children off for a 'cough or runny nose'. Just as well they don't as there would be hardly anyone in school!

If this is her approach I think its clear why school are worried!!

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 18-Mar-13 17:41:52

My rule is,if I would stay off work for the same thing or it could make others quite poorly then its stay home.

Erm...sad eyes?

dc4 has them, I wouldn't let him have a second creme egg lol

Seriously, sad eyes and a cough, they go to school. Drowsiness more concerning (but actually drowsy, not just tired) , D&V definitely stay home.

cory Mon 18-Mar-13 17:51:37

If ds has sad eyes, I'll know he's seriously ill. If he says "could you stay home with me, mum" I'll be phoning the doctor. You know your own child. Ds is one of those types who never want to admit to illness; if he actually does, then he is ill indeed.

And of course, we don't all have the same natural body temperature. For dd, who has a natural body temperature of below 36, a temperature of 37 is the same as a temperature of 38 or 38.5 for me; it is getting on for being a real illness. A temperature of 39 and she will be delirious, whereas I will still be sitting up in bed reading a book.

Yanbu, when dd was in reception she caught everything going.

I did do stuff with her at home when she felt well enough, worksheets etc.

She now has great attendance (touch wood) but reception was a nightmare.

littleducks Mon 18-Mar-13 17:59:30

Who on earth asks "do you think you're too ill to go to school today".

I always do, even when mine were in reception. They both love school though. They have never sadi they would need a day off and then seemed ok, they always then seem to spend the day in bed.

I'm surprised that so many people recommended sending in a child dosed up on calpol. That is the only thing our school doesnt allow. They will adminster calpol for pain or prescribed antibiotics but are strongly against children being given calopol to bring a temperature down and then sent into school.

Idocrazythings Mon 18-Mar-13 18:44:51

I can't believe people are actually saying give calpol to bring down a low grade fever just so they can go to school; instead of letting the body fight whatever is causing the fever and get over it naturally. Even if it means a day off school at age 4-5!!! Now THAT is how you build the immune system. Not suppressing inflammation and packing them off when unwell.

My DC get calpol when they feel like their temp is over 38.5 or they have pain. (I rarely actually check the number, just go on feel)

FasterStronger Mon 18-Mar-13 18:49:30

calpol doesn't affect the immune system. it relieves the symptoms and your immune system fights the infection.

Calpol is just paracetamol. It's pain relief, it doesn't do anything to the immune system.

soverylucky Mon 18-Mar-13 18:56:12

Schools can't win. The op's dd attendance is poor. The school must investigate. Certian levels of attendance can trigger and ofsted inspection. They have to check that their aren't other issues at play here. Obviously some times some children are just ill a lot but that is why they are checking and checking well. If they did nothing then people would be up in arms if it later transpired that something was not right and the school didn't intervene sooner.

BackforGood Mon 18-Mar-13 19:14:07

Well said sovery

NannyR Mon 18-Mar-13 19:20:37

But a low grade fever i.e. making your body hotter and less hospitable to germs is how your body fights off infection. Giving calpol to bring down a slightly raised temp stops your body fighting off the bug naturally.

lottieandmia Mon 18-Mar-13 19:26:47

I don't think this is just down to Ofsted - my dd is at a prep school and we had a smiliar letter.

bangwhizz Mon 18-Mar-13 19:30:56

I get so tired of the time off work and time off school comparison.They are completely different scenarios.At work you are performing a service that others are relying on being done.School is purely for your own benefit.If she is too miserable to learn anything, what good will sending her in do? The calpol will wear off in 2 or 3 hours and then she will turn to the teacher for solace .The teacher doesn't have time for that , she has 20 or 30 other kids to cope with.
Just don't engage with the school or the EWO.Until attendance drops below 80% they can't do anything legally anyway.

It wasn't that long ago that having your tonsils out was a week to 10 days in hospital then either a week to 4 days off school at home total time off 2 weeks.

I had my tonsils removed in 1975, 2.5 days in hospital (weds to Fri) and back at school following Monday. I was 7 years old.

And there was no need to remove them, they had never been infected. I had actually gone in because doctors decided my hearing problem was simply fluid in the middle ear. They didn't find anything and decided to whip out my tonsils and adenoids anyway (apparently medical knowledge of the time decreed these to be redundant organs, something not now agreed with).

crashdoll Mon 18-Mar-13 19:57:54

YABVU for saying the school are obsessed when they were checking why your daughter's attendance is so low. Fair enough, you say she gets ill often but they have to check. From what you've said, it does seem you keep her off for every little cough and sniffle, sometimes you have to send them in and see how it goes.

crashdoll Mon 18-Mar-13 20:00:51

"Just don't engage with the school or the EWO."

