Child had 11 days off sick for mumps from school and now im being sent an education welfare officer to explain attendance???

(153 Posts)
honestyismybond1 Thu 05-Dec-13 00:15:52

Child is at a good primary school who I have had an excellent relationship with.My childs last year attendance was 90%.This year we aimed for 100% but sadly caught mumps and was very ill off sick for 11 days.Child saw GP on first day of absence who confirmed mumps and school was notified on day one by myself.I called the school many times updating them and requesting missed work to keep up.My child loged into school website everyday for 2hours to complete math work to keep up but sadly requested work from school did not come.When child went back to school I let teacher know how hard child worked at home even though very poorly and all seemed fine.Two weeks later got a school letter saying being moniterd by educational welfare officer for poor attendance and any future absences will be marked unauthorised unless I get a doctors note even if its a 24 hour bug or cold.So when my child was ill yet again a week later for a tummy bug just for a day I took my child to see GP to get a note and showed her the letter and the Dr went mental but to my shock not towards the school but to me.Gp requested I pay £20 for letter or go! When I said I could not pay £20 Gp said was putting on my record that I am always to pay £20 if I want any information to stop me wasting her time.I felt sick and very upset.I pointed out to her that we were both on the same side and that it was the council,education board,school demanding this and if we both complained in some way it would help.I then dared to ask if this was fair and was clearly told what she thought did not come into this and she will only take the course of action of asking for £20 to stop it happening.So the parent gets blamed from all angles and the child gets unauthorised mark on school record!When I calmed down I rang eductation board who was delighted with the action my school had taken and even said to me "we have vast matters in this area and if a child is ever ill more than once a year then this needs investigating" who the hell has a child who is sick only once a year? If you do please clone them because this is not the norm.I am worn out with this so can anyone please share what they think and what they would do? Thanl you

BackforGood Mon 16-Jun-14 12:58:53

Trouble is, all the posters getting angry on here, are posters who have had dc with genuine medical issues, which - as Cory has said - are recognised once investigated further by the EWOs.
90% attendance means a child is having the equivalent of 1 day a fortnight off - it's just a trigger line at which many schools, (or LAs) decide 'we need to investigate this is all above board'.
There is uproar every time a child sadly dies through neglect or abuse in the home about 'why the schools didn't notice' etc - many of the hig profile deaths in recent times have involved children who just started missing more and more school, and probably not enough was done to ensure they were safe. I'm not suggesting any of the posters on here who are getting outraged are like those, but wouldn't you rather get a letter asking you for evidence, than have another child slip through the system because no-one cared enough to follow it up ?

SwanneeKazoo Mon 16-Jun-14 12:30:11

I would tell them that you want a copy of the evidence they have that you were on holiday.

redskyatnight Mon 16-Jun-14 12:29:56

rach4456 - I would start a new thread, if I were you. No one will see your update at the end of this one.

rach4456 Mon 16-Jun-14 12:18:10

My children were off school for 4 days due to Nora virus, one of the mums thought she would try an cause a bit of trouble an tell them i was on holiday which i clearly wish i was as i was cleaning sick up for a week.The school have took this information an rang the education an told them i was on holiday to which i received a letter from the education with a fine of £120... I had already rang the doctors in the week for advice on how to treat my children as i know you can not go to the doctors surgery with the Nora virus, they gave me some advice an i left it at that as i did not think anything like this would happen... So i went to my G.P an they gave me two letters one for the school an one for the education i gave one into the school an took one to my local one stop shop which they forwarded to the education.... I later received a phone call from a man at the education explaining he has my doctors note but that it will not be excepted as the school secretary says i went on holiday i dont know how many times i need to tell them i was NOT on holiday they obviously have no proof which their would be if i had of gone on holiday.. I would just like some advice to see if they can actually make me pay this fine with a doctors note...
thanks for any advice you can give..

duchesse Sat 14-Dec-13 09:44:18

And yes, attendance certificates in assembly just for the luck of being healthy is truly shite.

duchesse Sat 14-Dec-13 09:43:16

teppid, I completely agree with you. Some schools seem to value presenteeism above the actual teaching they provide, and stand by and implement mandarinesque bureaucractic systems in an attempt to appear mainstream competent, totally overlooking what they ought actually to be doing. I find many schools (and now a great many other institutions in our society NHS) now confuse box-ticking with effectiveness. To be honest, any school that hounds sick children is a crap school to my mind.

