AIBU to take DS (7) out of school for an afternoon so that I can go to an appointment?

(51 Posts)
WeAreEternal Thu 06-Feb-14 10:40:47

The apointment is for tomorrow.
I cant reschedule the appointment (medical related) as they can't fit me in again until late March, I only got this appointment because someone else canceled last minute.
I really need this apointment, I have been waiting for two months already.

The appointment is in a city 90 minutes away at 2 PM, and is expected to last 1-2 hours, there is no way I would be able to get back in time to collect DS from school.
I don't have anyone who can collect him for me, I have asked but nobody is free.

My only option is to take DS with me. I could take him to school for the morning and then collect him before lunch.

My problem is that I do not want to explain to the school what the appointment is for, it is personal and I don't feel that it is any of their business.
They have history of difficultness and I am concerned that they could refuse to let DS have the afternoon off to attend my appointment.
Although I'm not sure what they could actually do.

Can the school refuse to let me take him out of school in the middle of the day?

I don't like the idea of him missing school, but I really need this appointment.

I am tempted to just call in the morning and say he is ill, but I know that is unreasonable.
And if anyone remembers my other thread they wouldn't believe it anyway without proof.
(Yes the school require proof is a DC is off school sick)

SPsMrLoverManSHABBA Thu 06-Feb-14 10:42:21

Just don't send him in, tell them you have a personal appointment. That's all they need to know

redskyatnight Thu 06-Feb-14 10:46:08

Is there really no one who can have him? Would another parent of a child in his class take him (I'd happily do this if asked)? I don't think you're unreasonable to take him if really no other option, but I'd worry what DS would be doing while you were at the appointment - 1-2 hours is a long time to sit about, and you don't really want to be worrying about him when you should be focussing on you ...

lljkk Thu 06-Feb-14 10:47:32

it's not unreasonable to phone him in sick, it's entirely rational given the circumstances.

Stupid stupid stupid system.

Agree, just don't send him in. You need this appointment, have been waiting ages already so yes go. He's only 7, it will not affect his schooling at all.

sweetheart Thu 06-Feb-14 10:51:19

Could you say that he has a dentist / orthodontist appointment?

mummymeister Thu 06-Feb-14 10:53:36

This is such a stupid change to the law - how awful that you face being criminalised for taking your son out or having to discuss something deeply personal with strangers. I hate, hate hate this with a total passion. if you call in sick you know that they wont believe you, I remember your other thread. I think you might have to bite the bullet and tell them why you have to take him out. cant see anyway out of it but will definitely be right there with you (in spirit) when you do it. good luck you are between a rock and a hard place here.

nannynewo Thu 06-Feb-14 10:54:24

Gosh when I was a child, parents wouldn't think twice about doing this! A girl in my secondary school would have every Friday afternoon off to go away in their caravan. It was just the norm. And yes, this is coming from someone who works in a school setting, but thinks the system is completely ridiculous and dictating.

Keep him off, or give him a half day. Tell them you have a medical appointment, they should not ask what it is, just like a doctors receptionist is not allowed to ask either.

Good luck!

throckenholt Thu 06-Feb-14 10:56:08

Just say he won't be in for the day - we have to attend a medical appointment. That is the truth smile

TamerB Thu 06-Feb-14 10:57:33

There is no need to lie, say that you will be collecting him at lunchtime for a medical appointment. There is no need to go into detail.

Bonsoir Thu 06-Feb-14 10:58:41

I would happily help out another parent in these circumstances - even someone I barely knew. I think the school will think that you ought to be able to find another parent to take your DS after school.

donnie Thu 06-Feb-14 11:00:55

do what throckenholt said smile

throckenholt Thu 06-Feb-14 11:03:19

By the way - given a 90 minute journey and appointment at 2pm - I wouldn't risk picking him up at 12 - I would just keep him off for the whole day.

pixiepotter Thu 06-Feb-14 11:04:12

i'd just phone in saying he is sick
To answer your question though they obviously cannot prevent you from picking up your child

dozily Thu 06-Feb-14 11:09:12

Do you have email addresses for the other parents in the class? I'm sure one of them would be happy to take him home and give him some tea. Better than him spending 3 hours travelling.