Please don't do this, it's terrible advice. It makes it look like you have something to hide and would make them think you don't give a shit about your DD's education.

Idocrazythings Mon 18-Mar-13 20:26:20

fasterstronger and headfirst A raised temperature is the bodies response to infection (among other things)- it basically "cooks" the bugs and kills them. Temperatures over say 39 ish can cause febrile convulsions so you would always want to bring that sort of temp down. But lower, high ones are best left to let the body do what it needs to.

The drug classification for paracetamol is a NSAID- non steroidal anti inflammatory- which by suppressing inflammation is inessence suppressing the bodies immune response. It's other quality is "anti pyretic" which is to bring down a fever.

It actually is a serious drug, which too many people pass of as "just calpol".

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 18-Mar-13 20:26:52

Fry one my mother has just told me that I was in hospital for 10 days because apparently I wasn't healing as I should.

pointythings Mon 18-Mar-13 20:39:57

Irrespective of whether the OP is being overcautious or not - and based on last post I don't necessarily think she is - this winter is definitely worse than other years. My DDs have both been ill, and they are those lucky children who never get ill. I've been ill, felt like I'd been hit by something, and still have sinus problems two weeks later. It's a very. very bad year for viruses.

Diamondsareagirls Mon 18-Mar-13 20:51:41

Agree with crashdoll about the advice regarding the EWO. Refusing the engage with them will cause more problems. Should your DDs attendance fall below 80% you will find the monitoring of your DDs attendance will step up. You may have to require doctors notes for all absences to be registered as illnesses otherwise they will simply be unauthorised. Your DD does have a concerning level of absence from the school's pov.

cory Mon 18-Mar-13 20:58:18

Genuine question this: in cases where children are quite falling ill every few weeks as happened to my brother during his first years at school, how are parents supposed to afford doctor's letters at 20 quid a shot? Or do schools imagine surgeries will suddenly start waiving the fees?

If dd's school had insisted on this, it would have broken us financially, coming on top of all the other costs we had in dealing with her health, time off work etc.

Bunbaker Mon 18-Mar-13 20:58:47

"The drug classification for paracetamol is a NSAID"

No. I think you are confusing Paracetamol with Ibuprofen which is an NSAID.

nkf Mon 18-Mar-13 21:03:10

What % is her attendance?

Viviennemary Mon 18-Mar-13 21:05:49

I must say that a lot of children are kept off school for no good reason. Not saying that it applies to the OP. But this is the reason schools are clamping down on this.

Idocrazythings Mon 18-Mar-13 21:06:45

My bad, I stand corrected that will show me for just typing something off the too of my head. I still stand by what I said that it is better to let a body fight an mild fever by itself than dosing someone up and packing them off to school!

lljkk Mon 18-Mar-13 21:07:50

It's about 83% NKF. Basically the child has missed nearly 4 full weeks of school so far this year (adding absent episodes together).

It's just standardisation, the school has to treat everyone the same, certain level of days missed => trigger the letters and investigation. It isn't personal.

Badvoc Mon 18-Mar-13 21:08:59

Paracetamol is not a NSAID.
My dc are kept off school when they are ill. (Temps, d and v,
If other parents did this then the horrendous cases of noro virus would not do the rounds each winter, would they?
My sons school has got lots of dc and teachers off ATM with this awful viral thing (I had it last week and was in bed for 3 days I kid you not)
Ds1 was off last week with a chest infection and in ABs, ds2 has not started coughing and has a temp.
So he will certainly be off tomorrow.
Common sense, surely?

nkf Mon 18-Mar-13 21:09:11

Just seen. Near the 80% mark. You have a problem and it isn't about getting the letter. It's very low attendance and the school are right to enquire about it.

MyShoofly Mon 18-Mar-13 21:29:34

haven't any of you had a bad year though? last year DS1 got everything - vomiting, high fevers, strep throat - you name it. It was difficult for our family and yes, My DH and I missed a lot of work.....but what can you do??