Wasn't it cory's dd (cory posted a bit further down this thread) who had masses of problems with her school re attendance for her chronic condition?

tepidcuppa Sat 14-Dec-13 09:02:11

Re Mumsnet Campaign:

Wasn't there someone on here once who said that if a child was being penalised in any way for absences (e.g. not getting attendance certificates in assembly) and that child was off sick with a chronic condition (or a condition requiring extended care) then it was a discriminatory policy and that it could be legally challenged. I REALLY wish someone would do this. I cannot believe that not only do parents get all this hassle when their kids are sick, but then the sick kids themselves get penalised by being excluded from attendance reward schemes (which I don't give a toss about, but it might matter to the kids - and anyway, they can't be structured in an essentially discriminatory way).

I also think that if the school wants a doctors letter then they need to 1) pay for it and 2) pay for transport to the doctor e.g. a taxi (why should a sick kid have to walk to the doctor if the parents don't have a car just so the school can get a medically unnecessary letter?). They also need to make explicit in communication to parents that they do not care if a visit to the doctor is medically unnecessary - what is relevant to them is to have the letter (which is what they are saying implicitly). If they write this in a letter, imagine the uproar- and they can easily be challenged. In fact, someone get a letter or written statement like this from an arsey school please and use it to start a newspaper campaign.

In addition to this, I find it truly irritating the assumption that schools are great and kids are suffering terribly if they don't turn up because, say, they are going somewhere for a week with their parents. If only that were true. My kids school is, to put it bluntly, crap. I do not see how they can expect people to stick to their side of the bargain (attendance) when they don't deliver on their own side (reasonable, or in our case, adequate, teaching).

Ledkr Fri 13-Dec-13 15:23:32

Sorry I'm a social worker not an ass, not always anyway.

Ledkr Fri 13-Dec-13 15:21:53

I'd support that yes, great idea!
As ass I see some if the terrible things parents do to their dc so frankly I object to being vilified fir keeping an unwell child off school! Ffs if that's the worst thing we ever do!

duchesse Fri 13-Dec-13 13:58:55

Excellent idea PeterWimsey (very good name btw- I'm a Wodehouse fan)

WaitingForPeterWimsey Fri 13-Dec-13 13:09:40

I agree - can we ask MNHQ for a live webchat with Ofsted to discuss this?

I'm going to report my post to ask.

duchesse Fri 13-Dec-13 09:04:01

This situation has the makings of the next MN campaign...

GobbolinoCat Thu 12-Dec-13 22:55:43

Ledkr
Your post really made me think. I have had issues with DD being very obviously ill, not seriously ill requiring hospital treatment, but ill enough to be helped to walk by staff member, vomiting as soon as got in car and so o,n a few times now. Too many times for me to write off as a error or over sight...I have been so confused as to how or why she has been kept in school....

I was told by office staff dc are not sent home unless pucking.

I had a feeling something was not making sense and your post and the others on here are making me think that they are putting DC health at risk due to this record and absence business.

It is very very worrying.

And YES as a migrane sufferer no one in their right minds would ask someone with a migrane to go in!

I agree with other posters who say we must not take this lying down, we must, fight back and complain.

CalamitouslyWrong Wed 11-Dec-13 12:25:46

I think that standardised expectations of absence levels have been problematic for many, many years. I had terrible attendance in the first two years of secondary school because of recurrent tonsillitis. I'd get it, be off and then a week later I'd have it again. My guidance teacher pulled me out of class to tell me off speak to me about it and my mum had to deal with whatever EWOs were called back in the day. I vividly remember thinking how stupid and unfair it all was at the time; the tonsillitis was totally beyond my control and I just had to wait for the NHS to decide it was time for my tonsils to go. But I was obviously pulling their attendance stats down, and they couldn't have that! It's always nice to know that the stats come above your welfare.

I think your GP is being a bit of an arse, OP. My GP is a nice, sensible person who would have typed up a quick letter for me and printed it out there and then.

3asAbird Wed 11-Dec-13 12:14:57

At dd1s last school parents who were late or kids of sick all got letters to book appointment with head. I was late one felt like naughty kid.

Another person had problems dropping off kids juniors and infants ie to their classroom door so literally was min or 2late with 2nd child-primary school and got letter.

Its mostly about ofsted as bad attendance i think can trigger a ofsted visit and cause the school to be downgraded.

