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New school threatening EWO referral.

(116 Posts)
Givemeallthechocolate Sat 04-Mar-17 19:05:33

Sorry that this will be long, but ive been worrying since yesterday when DD came home from school.
It was a letter referring to DDs very low attendance at school, it says she will be monitored for three weeks and if no improvement is made then they will make a referral to EWO officer.

This is a fairly new school, and DD has had a lot of time off, but every single absence she has had has been completely unavoidable, that being said it has been a really unfortunate year,

The first four weeks of the school year DD went back to school and was constantly sent home for having tummy troubles. She complained of Diahorrea or pain and they would call me and send her home, which completely butchered any chances of having good attendance.
It got to the point where I had arranged with the school that I would go in and give painkillers, but she just couldnt keep coming home. I was constantly getting called from appointments to dispense painkillers, then sometimes go and collect her. it turned out to be friendship problems (i did take her to the drs several times about this)

Then there are the recurrent throat infections. she has had 9 throat infections in the past year. which has meant time off for appointments. its not always possible to get appointments after school, I dont tend to keep her off unless her condition is considered to be quite bad, IE fever/ not having slept because of her throat/ not eating.

then off the top of my head ive kept her off twice because of vomiting.

Then we moved in December, she attended her old school until the day they broke up for christmas. After the school holidays it took me a week to get the form for her to change school, proof of address and get her enrolled into a school. The form arrived at our house, the next day we viewed schools, the next day she started this current school.

Since starting this school she had a really bad throat infection which she had a few days off with, I got Dd ready for school and they refused her in because she had taken painkillers, they told me that she could come back once she no longer required painkillers. which was a further 3 days, so a week.

the 2 absences for sickness.

2 Drs appointments- both of which she had been given antibiotics to take.

1 funeral, which I took her out for half of an afternoon for.

Ive done all I can to ensure DD attends school. I send her in armed with antibiotics. I dont take her to Drs unnecessarily. Ive communicated with the school, and I think the fact that i made her available at a time that they thought she was too unwell shows this.

But ive now received this letter. It made me feel very much like they view it as im just not bothered to wake up and get DD to school, which is not the case.
If Dd is home from school we try to go onto learning websites and I try to ensure she reads more than she usually does. She tends to make her way through a book each week, like david walliams, Roald dahl, or wimpy kid.

How do I deal with this? I feel like ive been judged as a bad mum.

Ive written a letter explaining that I understand the implications of low attendance on both education and social paramaters, but these missed attendances have all been within the remit of their sickness procedures, Ive kept in contact with the school at all times, and I have even made DD available to return to school at times they deemed too soon.

Then to explain that the reason for many of DDs days off is that she has recurrent throat infections, which has required no less than 9 sets of antibiotics within the past 12 months, and if they would really like to support us in ensuring DD attends school more regularly that they might like to write a letter to GP/ ENT to explain the effect on DDs education and that the sooner they can get her tonsils out the better. Preferably before the start of the new school year.

Then to also say that whilst it wouldnt help to ensure that attendance goes up, but would ensure less educational struggles, if they could signpost me to where I can figure out what is best for me and DD to try and work through on the days that she is off.

Ive possibly taken this far too personally, and I may be too het up about this, but I really am quite offended. Ive sent them letters explaining exactly why DD hasnt been at school. they know that there are some medical issues. They give her antibiotics. so its not like im taking DD out of school for no reason.

Its just scary, and upsetting.

I dont know how to handle this. I just feel like theres an insinuation that I dont care about her education, when I really, really do.

Givemeallthechocolate Sat 04-Mar-17 19:13:57

I dont know if I should send the letter, I dont want to come across as over offended and nutty.

Sundance01 Sat 04-Mar-17 19:16:19

I would not worry to much a referral to ewo is similar to a safeguarding referral - the school is passing it over to someone else to assess. They do not consider how devastating the referral is for the family or how it will irretrievably destroy the school/family relationship.

I would assume if an ewo comes round and gets the evidence for your daughters absences that you have described they will take no further action - although they may monitor the situation

They may actually be able to tell the school to back off. The school are predominantly interested in their absence figures - the ewo priority will be your daughter and what is actually happening.

irvineoneohone Sat 04-Mar-17 19:25:27

Agree with Sundance

I think if you have genuine reason, don't worry too much about it. Just collect as much evidence as you can, like appointment card, prescription for anti- biotics, etc anything.

I have a child with chronic illness who's attendance was really low. But never had trouble with school. Kept copy of everything, and just hand it over to school for evidence before even been asked.

MaisyPops Sat 04-Mar-17 19:31:45

It's triggered statistically.
Ive had students get attendance hearings vecause of patterns of absence and nothing came of it because it was just bad luck.
Equally, I've had student attendance leading to parents being fined and facing court because they keep them off for any old thing (best one was the child was 'tired') and/or they simply let the kid stay off.

I'll be honest, the absense that was really friendship issues has probably pushed you under the threshold. Explain thats sorted abd you're following up medical issues and you'll be fine.

