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To think to be called in is OTT

(31 Posts)
Lifegoeson Wed 26-Feb-14 11:45:56

So ds teacher asked me to pop to the office to speak to school secretary after I had dropped him off, apparently headteacher would like to see me due to ds low attendance - quote - 'we have to be seen to be doing something'.

Ds attended school for first 2 terms without abscence which I was quite surprised about - but then the bugs kicked! He has the certificates for this - a whole other thread as 5 year olds don't get to decide if they go to school!

I feel it's a waste of mine and the HT time, what am I supposed to say?! He was sick, what can I say! We are talking about approx 5 separate incidents of abscence btw - 2 of when I was too ill to get him to school - which I explained too.

SpottyDottie Wed 26-Feb-14 11:53:43

If I've read your op correctly, 3 times he was ill and 2 times you were and couldn't get him to school. Is that right? Maybe the HT wants to address those 2 times because, without sounding too harsh, your child needs to go to,school if he is well enough. There have been times I've felt terribly ill but had to get my DC to school. Sorry, op.

Impatientismymiddlename Wed 26-Feb-14 11:55:39

How long was each separate incidence of absence?

TitsalinaBumSquash Wed 26-Feb-14 11:57:52


If the OP is for instance a lone parent, she might have no family or friends near by to do a school run, what if she wakes up with such bad d&v that she physically cannot move more than a few steps away from the bathroom without one or the otter occurring?

The school is a 10 minute drive away.

How is she getting her child to school?

OP, I think it is OTT but all you can do is be honest, state the reasons he was off, let them offer a suitable action plan to try and help (if another occurrence of your illness prevents him from coming in) it's all you can do really, at least then you're being seen to be co operating. wink

SpottyDottie Wed 26-Feb-14 11:59:51

Titsalina I appreciate that but in my experience, and I don't have a great circle of friends!, I could ring another mum and ask if they'd help. I did apologise to the op for asking.

TitsalinaBumSquash Wed 26-Feb-14 12:02:56

I wasn't having a go at you, it was a genuine question. I only asked because I've been in that situation with literally no one to ask, not having contact details of other parents. It's a situation where I've always thought there should be something set up somewhere to help. I'm not sure what or where though! smile

Impatientismymiddlename Wed 26-Feb-14 12:03:35

I couldn't ring any other mums because we live 5 miles from school and nobody who I am familiar with lives on our route. But I always keep £20 in the house so I can put my child in a taxi to school if something unexpected happens. He is a little older than the OPs child though, but I know there are a couple of reception /yr 1 aged kids who get a taxi home from school each day.

Lifegoeson Wed 26-Feb-14 12:04:28

Thank you for responding.

Spottie - really?? I have been physically unable to get up, get me, ds and 9mth old ds ready, also bearing in mind picking him up later too.

Impatient - between 1 - 4 days.

Titsallina - that's it in a nutshell!

susyot Wed 26-Feb-14 12:07:27

If you have already have 5 incidences of absence at this point in the term then your child's attendance rate has most likely dropped below the acceptable threshold. Schools are legally obliged to monitor this.

Whilst you may consider this to a waste of time the school do have to be seen to be doing something. Personally I would prefer a quick informal chat with the head rather than a standard template letter.

The idea is that a certain level of absence can be an indication of problems - the school can not just ignore it. If the school doesn't have action plans in place or doesn't apply those action plans then it will go against them during an ofstead inspection.

I would consider this just to be a formality but it's not OTT, 5 periods of absence is quite a lot at this point.

WottaTheOdds Wed 26-Feb-14 12:08:36

You have my sympathy honestly Life but in the circumstances you describe at 12.04, surely you wouldn't have been capable of looking after the children at all...what happens then?

SpottyDottie Wed 26-Feb-14 12:10:37

I replied based on your Op! you said 2 times he hadn't gone in because you couldn't take him. The school my DC go to positively frowns on this. So I have had to consider what to do if I'm poorly.

TitsalinaBumSquash Wed 26-Feb-14 12:10:53

I called every taxi company in the town but all of them refused to escort my children to school without a chaperone.

Impatientismymiddlename Wed 26-Feb-14 12:16:14

Between 1 and 4 days on five separate occasions is quite a lot of absence and would trigger alarm bells for the school.
I do understand that it is impossible to get your child to school in certain circumstances when you are ill (severe d&v for example), but what did you do with the children if you were unable to get out of bed?
I'm also not sure why the taxi firms said that your child would need a chaperone as that isn't required where I live unless the child has a learning disability, but different areas must have different rules.
How far do you live from school and how far do other family members / friends live?

SpottyDottie Wed 26-Feb-14 12:17:32

This is AIBU......I have nothing further to add except to say go and see the HT, Life and explain all that you have said here. Don't think of it as a waste of time.

DaenerysTargaryensDragonBaby Wed 26-Feb-14 12:21:50

I don't quite understand 'too ill to take children to school' situation.

Surely you get up, take them and then go back to bed?