WeAreEternal Thu 06-Feb-14 11:10:20

There really is no one.
I only know two parents at school and they are not able to help, I have asked everyone I can think of but nobody is free. I even called local childminders but they don't do one off pick ups and the after school club he usually goes to is full (it was the first thing I checked).

I already asked about taking him, they said it's fine to bring DS, they have a small waiting room with toys and books which is directly in front of the reception desk, the receptionist said she would be happy to keep an eye on him, it's only for that doctor so there won't be lots of other people waiting there.
or I am welcome to have him in the appointment with me if I would rather.
I'm going to take the iPad so he will have something to do.

I know it's not ideal but I don't really have another option.

I could say he has a dentist appointment, but I don't like lying, and if they asked DS if he'd been to the dentist he would say no, and I don't want to give them any reason not to trust me in the future.
But I could probably get away with saying he is full of cold and has a temperature, because he does have a cold.

frugalfuzzpig Thu 06-Feb-14 11:12:11

I'd just tell the truth. My DC's school would be understanding I think. Although they do know about my health problems - I told them when I got ill as I feel they should be aware of anything that might affect the DCs (emotionally as well as practically)

Is there really nobody who can pick DS up for you? Could he go to a classmate's house for tea? (I say this, but I would find it very difficult to ask as I hate asking favours)

WeAreEternal Thu 06-Feb-14 11:13:19

No I don't have the email addresses or phone numbers of any other parents, DS goes to the breakfast/after school club most days so I don't even know most of the parents to say hello to, I really don't feel I could ask a complete stranger to take my DS home.

frugalfuzzpig Thu 06-Feb-14 11:14:29

Sorry Xpost about the school friends. In that case I'd just be honest. You can say that you have a long-awaited medical appt, they don't need to know what for if you don't want.

Or ask if the school can send out a message asking for help. This has been done before for a parent having surgery, somebody was able to take their DC to school during recovery time

HeGrewWhiskersOnHisChin Thu 06-Feb-14 11:14:46

Give him the day off and tell them he's sick.

My DD is sick today because DS threw up in the car all over himself on the way to dropping DD to school.

We were already running late because of the extra traffic on the road thanks to the tube strike.

After cleaning up DS, getting DD to school would have made me late for a medical appointment that I could not afford to miss.

Saying she was sick and giving her the day off was a lot easier than explaining and being told to plan my day better. confused

bodygoingsouth Thu 06-Feb-14 11:17:11

I would most certainly keep him off.

I have read your posts before and just can't understand the school asking your proof of absence for 1 day.

where do you get it from as no doctor would be bothered to do this, not sure how they enforce it. no sensible HT or governing body I know of requires this. mine gave been to 6 schools between them over the years and no school has ever been this daft.

just ring up, say he's not attending today and say its personal and private.

think you are in awe of the school to he honest op. remember you are the customer here. you can go elsewhere.

lookingfoxy Thu 06-Feb-14 11:18:20

I would just give him the full day off and say he was sick.

Bramshott Thu 06-Feb-14 11:19:23

I would be tempted to tell even DS that he's sick blush. Take a look at him in the morning, say "ooh, you look a bit peaky, let me take your temperature", and then "hmm, your temp is a bit high, I think you'd better stay off school today".

TamerB Thu 06-Feb-14 11:21:49

I predict that government policy is going to produce a lot of lying. I would not want my children to get the idea that if you want to do something else you phone in sick.
There is no problem. Tell them, don't ask, that you are collecting at lunch for a medical appointment. You do not have to explain anything further.

WeAreEternal Thu 06-Feb-14 11:23:32

Thanks for all of the replies.

It's standard with the school now, whenever a DC is off ill the ask you to provide proof upon return to school, it has to be a doctors note, a prescription, pharmacist note or receipt.
If no proof is provided the absence is marked as an unauthorised holiday.
It's ridiculous, and as a result parents are now sending sick DCs into school (to infect others) because if a DC is sent home I'll you don't need to provide proof.

dozily Thu 06-Feb-14 11:24:36

In that case I would stick with your original plan of collecting him from school at lunchtime.

