School wants GP sick note for any further absence!

(128 Posts)
RaisinBoys Wed 05-Dec-12 20:51:45

DS off school for 4 days, then additional 1 day following week. Called on each day of illness to report and sent email to office and teacher when he returned explaining illness and confirming dates.

He is not a sickly child so rare for him to be off school. In 6 years aside from this period of illness we can only remember 1 other week long period for chickenpox.

Scroll foward 2 weeks - just had letter from Education Welfare Officer stating that "any further days of sickness must be supported by GP letter!" and "if your [DS] continues to have days off sick we wil refer him to th school nurse who will contact your GP to determine if there are any underlying issues/problems".

We are fumiing!! (Well I am, DH just thinks "schools are agencies of the state whose sole function is to train children to conform in the future and this is par for the course").

I think this is a ridiculous over reaction and that GP's have better things to do than authorise childhood illness in children who for the most part attend school.

Aside from the difficulties in actually getting a GP's appointment in the first place....

RaisinBoys Wed 05-Dec-12 20:54:17

And, what School Nurse?????

Do maintained Primaries still have them 'cause I haven't seen one in 6 years.

learnandsay Wed 05-Dec-12 20:55:23

I think this is an automatic management system to catch out parents who are taking their children on holiday but are claiming that they're sick. It's unfortunate on parents of genuinely sick children who may be upset that they're not being believed.

DorsetKnobwithJingleBellsOn Wed 05-Dec-12 20:57:35

Primaries still have school nurses, we were referred to ours about something which DD is seeing a Pediatrician about and she wanted to refer us to parenting classes, we backed away slowly.

Very over the top IMHO, DD also has had 3 weeks off this year in one swoop, but school very understanding and we haven't been referred to EWO, so YADNBU to be fuming.

MsElleTow Wed 05-Dec-12 20:57:41

shock. I would tell them to get stuffed! Would a GP do that without charging you? And could you actually get an appointment on the day? It's bloody ridiculous!

I have 2DC, who both have chronic conditions, so we got their Consutlants and our GP to write a letter to the EWO to explain why they needed time off school. They were having more time off than your DS though!

yellowsubmarine53 Wed 05-Dec-12 20:59:18

It's the rules, isn't it?

I wouldn't bother with going to the GP unless it actually warranted an appointment. I don't think GPs will be particularly happy about being asked to doll out sick notes for children who dont need an appointment. I would include the information that ds's illness didn't warrant an GP appointment/not wanting to spread illness around/couldn't get an appointment with the info that I sent the school after each day off.

Hopefully, your son won't have any further time off sick.

stella1w Wed 05-Dec-12 21:00:25

I think most gps won,t give notes to adults who havebeen ill less than five days, you have to selfcertify so school shd not be demanding more. Why shd u take a sick child to gp unnecessarily? Flu, d and v etc. Wasting gp resources.

bamboostalks Wed 05-Dec-12 21:00:27

The school might be missing their la absence targets so have a tight protocol. Probably nowt to do with them directly.

mrz Wed 05-Dec-12 21:01:18

Yes all schools have a "school nurse" although she/he is normally based centrally and will cover a number of schools.

We only ask for doctor's certificates for pupils who are frequently absent

RaisinBoys Wed 05-Dec-12 21:03:44

Our school has imposed fines for those very instances learnandsay

It is the tone of the letter that really pisses me off. I know that we are mere statistics and these sorts of letters are triggered automatically, but it is not beyond the wit of schools to look behind the headline stats and see the people behind them. They could then use their judgement (gosh, remember that) and consider whether this wording is appropriate in this case.

learnandsay Wed 05-Dec-12 21:04:39

Well, if that's the case, bamboo, then they need to get the nurse on the case straight away, never mind insinuating that the parents are liars and should waste gp time proving that what they said was the case actually was the case in the first place. If the school is missing its targets that's the school's problem not the parents'.

ihearsounds Wed 05-Dec-12 21:05:15

Our school nurse logs into the pct and checks if appointments have been made etc. Was a bit shock at first, but then noticed that generally things like this from the parents view point aren't checked and an easy sickie.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 05-Dec-12 21:06:00

I'd tell them to get stuffed, really would.

