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To think that a school cannot impose restrictions on what parents can do during the school day?

(317 Posts)
crosstraineraddict Thu 04-Oct-12 14:07:01

A friend of mine was telling me about something that has happened at the school where her DCs go. Several times in the past few months, parents have gone out for the day to places over an hour away, to meet friends or go shopping or whatever, and their child has been ill at school, so they've been called and been over an hour getting to the school to pick up their child.

The parents have all apparently had a letter now stating that a parent must be within half an hour of the school at all times during the school day, and that they recommend that at least one parent works locally!

Am I alone in thinking this is bonkers and unfair, not to mention dictatorial!

saintlyjimjams Thu 04-Oct-12 16:18:53

Bonkers, absolutely bonkers....

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 04-Oct-12 16:20:13


HazleNutt Thu 04-Oct-12 16:20:54

Well working locally might not help anyway, not all people are able to answer their mobiles at all times and/or drop everything and rush to the school. Or would those be the next requirements?

When I was younger then in case of emergency, the school would take you to the hospital. If you were just feeling sick and lived too far from school to walk home, you simply had to sit and wait for the schoolbus. We all survived.

Ridiculous demand.

Woozley Thu 04-Oct-12 16:21:08

When DH and I were both working FT we had the childminder 10 minutes away and granny 5 minutes away as a backup, but I know not everyone will have someone available locally, especially if kids go to after school club.

But surely school's responsibility for kids lasts for as long as they are looking after them. If there is a real emergency a member of staff will take the child to hospital - that's why we sign forms for that.

I don't know why schools expect parents to be living in the 1970s.

No, actually I do. Because they are expected to do more, for less money. Therefore, some of the "more" falls to parents, where previously kids would have been looked after by the nurse and in many other examples.

weegiemum Thu 04-Oct-12 16:24:19

I wouldn't mind it so much if they didn't send them home at the drop of a flippin' hat! Several times have brough "sick" child home to find them full of beans. Then they had the gall to write and say they were worried about her attendance!

expatinscotland Thu 04-Oct-12 16:28:29

'I understand that parents need to work and many not locally but I think in those cases it is worth having someone local you trust to pick the child up if necessary.'

What if you don't know anyone who is? In our area, most people work over an hour away each way.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Thu 04-Oct-12 16:28:56

is this a private school - I can't believe a state school would be allowed to issue such a statement. All very well saying a parent should work locally, this assumes there are the right type of jobs for all parents - or should the parents be taking any onld minimum wage job to fulfil the criteria.

Utter Madness

Sidge Thu 04-Oct-12 16:41:24

Oh good grief that's ridiculous.

I only work 10 minutes away from my DDs primary, but 20-45 mins (traffic dependent) from DD1s senior school.

BUT I work in a job where I can't just drop everything and walk out should I need to; obviously I will make arrangements as quickly as possible but I can't just walk out.

Also it can be difficult for some of us to provide many alternative emergency contacts. I have no family in the area and all of my friends work, many of them much further away from the school than me!

NUFC69 Thu 04-Oct-12 16:59:26

I'm older than most of you, I guess, and started school just before the Queen's coronation. We didn't have a phone until I was 22 and no car until I was 17. If you were ill at school, you were ill - that was that. You just stayed in the secretary's office and then went home as usual, ie at primary school you might have been picked up, but junior and high school children made their own way home. In my case, at high school it was a bus journey home. I sometimes wonder what would happen now if parents said that they didn't actually have a mobile phone and couldn't be contacted!

halloweeneyqueeney Thu 04-Oct-12 17:23:53

"'I understand that parents need to work and many not locally but I think in those cases it is worth having someone local you trust to pick the child up if necessary.'

What if you don't know anyone who is? In our area, most people work over an hour away each way"

exactly! like who? our babysitters are nursery nurses or friends who work by day so not them, our friends all work equal distances.. we can't afford to pay a nanny or CM to be "on call" every day just incase...

who are you suggesting we russle up????

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Thu 04-Oct-12 17:30:39

The HT is being unrealistic, but I can see where she's coming from.