I wouldn't have minded the school asking about it but the threatening and patronizing attitudes described by many here would have gotten my back up too

neverputasockinatoaster Mon 18-Mar-13 21:31:39

I'm torn on this - I am a teacher and I see the effect that low attendance has on progress. I do think some children are off at the drop of a hat with a sniffle.

However I have been seriously ill in the past because I have caught a bug passed on to me by a child who was quite clearly too ill for school. I got mumps and was ill for 4 weeks as it kept recurring (Long story - misdiagnosed as tonsillitus, antibiotics masked symptoms, wore off, mumps still there......)

I feel very sorry for my 2. I know I will be frowned upon for being off so they get sent in unless they are very ill.

Badvoc Mon 18-Mar-13 21:34:38

Yes shoo fly.
We seem to be in one ATM!
Ds1s first winter off a long term medication and ds2s first year at pre school.
It's been ridiculous really.
Colds, coughs, flu, sickness bug, now chest jnfections.
I feel like daubing a Cross on the door to warn people away!

Fillyjonk75 Mon 18-Mar-13 21:40:32

Schools may well find by cracking down on attendance, their attendance figures fall, because parents feel more obliged to send their children in ill, more bugs go round and kids are more ill for longer.

nkf Mon 18-Mar-13 21:57:54

I'm having a terrible time at the moment regarding children and illness. So I know all about that. But 85% is very very low. And the school is right to investigate. Good attendanc is about the wellbeing of children. 85% attendance means she will fall behind. And that is a concern for schools. Not just because of their figures and OFSTED but because it's bad to see a child fall behind because of attendance.

I didn't realise that about paracetamol and fevers, thanks for the info!

babybythesea Mon 18-Mar-13 22:06:37

The fundamental question seems to be 'how ill is too ill?'

People saying that sending in an ill child is how bugs spread are right - no child should be in school if there is d&v involved, for example. I don't think anyone is advocating this. I haven't seen anyone saying that an ill child should be at school. It's just there seem to be differing ideas on what constitutes ill.
I think we are all agreed that vomit or the runs definitely counts as ill so the idea that anyone should send these children in is daft.

A child who has a mildly runny nose (which was mentioned earlier as a reason to keep them at home) - to be honest, I don't count that as ill. Not if a runny nose is all they have. Maybe if they've not slept because they are full of cold they need to be at home - but then I don't term that a mildly runny nose either - a child with a heavy cold is one I would describe as poorly.

The problem arises because it ultimately comes down to parental interpretation. There clearly are people who keep their child off with a slight runny nose. In that case, their attendance is bound to be poor because kids have colds a lot. Sending them in doesn't mean the entire class will be off the next day with the sniffles so I don't think the 'keep them off or they will infect everyone' argument works here. Would this child also be kept home from their best mate's birthday party to avoid infecting everyone? If no, then they are probably well enough for school.
If the child is routinely more ill than this then underlying causes really should be checked out in case anything more important is being missed.

babybythesea Mon 18-Mar-13 22:13:50

And can I also just add to whoever said it's not the same as being off work, where people rely on you to be there - no it's not. It's not a great comparison.
But, if one child is off a lot, they will inevitably need a lot of extra help when it comes to catching up.
The teacher will have to devote time to them at the expense of others in the class. So the absence of one can have an effect on the others. That should not be the main consideration by any means, but it is worth keeping in mind when you are busy thinking that it doesn't hurt anyone to have the extra days off.

FasterStronger Mon 18-Mar-13 22:17:51

As someone has said, paracetamol does not affect inflamation and has no effect on the immune system. It stops you feeling the pain.

there is quite a lot of bad science on this thread.

zzzzz Mon 18-Mar-13 22:24:35

Raised temperature lowers seizure threshold. This means a child with a temperature is far more likely to have a seizure than when well. Paracetamol in the form of calpol is an excellent way of keeping fever at bay and relieving the uncomfortable symptomes of minor illnesses. It is not a good idea to let your child run a fever at all and should be avoided.

Children who are actively unwell should be kept home so they can rest, be more closely monitored and reduce the spread of the illness.

While your child may experience a mild version of an infection the next child may be much more seriously effected. A day or two at home will only impact education if you do nothing to catch up, but it is not that hard to ask what your child has missed and put in some catch up time.

It is totally irresponsible to send a sick child into school, and as for going to a birthday party shock. What a charming present.