So if you have a child with d&v or a temp they expect you to take the poorly kid out to see the dr just for a sick note? The dr will likely charge you. It's a waste of Nhs resources, that's not what they're there for.

Plus what if you are unable to take them to the dr? When dd was young if she was poorly she was bundled over to my mums at the crack of dawn so I could go to work. My mum is 15 miles away and wouldn't be driving back to my dr with a vomity kid just to appease the school.

lisad123 Wed 05-Dec-12 21:06:04

Sounds like standard letter tbh. It's because it's first term, so over 10 weeks, a whole week off, takes him lower % than average they have to meet.
I wouldn't panic, or care tbh. It will even out over the year and his % attendance will go up.

3b1g Wed 05-Dec-12 21:09:56

This sounds like a generic letter that goes out automatically after five days of illness absence to remind parents / carers that a letter from the GP is required for illness that lasts longer than a week. It might even be a council-led thing. Of course, the staff in the school office could over-ride the system with common sense.

Catree Wed 05-Dec-12 21:10:55

He's a child! Children get sick!

Unless it was an automated referral, which the school had no control over, then they were being very unfair to you. It's not like you regularly took a week off without informing them.

I also agree, what chance would you have of actually seeing the GP on the same day to get a sick note?! I think my GP would be pissed off I was there wasting his precious time!

ohfunnyface Wed 05-Dec-12 21:11:01

What is his % attendance? Is it on the letter? I believed only absence that is <70% triggered those type of letters- possibly admin error?

lisad123 Wed 05-Dec-12 21:12:36

I think each school has different % levels

RaisinBoys Wed 05-Dec-12 21:14:40

mrz thanks for the nurse clarification - had visions of the 'nit nurse' from my school days!

Completely understand possibly requesting them for frequent absence but as my DS is not frequently absent this should not apply. The 4 100% Attendance Certificates he has had would attest to that!

Incidentally I always thought sick notes were for workers to give to employers after self certification period ends, not parents to give to school.

I have absolutely no intention of going to the GP for a note in the rare event that my son is sick again. I will go to the GP if he requires treatment but not just to satisfy a dubious school requirement.

I have written to school abou this, in my capacity as a Governor on the general principle, and in the capacity of a pissed off parent!

BerthaTheBogBurglar Wed 05-Dec-12 21:15:41

I'd be tempted to take it at face value and write a letter back to the Welfare Officer explaining that your GP has instructed you not to make appointments for minor viral illnesses, and so you won't be able to provide a note. Therefore, would they prefer your son to be off sick without a GP's note, or for him to come into school while ill? Say you need an answer quickly as there is a vomiting bug going around and if he gets it, you'll need to know whether to send him into school or not.

RaisinBoys Wed 05-Dec-12 21:19:19

offunnyface His attendance last year was 100%.

His attendance so far this term is 100% less the 5 days off sick (sorry can't recall off top of my head how many days in the term and still a few weeks to go so cannot give accurate %)

RaisinBoys Wed 05-Dec-12 21:20:58

Thanks Bertha - may use that word for word on my next letter to school as I fear this will run and run!

RaisinBoys Wed 05-Dec-12 21:21:57

Thanks everyone for your responses - really appreciate them

MaryPoppinsBag Wed 05-Dec-12 21:25:02

We got a snotty letter the other week.
My DS's attendance dropped to 86% which is apparently not in line with expected attendance of a Primary School Pupil.

However, his attendance % is directly in line with a Primary School Pupil who gets sent home with a sickness bug on a Tuesday and then has the squits until the weekend.
And then 3 weeks later gets Scarlet Fever!

We were a bit angry.
And wondered whatever happened to discretion - they know why he was off! No need IMO for a letter.
Not bothered responding, although I do feel like asking if they doubt me?

Raisinboys I get where you are coming from!

NonnoMum Wed 05-Dec-12 21:29:16

Write back to them and say, "oooh. lovely, it would be wonderful to have an appointment with the school nurse as it might help get us to be a higher priority at the GPs surgery. Does she do home visits? Thanks for your concern regarding our poorly child."

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