Advice please, school are saying ''unauthorised absense' when they phoned me up to collect my child (school refusal, long story)

(56 Posts)
Marne Mon 11-Feb-13 13:38:56

Dd2 is 6 and has ASD, she's in a MS school and up until 2 weeks ago she was doing great.

Due to a big c8ck up at schoo resaulting in a change of teachers 5 times sinse September my dd2 has been very unsettled due to no routine and lots of changes.

Last week she refused to go to school, she went in for 2 half days but the other days i could not get her in (she kicked me and tore her clothes off), i spoke to the head and she told me 'not to force her and not to worry', of course i have been worrying as i want her at school, when she's at home i can not get anything done as i need to watch her 24/7.

This morning i managed to get her into school but at lunch time i was called to pick her up as she was upset and asking to go home. Now i have been told it will go down as 'unauthorised absense', surely if the school phoned me to collect her then it is 'autherised'?

I'm now worried sick that all the time she has had off over the last 2 weeks, where the head has said 'don't worry, don't make her come in' will go down as 'unauthorised absenses'.

I dont know what they expect me to do, i am trying my best to get her in and when i do get her in she's sent home. I'm pulling my hair out at home with her, she's destroying the house, i have to keep doors locked or she emties tooth paste, sugar, eats the contents of the fridge etc.., i'm tired and struggling to cope with her at home, do they think i want her at home?

Where do i stand with this?

I am hoping she will go in for a full day tomorrow.

Cornycabernet Mon 11-Feb-13 16:16:19

perhaps write a letter confirming that you picked up dd as requested by the school on that date? I agree it shouldn't be unauthorised.

roundabout1 Mon 11-Feb-13 16:30:58

marne - how frustrating for you. Afraid I've got no advice but I do know that when my dd1 was doing half days for a period last year it was put down as unauthorised abscence as the head said there wasn't a different category it could be put in. Due to illness her attendance is an issue so I put it in writing that for 10 days she only did mornings as agreed. Now we have consultants letters backing her reduced attendance she does half days & the other half days is classed as educated off site as she does a bit of work at home. In my personal experience school was very keen to place blame with us for dd's absence even if it was due to problems she was having at school as a result of her illness.

badguider Mon 11-Feb-13 16:34:55

I don't know anything about this but I would think that having some 'unathorised' absence on her record could help you/her get some help and support - if it seems she's just off sick/authorised then her problems will surely be invisible and not attract any support?

mummytime Mon 11-Feb-13 16:58:02

I would make sure there is a written record that you were asked to collect her, and why she wasn't there last week. Does she have a statement? Does she have help in school? A TA?

Marne Mon 11-Feb-13 17:04:01

She has a statement and 30hrs a week TA, TA is who called me to pick her up.

socharlottet Mon 11-Feb-13 17:33:58

Whay are you giving a 6 yo the choice of whether to go to school or not?

Marne Mon 11-Feb-13 17:47:44

hmm 'giving her a choice'?

socharlottet- have you ever been in my position? i do hope you never are. My daughter has severe sensory isues and Autism, i have tried my hardest to get her in as much as i can but when a almost 7 year old kicks, screams and removes her clothes as soon as you put them on her it makes it a little tricky to get her to school, also i take her in screaming she will scream all day and it will only make the next day 10 times worse, i don't expect everyone to understand and a few years ago i would have said the same as you but its not easy. I have sat here crying because i cant get her to go in, i feel trapped as i cant go anywhere when she's home, she has wrecked my house, i have to lock each door behind me so she doesn't break anything, pinch food or hurt herself. The school want her to want to go to school, they don't want tme to force her although i have been forcing her as much as i can as i want her at school.

Floralnomad Mon 11-Feb-13 17:57:43

I've no advice I'm afraid , but you have my sympathy . I just wouldn't worry about what they put it down as just keep your own records as to her attendance in case of a query later . TBH you've got enough on your plate without worrying about what box the school has ticked . My daughter has CFS ( she's 13) and when her attendance was at its worst ( she's not in MS now) I didn't care what the school thought although I often got the impression that they felt I wasn't trying to get her in. I'm more concerned about her health than the schools statistics . Good luck .

MariusEarlobe Mon 11-Feb-13 18:04:55

It should be authorised because they sent her home.

I'm a bit surprised tbh, as a mum of a child with As and someone who's worked in schools I've only ever seen a child with AS sent home once. That was because the child had become very violent and got into a real state and was past being calmed down.

I don't think they are helping you get her in school if they send her home if she asks to go home.

Passmethecrisps Mon 11-Feb-13 18:11:41

We have a category - Exceptional Domestic - which can be used in situations such as this.

The only reason I can think that they would elect to refer to it as unauthorised is if they called you for support in keeping her at school but you refused and took her straight home. This doesn't sound like what happened.

Why are you concerned about the category of absense? What is the consequence?

I would be more concerned by the school refusal and would suggest you ask for a meeting with the various professionals to have a plan of action. School refusal is stressful enough for parents without you worrying about a category.

piratecat Mon 11-Feb-13 18:13:03

what a hard situation you are in with your daughter op, i know how frustrating it can be to want your child in school, and they can't go. Having insufficient support is soul destroying, schools seem to vary with that aspect.

I think i would not concentrate one bit of upset on the unauthorised absence, just email the school briefly to tell them you wish it to be put under something else, seeing as they called you.