Whatever you decide to do, please tell the school the truth though as otherwise you're putting your son in a difficult position. (Do you expect him to say he was ill too?)

Minicreamegg Thu 06-Feb-14 11:24:40

LOL at Bramshot!

Keep him off the full day.

Hope the appointment goes well.

TamerB Thu 06-Feb-14 11:27:04

Madness! I should just say that my child was ill but I have no doctor"s note, prescription etc. Doctors, pharmacists etc are going to love this! Do they know?

elliejjtiny Thu 06-Feb-14 11:28:52

I will be picking both ds's up early next Tuesday as DS2 has a hospital appointment. I've done this before and it's been fine. If school have form for being difficult I would just tell them it's for a medical appointment and not be specific.

BarbarianMum Thu 06-Feb-14 11:32:13

Tell them the truth. Hopefully they'll manage to find room at the Afterschoool club. If not, you take him.

Do not miss the appointment. Do not divulge your medical details - just tell them its medical, urgent and private.

Wolfiefan Thu 06-Feb-14 11:32:43

This situation is so daft. (Not your fault!) I would contact the school and say you plan to collect him at lunch unless they would rather keep him after school until you are able to collect him. That'll quieten them!!

ILoveWooly Thu 06-Feb-14 11:32:58

I would simply arrange to collect him early for a medical appointment. The rest is none of their business.

WeAreEternal Thu 06-Feb-14 11:34:08

Apparently most parents have started saying their child has a temperature and sickness/a cold and buy calpol and cough syrup and send the receipt in, apparently they thing that is acceptable proof of illness, regardless of what is actually wrong with them.

DS does have a cold at the moment so I could say that, but I don't like lying.

It is however likely that the school with either point blank refused my 'excuse' for the afternoon off or ask for proof of the appointment, which I am not exactly happy to provide as it will inform them of the nature of my appointment, and I don't want to share that.

TamerB Thu 06-Feb-14 11:44:05

Don't ask them- tell them!

TamerB Thu 06-Feb-14 11:45:43

They can hardly refuse to hand him over and twist your arm until you give details!
Say you are collecting him for an appointment and it is a private matter that you are not willing to discuss.
No need to be rude, just polite and firm.

bigbluebus Thu 06-Feb-14 11:46:07

How ridiculous of the school to make these rules. DD is on day 3 off sick. She has not seen a doctor or pharmacist and I haven't purchased any Ibuprofen or Calpol as I already have supplies in the house. I can see parents in your area stockpiling medicines just to get receipts as 'evidence' although clearly a receipt doesn't prove anything

It would appear that you have no alternative other than to keep him off. What is the worst that can happen if you tell them the truth. Are they really going to issue a £60 fine for unauthorised absence (or surely it should only be £30 for 1/2 day). He is 7 FGS, it's hardly going to be detrimental to his education.

Bunbaker Thu 06-Feb-14 11:53:26

"There is no need to lie, say that you will be collecting him at lunchtime for a medical appointment. There is no need to go into detail."

Just do this^^

And if the school asks for proof just tell them it is private and confidential. What ever happened to patient confidentiality?

Just don't lie.

TamerB Thu 06-Feb-14 11:59:28

Exactly bunbaker. It really isn't an issue. I can't understand all these people who think you need to lie or explain in detail.
The proof of illness is the most stupid thing that I have ever heard! Doctors don't want their surgeries full of children spreading germs so they can write a letter- you won't get them to write one anyway. A bottle of calpol lasts ages- no way am I buying new ones for a receipt!

WeAreEternal Thu 06-Feb-14 12:58:01

They will accept proof of a GPs appointment if you can't get the doctor to write a note (or don't want to pay for one) the surgery will print out an 'appointment card' on headed paper with DCs details and the appointment details.
It is ridiculous but the HT decided to do it to cut down on people taking sick days 'willy nilly' when their DCs aren't really sick enough to be off school. Aka the HT is doing everything he can to try and get attendance numbers as high as possible.