Yfronts Mon 18-Mar-13 22:43:20

There is an illness going round with a week long temp between mostly about 38/39 and slowly spiking to 37. I really don't agree with sending a poorly child into school. A sniffle is fine but some parents are just to selfish to think about the effect their child's illness will have on others.

Your child does not legally have to be in education till the term after his/her 5th birthday. Even then, BY LAW they have to offer a part time table if required during the first year.

It's only the reception year! The most important thing is that the child enjoys school and feels positive about learning aged 4/5. They are only learning basics at this stage. As long as you read with your child a lot at home and encourage an interest in words, your child will keep up with the others. In other European countries, they have a more child centered approach to education and we are far behind in the UK.

Also I think it's quite reasonable to keep an ill child off and only send them back when they almost at full health. Why teach a child to be a marter to work, surely health has to come first? Infecting others is never appreciated and completely selfish.

My son was part time during his reception year and was taken out of school when ill. He is now in year 6 and has excellent attendance and attainment. He is also popular. It was in his best interest to have a gentle lead into school during his reception year. I do after all know what is best for my son.

Yfronts Mon 18-Mar-13 22:47:20

cory - tell the school you are happy to provide a letter if the school are willing to pay the GP.

cory Mon 18-Mar-13 23:29:45

It's all right, YFronts; as I said, the school aren't insisting: they're being very good and understanding (not like her last school)

Snowme Tue 19-Mar-13 00:47:23

Your child's health is more important than the school's attendance record keeping.


End of.

Bearbehind Tue 19-Mar-13 05:41:57

To anyone who's asked about my work - thanks I got that under control, although it's not great when she's sick obviously. And no, I don't think it matters. I could be a SAHM or self employed or own my business or I could work for someone else who'd have to put up with me being at home with her.

I think the bold part of this quote from the OP sums up her pretty high sense of entitlement with all of this- an employer does not just have to put up with a 15 to 20% absence rate which doesn't even include the employees personal illness.

Fine, time off sick for genuine illness but "sad eyes", come on, this little girl is going to grow up knowing that by moping around a bit, she can get time off school whenever she wants it.

uniqueatlast Tue 19-Mar-13 07:11:40

Sorry, I was forgetting home educated children. But as you say if they are registered at school, then they have to go and most children are registered at school.

No need for "utter bollocks" though, that was quite rude.

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 19-Mar-13 07:37:31

I reckon the child who stays off school for 15-20% of the time with a variety of sniffles and coughs turns into the university student who can't get themselves along to enough lectures and / or the adult who thinks it's ok to work 80% of the time but get paid 100% of their salary. And is genuinely shocked when they are pulled up on it.

FasterStronger Tue 19-Mar-13 07:38:13

I doubt an employer would have to put up with someone who is not there 10-20% of the time.

if they cannot do the job 20% of the time, they cannot do the job. baring any Disability Act implications, in which case many employers might be sympathetic anyway.

Bearbehind Tue 19-Mar-13 07:56:26

That's my point faster, an employer doesn't have to put up with it and I'm sure that if the school are concerned about the daughters absence levels, the OPs employers won't be thrilled about it either.

I totally agree with familiessharegerms this kind of behaviour is just encouraging a generation of entitled little princes/ princesses who think the world will bow to their every need and that they can be absent from school/ uni/ work for the slightest thing.

FasterStronger Tue 19-Mar-13 08:07:18

i don't think the OP works. you are more likely to keep your DCs off school if you don't work yourself.

it is one of the reasons children from households where no one works do less well at school.

pictish Tue 19-Mar-13 08:31:18

I dunno...I've got a pal who is off work ill quite often for the most spurious reasons, and she applies it to the kids as well...they are often absent from school for days over silly things like a cold, or similar mild maladies. I know the school have had a word with her about their frequent absences, and she had the same reaction as the OP...was offended and annoyed they would question it.
Dh and I do secretly think she keeps the kids off for nothing though...we thought it wouldn't be long before the school picked up on it. Which they did.

As it's not our place to judge, we would only roll our eyes knowingly at each other and say nothing.

There is a certain type of person who makes more out of illness than there is.