I've never come across anyone keeping their child off school because they didn't feel well?

What has been wrong that you physically can't get out of bed, and who looked after the children on these occasions?

apieceofcake Wed 26-Feb-14 12:25:23

you never know the head may have some practical suggestions about how you can put back up plans in place - parent groups etc... we always used to keep contact lists for the whole year & also have a good idea of who else lived your way if you were ever in need. most people would help out as they may need help in the future.

i'm surprised though that you say you were surprised your dc wasn;t absent sooner ... yes things do do the rounds but my experience was most children went most of the time - definately right of the head to be concerned if there are signs of repeated absence

Lifegoeson Wed 26-Feb-14 12:26:46

Thanks again all.

Happy to pop in to see HT so will be cooperating. As for looking them, it was a case of lying on sofa with sick bowl and providing snacks, it was all I could do to keep them alive!

School is 5 mins away but new to area and know no other parents, no family nearby. I didn't realise it was quite a lots of abscences - bearing in mind attended every day for first 3 terms.

DaenerysTargaryensDragonBaby Wed 26-Feb-14 12:30:17

FWIW it does sound like a huge amount of absence, DS has been at school for 5 years and has been off less than that.

In fact he's only had 4 days off (2 single days and one 2-day) in the whole 5 years.

I really think you do need to re-evaluate your plans for when you are sick. The DC should not miss school because a parent is sick. You get up and take them. If this is physically impossible, then you need to have a known person to call on (neighbour, other parents from the school etc).

miaowmix Wed 26-Feb-14 12:30:24

I don't really understand what you mean about being surprised your child wasn't absent for the first 2 terms? It's not usual to be absent. I think DD (yr 2) has had 1 day off in 3 years?
Plus what are the chances that you have no friends nearby and are too ill yourself to get the kids to school... there must be someone you can call on? Wouldn't it be normal for other parents to live nearby at primary level?
Genuine questions btw, my daughter is at local state school in London and therefore there are probably about 20 people I could call on if I needed to in this situation.
I'm not sure if you have a partner, or some kind of chronic illness, in which case I can imagine it would be tricky. But the school has a duty to point out excessive absences...

DoJo Wed 26-Feb-14 12:55:54

But surely they have called you in to discuss how you can minimise non-attendance, in which case you can ask if they have any suggestions for what you can do if you're not well enough to take him. You can't send him in when he is ill, but you can make sure he has a way to get to school if he is well enough - that would reduce the incidents of absence by 40% which is a big plus for the school and you. There might be a teacher who drives past your house and could pick him up on the odd occasion, or they might know of a local childminder who would do a one-off collection and drop off for you if you were in dire straits. They are probably expecting you to work with them to find ways to make sure your son can get to school whenever possible.

LittleprincessinGOLDrocks Wed 26-Feb-14 12:58:48

I would use it as an opportunity to discuss if their is a system in place to help get your child in to school when you are too ill. It may be that they can help you organise a taxi and have a member of staff that can meet your child as he arrives in taxi.
Or they may have other options which it is worth exploring.

School have to do these meetings. It allows them to see whether they can help improve your childs attendance by putting systems in to place.

AllThatGlistens Wed 26-Feb-14 12:59:20

That is quite a lot of absence, it's normal to attend every day each term (not including a child's sickness obviously!)

I would definitely have some arrangements in place for your child to get to school if you are feeling ill though, much better for them to be in school and surely better for you so that you can rest.

Littlefish Wed 26-Feb-14 13:03:57

Before you go to the HT, have a think about what you would do next time you were ill so that you are going to see them with possibly solutions to your ds's low attendance. Are you saying that he had between 1 and 4 days sickness on 5 occasions over a 6 week period (Christmas to half term?) If so, that is between 4 and 20 days off out of a possible 30 school days (6 week half term). Apologies if I've got the timescales wrong - perhaps you could correct me.

Presumably you are on the playground every day? Are there any parents you talk to on the playground?

It's important to have some kind of back up plan as you need to ensure your ds gets to school every day. It's simply not ok for him to stay at home because you are feeling unwell.

Perhaps you could speak to the classteacher and find out which other parents live near you?

Is there a childminder who offers an ad-hoc service?

Viviennemary Wed 26-Feb-14 13:09:02

I think you have to have some arrangements in place to make sure your child attends school when you are too ill to take him. And if you're too ill to take him to school you will need the break and rest. I think most people drag themselves out of bed and stagger to school if they can't get anybody. Your child must attend school when he's well. Five times off absent in a single term is quite a lot.

BumpyGrindy Wed 26-Feb-14 13:13:18

OP you need some support in your life. I suggest that you ask your Health Visitor about it...there is a charity which can offer support such as you need...and they're very good from the things other MNrs have said. You can't go on like this....if there is really nobody who might pick up and drop off then you need something else in place.

I have two DC in school and in 8 years of it I have never been too ill to get them back went once and I still got them there! I couldn't walk! I was literally bent seem to be minimizing what is actually a lot of time off.

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