I know it shouldn't be an issue at all, but I know they are going to be difficult about it, as they are about everything, and it makes me question whether or not I'm the unreasonable one.

Maybe I should just accept it is going to be marked as an unauthorised absence or 'unauthorised family holiday' as they mark it and accept the consequences whatever they may be.

TamerB Thu 06-Feb-14 13:07:30

If mine have been off with cold, sickness etc I don't waste the doctor's time.

jigsawlady Thu 06-Feb-14 14:12:56

It sounds like the school are all talk, they might try and scare you with saying it will be unauthorised but just stand up to them and say -

We have to attend a medical appointment and I will be takkng him out. Im not required to provide proof, if you do continue to harass me for proof or mark this as an unauthorised absence then I will have to address this situation with ofsted and the local authority to check this policy is enforceable .

You need to stand up to them just once then they'll back off. Their probably trying tk bully all the parents at the school into never havkng their dc off so their attendance goes up. They know 90% will be bullied into sending sick kids in but they will be prepared that a handful of parents wont stand for it.

mummymeister Thu 06-Feb-14 15:17:45

It takes a lot of balls and energy jigsawlady to do this and perhaps weareeternal just doesn't have buckets of that at the moment. of course it is completely ridiculous. they can and will fine for just one day. they might not do it in your area but they do in others. I would certainly start ask this twat of a head teacher to put these policies to me in writing at the very least. then when the OP is feeling a bit better she can take this up with the LEA. unfortunately heads have all the power to make the decisions. some heads are brilliant and sensible and some are the opposite.

LegoStillSavesMyLife Thu 06-Feb-14 15:27:45

I just say (and have done) that he needed the time of school for a medical appointment - I wouldn't specific who it was for. But I guess that is tricky if you need to provide proof of medical appointments.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Thu 06-Feb-14 21:05:03

Do the other parents you've asked have contact details for any of your DS's other friends' parents? If you explain the situation I'm sure they'll collect your DS from school even if you don't really know them. I did for someone in my DD's class in a similar situation even though I didn't really know her that well.

thenamestheyareachanging Thu 06-Feb-14 23:05:50

keep him off sick, buy some calpol and send them the receipt - will that do them? Sounds ridiculous, any GP would get annoyed by having to see every child with every cold or tummy bug going just to get a note for school, surely?

Misspixietrix Thu 06-Feb-14 23:10:33

Just tell the School you have an appointment and can't get back in time for Hometime. I've had to do it before when I or DD have had an appointment. I've had to keeP Ds off too as they would have been no one to pick him Up.

mummymeister Fri 07-Feb-14 10:54:41

the OP would do that Misspixie but they have told her that if she takes her child out for any reason then it will be coded unauthorised with a possible fine. You are assuming that they are being reasonable. they are not.

mouldyironingboard Fri 07-Feb-14 11:43:07

I'd take a carrier bag full of snotty tissues into the school as 'proof' of a cold!

mummymeister Fri 07-Feb-14 11:46:55

someone on another thread did something very similar when her DC had diarrhoea and sickness. still just shows the stupidity of this. have been on another thread where no action taken for 90% attendance and someone else where they expect 85% attendance over 4 weeks. it just is so unclear for parents. there is a law but then each LEA has their own views and policies and on top of that each H/T has their own views and policies. absolute postcode lottery as to whether a day off is a fine or nothing. bonkers.

Nanny0gg Fri 07-Feb-14 13:13:25

Can you post this in legal?

Surely schools have no right to know the actual details of medical appts for either children or parents?

mummymeister Fri 07-Feb-14 13:35:37

NannyOgg - they do have the right to code every absence as unauthorised and every right to refer that unauthorised absence to the LEA for them to take action. what people are suggesting is that maybe if the OP tells the school the situation confidentially they might be a bit more sympathetic to her reasons for taking him out for a day. if you say your child is sick they can make reasonable investigations to find out with what. some schools take it on trust others are asking for a doctors cert.

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