So many parents send their children into school when they are unwell, and if you can't get back within a reasonable time, then you need to make some arrangements so that someone can collect your child. It's not very nice for children to be sat feeling or being sick outside the school office for hours, and school receptionists and teachers are not there to provide childcare.

whatinthewhatnow Thu 04-Oct-12 17:35:21

then, outraged, the issue is sending kids to school sick in the first place, not how far away they are.

solidgoldbrass Thu 04-Oct-12 17:35:28

Oh FFS the reason parents send DC into school when DC are a bit off colour is because they can't take any more time off work/can't afford to lose a day's pay/no one else is available to look after the child, so you just have to dose them up with Calpol and cross your fingers they last the day out.

exoticfruits Thu 04-Oct-12 17:37:13

It is unrealistic. DH commuted a long distance, I was often more than an hour away. All we had to do was name a third person as emergency contact.

halloweeneyqueeney Thu 04-Oct-12 17:37:28

Outraged are you really suggesting that anyone LIKES the fact that their child is stuck in school waiting for an hour while poorly??

noone wants that! but there's really nothing that can be done about it if you don't have an abundance of fit and able retired/unemployed relatives down the road!

MammaTJisWearingGold Thu 04-Oct-12 17:40:19

I live a ten minute drive away, but don't drive. I also work nights, so by the time they have woken me, I have at least washed and dressed and waited for the next bus, then walked up to the school from there, then I can take an hour. It has never once been necessary either. Well not at the first school. The college where my DD has been since 13 it was, but they sent someone to get me while the ambulance waited for me to arrive.

ShipwreckedAndComatose Thu 04-Oct-12 17:40:29

I do agree with everything said here. he letters is unreasonable.

out of interest, what would you do if there was an emergency at school and you had no contact who was close at hand to take care of your DC??

halloweeneyqueeney Thu 04-Oct-12 17:47:09

and re sending them.. in the absense of actual vomit or a temperature it's really hard to tell first thing if someone's actually poorly, or if they just don't wanna get out of bed and will be fine once they get going! When both parents are self employed you cannot take many "just incase" days off, anyway 90% of the time its fine and the attendance officer wouldn't be your friend if you kept them off every time they were a bit groggy first thing!

suburbophobe Thu 04-Oct-12 17:52:00

I've never read such a ridiculous school rule (in the OP) before....

In my experience of DCs schools, you always have to give one or two contact people/nrs. in case of emergency.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Thu 04-Oct-12 17:56:26

Whatin, yes, parents sending unwell children into school is the much bigger issue, but it's one that has probably contributed to the head feeling the need to send out such a ridiculous letter. It's something a lot of parents do, and it's wrong. Parents who do that are in no position to complain when head teachers need to remind parents that they have to be available (or find someone else) to collect their sick children.

prettybird Thu 04-Oct-12 17:57:17

Our schools (both primary and secondary) ask for an alternative emergency contact.

If you provide a mobile number and if, by unfortunate circumstance, both you and the emergency contact are unavailable when an emergency arises, then it's up to you (not the school) to sort out an alternative solution on that occasion.

But equally, it is not up to the school to dictate what you do during the day.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 04-Oct-12 17:58:34

The HT is being an idiot. S/he should have asked for each child to have an alternative contact, of course. I was the alternative for one of DDs classmates - after the mother realised that sometimes her DH was abroad and she was several hours away, they both had jobs that entailed travel, and they had no family close by.

NopofacehaveI Thu 04-Oct-12 18:00:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Prarieflower Thu 04-Oct-12 18:16:00

At our school you have to send them unless there has been d&v.Ds had been sick at the weekend(bug going round) and dd had a tummy ache.I ran to enquire and they said to still send her.

My kids never look ill and always battle on without moaning until the last minute.

You can't win.Send em in ill and you're heartless,keep them off incase and you're letting them have too many days off school.confused

TheBuskersDog Thu 04-Oct-12 18:22:08

"A child with a fever can easily be given some calpol and stay in a comfy place somewhere.
Or if sick, then be looked after the school nurse."

Schools cannot just give calpol to children. State primary schools do not have a nurse hanging around in case a child is ill, the point is there is no one there to look after sick children.

Regarding parents sending in children who are ill, it is perfectly reasonable to send in a child who says they are feeling a bit off colour but being prepared to collect if they feel worse later in the day - 9 times out of 10 they are fine. What many parents do is send in a child who has vomited, all schools have policies regarding diarrhoea and/or vomiting -usually that the pupil (or staff member) should stay away from school for 24/48 hours (depending on school) after the last episode.

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