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To send this reply to letter about attendance from school

(217 Posts)
FamilarSting Thu 10-Apr-14 17:33:02

Today I received a letter from school about the attendance of my 5 year old. She has had 6 days off school since January (4 of those were last week - she had a throat infection) and had perhaps another 3 from September - December but the letter doesn't mention those.
This is the letter I received and I will paste my reply. I'd appreciate thoughts on if my reply is too OTT, or rude etc. But to be honest, I am furious and want the letter to convey a certain level of how annoyed I am.

Would I be unreasonable to send this reply?


10th April 2014

Dear Parents of X

Here at X Primary School we take attendance very seriously.

In the Home School Agreement you signed to say you will ensure your child attends regularly and on time. I would like to bring to your attention that X's attendance this term is below the school average. I would like to see some improvement next term.

Please find below the summary from the school register with is recorded with X Education Authority.

(table showing she's had 12 'sessions' off out of a possible 124 which is equal to 90.32% attendance, 0 of those being unauthorized)

Yours faithfully

X (Headteacher)

(all typed, nothing signed)


Dear Mr X,

I am sorry that you find X’s attendance so troubling. However, I as a parent find her health more important than keeping above your school’s average attendance statistics. I do ensure my child attends school regularly and on time. Unfortunately she has had several periods of illness this year involving very high fevers. I myself was aware of how frequently she has been off school, and so on Monday 1st April, I sent her to school despite her having a fever. She was subsequently sent home from school and spent a week rather ill at home with a throat infection. I can acquire a Doctor’s note about this if required.

As your letter states, X’s 12 sessions absent from school were always authorized and I always made sure to inform school as to what was happening.

I would also like X’s attendance to improve, but not at the expense of sending her to school with a high fever so that she can feel miserable all day.

When X has been unwell at home, in between doses of paracetamol to bring down her fevers, and when she has felt up to it, we have made sure to do extra practice of her reading books and letter sounds etc.

I and her class teacher feel she is doing well in school and I do not feel these absences have had much negative impact on her studies at her reception class level. If this is not the case, or if these days off have caused her teacher to have to spend extra time in helping her to catch up then I apologise, but I suspect this is not the case.

I find the tone and impersonal quality of the letter I received quite frustrating. You may take attendance very seriously, but perhaps you might like to look at the overall picture of the child; her performance at school, and perhaps the possibility that she might have been unlucky enough to be ill several times in the winter months, amounting to 6 days off school.

X will be taking four days absence next term in order to visit family in Norway.

I will no longer concern myself about whether this being marked as unauthorized might upset your records, as if doing the best we can as per the ‘Home School Agreement’ is not good enough, then I doubt anything will be.

Yours Sincerely


pinkdelight Thu 10-Apr-14 17:34:59

It's a standard letter they have to send out. Have a search on here, there's lots of similar threads.

NurseyWursey Thu 10-Apr-14 17:36:00

I think it'd be more effective if you get rid of paragraphs 2-5, keep it short sweet and to the point.

To be honest though this is just the policy they have to follow. They probably realise how annoying it is.

TheDoctorsNewKidneys Thu 10-Apr-14 17:37:18

Why bother? It's a standard letter that's edited to put your child's statistics/attendance in there.

They have to send them when absence dips below a certain percent. It's not their choice, it's law.

WooWooOwl Thu 10-Apr-14 17:39:25

I don't think you need to reply, but if you want to, I wouldn't include the bits about what your do with your dd at home and her progress etc. They will not be interested because it makes no difference to them, they care about attendance not progress, and it's none of their business anyway.

I also can't understand why you would want to antagonise them with telling them you are going to be taking a holiday to Norway.

onetiredmummy Thu 10-Apr-14 17:39:37

I love it but then I can be quite ahem, direct.

I'd take out the final paragraph about the unauthorised absence as it makes you lose the moral ground somewhat and IMO is confrontational.

The rest is fine. I like it very much smile

Floralnomad Thu 10-Apr-14 17:40:18

I think your response is way OTT ,theirs is a standard letter ,just ignore .

Pipbin Thu 10-Apr-14 17:40:32

First, don't send the letter, it makes you sound like an arse. Go and have a talk to the head in person. I would question why they are unauthorised absences though.

Secondly, when did she turn 5? I ask because, as I'm sure you know, she is only compulsory school age from the term after she turns 5. So the % figure might look bad when really her attendance is OK. I had a child in my class who I had to put on his report that his attendance was poor because there had only been 1/2 a term between him turning 5 and the report I was writing and for a week of that he was off with chicken pox.