Well the OP has avoided any explanation of her work situation, though she does reference "missed days at work" in her OP. I wonder if she has a boss who is a pushover and therefore keeping her DD off school is a day off work with no consequences for her - bonus! The school now have the audacity to point out that there are consequences for her DD and she is offended.

pictish Tue 19-Mar-13 09:02:25

The friend I described there is the boss at her work. There's no way she could get away with it otherwise I don't think.

pictish Tue 19-Mar-13 09:26:12

I won't speak for the OP, but in my friend's case I can't help but think she's setting her kids up for a shock in the adult world. No one but your mother cares if you've got a cold.
Or is it 'upper respiratory tract infection' nowadays? Either way...your boss doesn't care.

Personally I couldn't give a monkeys if my friend likes a skive, and lets her kids stay off school because they have a raging fever of's nothing to do with me. I just let her express her offence at being confronted over their absences, and made vague 'oh dear' and 'mm hmm' noises back at her.

She's convinced it's their problem, so good luck to her.

crashdoll Tue 19-Mar-13 09:31:00

SnowMe It's not about attendance record keeping, (although the OP seems to think this is the only issue in the situation!) it's about how her daughter will suffer if she continues to miss this much school!

I agree with the PP, it is about how ill is too ill?

yellowhousewithareddoor Tue 19-Mar-13 09:34:32

Yup. She's already said anything 37 and above, a runny nose, a cough or sad eyes are all good reasons!

My mother was brisk and no-nonsense; she sent us in telling us that if we were really ill we'd get sent home. Never happened though. smile She did keep us home if we were really poorly, but a mild cold or temp was never enough for her.

I do the same to my DCs, but then they rarely get ill, which I know is lucky for us.

BigRedBox Tue 19-Mar-13 09:47:34

Lol at sad eyes.

I think the world is divided into people who think that the first signs of anything other than perfect health means down tools and lie down. And sane people who carry on until carrying on is not an option.

You're teaching your child that if she feels anything less than 100% she can stay home. That'll go down well when she's older. I sacked my last nanny for this attitude to work.

Thingiebob Tue 19-Mar-13 09:48:07

I think unless you have a child who is clearly ill all the time, people can be really rude about low attendance levels.

My poor mother had issues with my school attendance all through secondary school. I was continually unwell - weeks off at a time culminating in serious glandular fever. Mumps/tonsilitis/whooping cough all in the first year.

Should she have sent me in? She did once. I fainted in the playground as I was unable to breathe and got rushed home.

I was called a skiver by teachers to my face in front of the rest of the class, teased constantly and had education officers contact my mum. Attendance well below 85 per cent. Anyone care to call my attendance levels 'disgusting'? Go on...

It carried on over into my employment. I am now diagnosed with an autoimmune disease which requires quite a lot of medication and monitoring. I now know this was the problem when I was a child. I am now self-employed as I cannot guarantee my attendance.

All I am saying is if a child is constantly off sick, be careful before you start throwing around accusations and generally being disapproving and rude.
As on OP said further up the thread 'Your child's health is more important than the school's attendance record keeping.'

crashdoll Tue 19-Mar-13 09:52:43

Thingiebob You described quite serious illnesses there. The OP hasn't been that clear but from her description, she seems to keep off for minor viral infections - coughs, colds etc.

pictish Tue 19-Mar-13 09:54:37

That's a real shame for you bob. Can't have been nice at all. sad

My mate is just lame assed though. wink

No idea re the OP.

Thingie no-one on this thread has argued that sending a child to school with glandular fever, mumps, tonsillitis, or whooping cough is a good idea. The OP is describing a raised temperature as grounds for keeping a child off school as it may be a pre-cursor to something more serious. This is why people are challenging the OP on this and why the school is clearly trying to encourage her to think differently. I don't think in her case it is about a focus on figures - she is way passed that - I think it is borne out of genuine concern for the educational welfare of her child.

Badvoc Tue 19-Mar-13 11:54:32

My dc attendance will be fucked this term.
Ds2 rushed to hospital last night with croup.
Ds1 up til 3am when we left so he is not in school again today.

crashdoll Tue 19-Mar-13 12:05:31

I do think there needs be more understanding with reception and year 1 aged children as they are still quite young and prone to picking up everything. However, the school have a duty to investigate to ensure that the issue is 'only' illness and not more. So, I don't disagree with schools querying low attendance if they are not aware of a medical or health problems. This is because there is a link with low school attendance and other issues. That's not to say that some children are NOT genuinely unwell and off for genuine reasons. As a parent, only you can make the call if your child is ill or not. Some parents will send a clearly unwell child in and some will keep them off for every sneeze. There needs to be a balance but it's all so subjective and it's a tricky subject.

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