Is there someone else you can speak to within the school or outside of the system?

I feel for you.x

Marne Mon 11-Feb-13 18:13:19

Thanks Marius, Dd2 doesn't get violent (other than kicking out at me whilst trying to get her dressed), she just screams and cries. She has 2 TA's on Monday, one in the morning (who is very good, has been her TA from the start) and another in the afternoon (someone who has only worked with her for a few months), the TA in the morning knows dd2 a lot better and knows how to calm her down but the one in the afternoon is still learning, i think they felt with the switch over of TA's dd2 would just get more upset. I have prepared dd2 with visuals for tomorrow and we have talked about 'staying for lunch' so fingers crossed she will stay all day.

She has been sent home a few times but only twice from this school (the other school sent her home often).

roundabout1 Mon 11-Feb-13 18:15:05

marne - my dd 7 has no special needs but I have had occasions of late when she refuses school & kicks & hits out. When they are little it is just about possible to get them dressed and drag them to school getting kicked black & blue in the process, I would say it would be impossible to forcibly dress & take an older child so you have my sympathy.

Marne Mon 11-Feb-13 18:17:44

The main concern of them putting it down as 'unauthorised' is that they might not allow us a week off for our holiday in May, i know it might not sound important but we can not go away during the holidays as its just too busy for dd2 and she cant cope (so we go when the camp site is almost empty). I'm worried they will put all the time she has had off as 'unauthorised', she has had about a week off (over the past 2 weeks) due to school refusal.

Marne Mon 11-Feb-13 18:19:16

Thanks roundabout, she's almost the size of my 9 year old dd1 (so not a small girl) and she's quite strong when she wants to be sad.

Passmethecrisps Mon 11-Feb-13 18:21:34

Any holiday during term time is marked as unauthorised unless you are employed by an approved organisation. That is in my authority anyway.

Make sure you get a meeting arranged and discuss the need for a family holiday at this time. The school need to be more helpful than simply calling you to pick her up.

TheLightPassenger Mon 11-Feb-13 18:23:09

Next time they call to ask you to pick DD up early, I would be tempted to tell them you will only do so if it's confirmed in writing it's an authorised absence.

Viviennemary Mon 11-Feb-13 18:27:47

I agree with you that it shouldn't be unauthorised as, if the school asked you to pick her up and take her home, then they were authorising the absence. And it was a bit misleading of the teacher to tell you not to worry and then say unauthorised absence.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Mon 11-Feb-13 18:29:43

<<HUGS>> Marne Sod the school and their stupid bloody boxes. Just keep a really good record of days off and why she was off. It is the school who should be answering to YOU here, THEY have created this problem with their totally chaotic changing of teachers... 5 since September isn't acceptable for NT children, let alone those with any additional needs. THEY need to up their game. Pronto. Do you have a DH who can go in? Funnily enough, they seem to listen more when there's a bloke involved. Utterly pathetic, but it does seem so sad If not, pull up your big girl pants and don't let them blame you for this! Go and find out what THEY intend to do to make her happier to go. Very angry on your behalf and really feel for you having DD at home when you should be getting a break.

socharlotte clearly you don't have any experience with children with SN's. Your post is really thoughless & hurtful.

MyHeadWasInTheSandNowNot Mon 11-Feb-13 18:32:01

TLP - yes, that's a good idea.

I'd give two seconds thought to whether the holiday is approved or not, I'd take her... end of.

DizzyHoneyBee Mon 11-Feb-13 18:33:12

It shouldn't be unauthorised and I am surprised that the school are putting it down as that, most schools want to keep unauthorised absence down.

HermioneE Mon 11-Feb-13 18:35:59

OP I know feck all about AS, but this link is a DfE report on absence in schools in England. Page 75 has the following definition:

^Authorised absence is absence with permission from a teacher or other
authorised representative of the school. This includes instances of absences
for which a satisfactory explanation has been provided. The following absence
reasons are classified as authorised:
• Illness (NOT medical or dental appointments)
• Medical/dental appointments
• Religious observance
• Study leave
• Traveller absence
• Agreed family holiday
• Agreed extended family holiday
• Excluded, no alternative provision
• Other authorised circumstances^

So I would argue to the school that if they are asking you to pick your DD up, they have clearly granted permission for you to do so and cannot possibly be then contradicting themselves by trying to say that this is unauthorised presumably because they want to massage the numbers

Although I guess you might want to be more tactful than that if you're going to be asking them for some holiday in term time later grin

IAmLouisWalsh Mon 11-Feb-13 18:37:44

All absence is now classified in the same way - no real difference between authorised and unauthorised absence as far as the government is concerned. We usually manage something with codes about educated offsite for the circumstances you describe. All holidays are unauthorised absence, though - that has been an LA wide decision.

MariusEarlobe Mon 11-Feb-13 18:38:48

Is the morning TA only doing half days or does she have another class in afternoon, it would be better if she had same TA all day sad

When my dc and the children I supported got upset we calmed them down and went out of the classroom to a calm area until they calmed down. My friends boy with AS gets sent home because he punches and kicks teacher.

If she's not being aggressive at school (my dc is same at school) they should be dealing with her not sending her home.

If she is getting unauthorised when they send her home I'd be tempted to have a casual chat with lea to be honest.

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