KepekCrumbs Thu 10-Apr-14 17:40:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CoffeeTea103 Thu 10-Apr-14 17:40:45

Your letter smacks of sarcasm and a bit of arrogance on your part. Is that really necessary? It's a standard letter, don't you feel it's better they query a child's absence rather than not? Yabu.

sonlypuppyfat Thu 10-Apr-14 17:40:46

I can't put into words how much schools piss me off.

CoffeeTea103 Thu 10-Apr-14 17:41:05

I meant your response not your letter.

Brittapieandchips Thu 10-Apr-14 17:41:13

I just throw these letters in the bin. If they have a genuine issue with my child staying off ill from the school that she left home education to go to anyway they can talk to me about it and I am more than happy to discuss the situation. It is very annoying.

As it is, the letters are a misguided centrally issued waste of time and money. I have no idea who they think will pay attention - the neglectful parents won't care, the mumsnetty parents will write angry letters and grumble and the parents bothered by a letter will send poorly kids in to spread germs about.

tripecity Thu 10-Apr-14 17:41:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sparechange Thu 10-Apr-14 17:42:14

It is a bit OTT.

I love the idea that all students should have above average attendance though hmm

What about just replying, asking for suggestions on how to improve her attendance next term, and can they confirm they are happy for her to come in ill in the future.

parakeet Thu 10-Apr-14 17:42:53

Then they should alter their standard letter so it isn't rude. This sentence >>I would like to see some improvement next term.<< in written communication from one adult to another is rude.

Plus, how ridiculous to criticise a child's attendance for being below average. I would add a sentence to your reply pointing out that simple maths means that 50 per cent of the children are going to have below-average attendance, and that in itself is certainly not proof that you are somehow at fault.

I would change your letter to remove the offer of getting a doctor's note too. Why waste your GP's time with this guff? You may well be charged for it too.

Floggingmolly Thu 10-Apr-14 17:43:44

Don't be so fecking arsey hmm. Your child has 90% attendance, the school have followed procedure by sending you the standard letter.
20 years ago you'd probably have had a visit from the truant officer...

longtallsally2 Thu 10-Apr-14 17:45:22

It was probably satisfying to write your reply, but it probably isn't worth sending. It won't change anything. (That will only be achieved by voting for someone sensible who will introduce education reforms.)

There have been folks on MN with children with serious illnesses and disabilities who have received similar, cold, unfeeling letters.

The Head is following A System.

If you do need to reply I would ditch the last 3 paragraphs. They get a bit emotive. The rest is entirely reasonable. (Definitely don't mention the holiday in term time - you know you will probably be fined for that, dontcha?)

elahrairahforprimeminister Thu 10-Apr-14 17:46:03

I think you should send it.

I has one for DS once (impacted bowel) and just made the hmm face and chucked it out.

They saw my lack of response as a 'go ahead' when it comes to sending me patronising letters.

WELL DONE for getting DS to school. *CONGRATULATIONS on your attendance. THANK YOU for SUPPORTING us on this IMPORTANT matter.

Sometimes I even get a 'Great Attendance' sticker.


He's not had a day off for over a year but I still get the letters.


diddl Thu 10-Apr-14 17:47:21

I wouldn't bother, you come across as a bit ridiculous imo.

It is a standard letter, but really could schools not use a bit of sense-they must know that OPs daughter has been ill FFS!

PaulinesPen Thu 10-Apr-14 17:48:12

I like your letter and think you should send

If anyone says oh well it was just a standard letter that was sent, then say that is your standard reply.

ACatCalledColin Thu 10-Apr-14 17:48:54

Sometimes I even get a 'Great Attendance' sticker.

You or your son?

Nennypops Thu 10-Apr-14 17:48:54

I think you need to reply, even though it is just a standard form automatic letter, because otherwise it goes on your child's file and looks bad if it's just there on its own - at the very least you need something on file with it to put the record straight. However, I agree you don't need to put in the stuff about what she does at home when she is off, and you definitely shouldn't mention the holiday in Norway. I would suggest you point out that when your child has a fever it may well be infectious, and you assume they don't want her spreading infections to all the other kids not least because that would mess up their attendance stats even more

3littlefrogs Thu 10-Apr-14 17:49:24

You will get lots of these computer generated letters in years to come.
Ignore them, unless the figures or statements are incorrect.

HerRoyalNotness Thu 10-Apr-14 17:50:45

Why can't the set a filter so the program spits out letters for UNauthorised absence only. They know why she has been off. Seems like a waste of time and postage on their part.

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