I dot think this new silly holiday rule will help things as as some parents will lie so any ill child will be veiwed with suspicion.

last year dd1 must have had 8days off over various bugs/chicken pox .

just checked report reckons unauthorised absences 1 was a snow day not sure about other no %.

this year so far i think shes attended every day probably shouldent jinx myself just unsual to get to end term 2.

fairisleknitter Wed 11-Dec-13 10:30:36

cory, it's nice to know an expert agrees that I'm not a "wastrel" because I've had one child who has had a run of childhood diseases. I do think of my child as healthy, just different to the sibling who had hardly anything! That's the unusual child ime.

WaitingForPeterWimsey Wed 11-Dec-13 00:05:44

I agree Cory about absence expectations - I had so many school absences at junior and secondary - countless ear ops, mumps, whooping cough, chicken pox, shingles, broken wrist and then a thyroid problem plus severe anaemia which took a whole year at least to sort and which meant I only attended school in the afternoon for the first year of the gcse course.

I still got good results and no one ever made me or my dm feel bad about any of my absences - she just had to write a note each time.

cory Tue 10-Dec-13 20:44:44

SlicedLemon, I've been posting over the last six or seven years about my awful experiences with dd's junior school (dd is now happily at college), so some schools were already at it a few years ago.

Fortunately, I always found the EWO's far more understanding than the school. If I were the OP, I'd give the EWO a nice cup of tea and get her to sympathise about the awfulness of mumps.

I spoke to a paediatric consultant specialising in immunology and he thought standard expectations of attendance in schools is totally unrealistic given that children's immune systems develop at different rates.

Or to put it another way: it is totally normal for some children to be ill more than 10% of the time during the early years. If the education system can't handle that, then that's tough, but it won't change those children's immune systems.

duchesse Tue 10-Dec-13 20:40:10

They seem to get a bit antsier in the run-up to an inspection, and start requesting notes etc, but the rest of the time they rely on the parents to parent their children adequately -compare and contrast with the state system that appears to presume that all parents are wastrels unless extensively proven otherwise.

pixiepotter Tue 10-Dec-13 20:28:52

But are there any checks (by outside agencies) or could be a child be absent a large percentage of the time just so long as they paid their fees

Ledkr Tue 10-Dec-13 09:23:32

God it's become ridiculous hasn't it?
My friend was recently told that her dd still has to attend school with a migraine "and see how she goes"
Has anyone actually had a migraine who would write that!
The school has a policy if nit sending children home if they are sick too. I've made it clear that if my dd is unwell I'd like to be informed and make a judgement about what she needs.
She was only ill once this term and vomited in a waste bin whilst sitting in reception. Funnily they called me then.
I wonder if it's just a matter of time before a serious Incident occurs in a school due to this over reaction.
In thinking a child becoming seriously ill or worse as a result of medical attention being delayed.

duchesse Tue 10-Dec-13 09:03:51

Intit, but the default position is not to assume that parents are condoning truancy as seems to be the case in so many state schools. They presume that children are absent for good reason (and when you're paying £50+ a day for them to be there, few people would take their children out for spurious reasons.). They just trust the parents to be doing what's best for their child.

I just find this refusal to treat children as individuals really upsetting. I was shock at posters' experiences of being pursued by EWOs while their child was in hospital. I wonder whether once the schools have discharged their statutory duty to alert the EWO, it is off their books so to speak and is therefore some kind of bureaucratic step they have to go through (from their point of view). It's horrible though.

intitgrand Tue 10-Dec-13 08:59:49

Are there no checks on attendance in independent schools?

flatmum Tue 10-Dec-13 08:31:18

Sounds like this has really got out of control in state schools. And in independent schools no one notives or cares, it's just between the parent and the head. I suspect this is all about Ofsted and stats.

overthemill Tue 10-Dec-13 08:14:13

I was threatened with court at a point at which my child was in hospital. It took energy I did not have to sort it out. My dd was and still is seriously ill. She has now been absent from school for the entire term. My crime was to not get copies of medical appointments for school, which I did not have as I book by phone, or copies of prescriptions of which there were none as her illness was not treatable at that pint by drugs. My GP would not issue a letter and so EWO was involved and was super helpful. Child still very ill though which is still a huge worry not helped by stupid school. I was a teacher , now given up cos of sick child, and my DH NHS and we would never keep non sick child off school. System sucks

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