Worth remembering for the thread 90% attendance is missing a day a fortnight. 80% is missing one day a week (which is why hearing people like that man who made a fuss about his holidays and his kids amazing 90% attendance drive me mad).

Givemeallthechocolate Sat 04-Mar-17 20:08:33

yes Sundance, it is devastating, to me anyway. I feel very judged by them. I dont know what proof I can really gather. I didnt really expect this. Do i try and obtain a copy of medical records? I have taken photos of the last few prescriptions before taking them to get antibiotics.

irvineoneohane, the school have seen the antibiotics, I know they photocopied the box of the second set. Ive not really kept proof of everything. the dr appointments have all been on the phone for the same day. been really silly not collecting these things. but I think if I try and obtain medical records or something that I would be able to prove it.

Maisypops, thats mad! they kept their child off because they were tired?! DD stays off if shes been up in the night in pain (rarity that it is but happened recently, which would cause tiredness but not normal tiredness) I will be honest and say that DDs attendance is currently under 80% which makes me feel like complete crap. that makes it 1 and a bit days off per week... damn.

to make us even more unlucky. for the first and only time, we have booked a holiday within the school year, which was booked 15 months in advance, which im realising that even if by miracle DD managed to dodge any absences in the next 3 months, we would still probably fall below the 90% (I do plan on trying to keep up with the school work when we are away)

KittyVonCatsington Sat 04-Mar-17 20:15:04

The term time holiday puts a different spin on things-I had sympathy up till that point.

Givemeallthechocolate Sat 04-Mar-17 20:31:16

KittyVonCatsington, Completely understandable. I didnt know that this year DDs health was going to be so bad. Things have taken a turn for the worse, definitely since we booked.
though like id said before, never have taken a holiday in term. Never have actually had a holiday if im honest. This is going to also be the only time we ever would. as DD is in year 4, anything after this year seems to be quite crucial in terms of SATs and GCSEs... just being completely honest about everything.

irvineoneohone Sat 04-Mar-17 21:17:49

Gp should have all the evidence if it come to that point that you need to show the proof. Hopefully it won't come to that!

I would cancel the holiday, if I were you, tbh.

AHedgehogCanNeverBeBuggered Sat 04-Mar-17 21:32:59

I would also cancel the holiday - if it does go to court eventually you'll definitely be fined for it (it's a lot of money) and really your DD can't afford to miss any more school if her attendance is already under 80%.

WorraLiberty Sat 04-Mar-17 21:34:06

I was just going to say don't worry about the EWO, as you'll just be telling them everything you've told us. They can also be really helpful too.

But now you've mentioned the holiday, I'd say you will definitely get fined at least.

Givemeallthechocolate Sat 04-Mar-17 21:59:51

I knew I'd possibly need to skip the holiday. 12 months of planning and saving to go to Disney. But seeing how this year's gone. Probably for the best.

SpangledShambles Sat 04-Mar-17 22:55:04

I've been somewhat similar situation though different causes. The EWO was triggered automatically as the school is answerable to the council and has a duty to report high unattendance whatever the reason. I felt devastated and judged too, but once EWO came round I found her a huge support. She didn't 'mark' us negatively- in fact she supported us and kind of advocated for us to the school. A great resource for genuinely struggling parents and kids like we were and you are. Take any help that's offered IME! Good luck with it all, I totally know what you're going through.

ShoeEatingMonster Sat 04-Mar-17 23:53:24

Sorry but I don't understand how it took you so long to change schools. Presumably you knew you were planning on moving so should have had it sorted.

Givemeallthechocolate Sun 05-Mar-17 00:26:52

Wow. Some posts aren't very helpful are they?
As if it doesn't read like I feel like shit enough.
I've not done anything wrong, I've had a child who's gone from one health thing to another over the past school year, if I'm not worrying about medications and drs appointments I'm worrying about the school, and normal life.

I come here for a bit of support and I'm told that I pretty much deserve no empathy because I'd booked a holiday 15 months ago that I'm quite certain I'll have to cancel anyway. Probably seems quite frivolous eh? Its the first time I've been able to take my DD away in her nine years of life.

Oh and then how it took a week to change schools whilst moving, waiting for a rental agreement, and the forms to arrive via post, plus find schools and view in an area I don't even know. But I'm in the wrong! Obviously! Stick the knife in some more!

Wow. I'd like to hope I'm a bit more empathetic than some of you witches.

Thanks anyone who did offer a bit of support. Duly noted and I'm really thankful.

You other two witches. Go Fuck yourselves.

PuddleJumper01 Sun 05-Mar-17 00:37:14

I'm reading this through goggles, so please forgive me being nasty, but I work in a school and attendance is very important to OFSTED, so schools HAVE to do their best to make sure the kids turn up in time for register every day; and your posts remind me of a particular parent. There's ALWAYS a reason. ALWAYS an excuse. It's ALWAYS bullshit

It is your parental responsibility to make sure your kids get the education the law entitles them to have.

And I have a child with chronic illness who's attendance was really low. But never had trouble with school. No, lovely.. the school didn't hassle you because you clearly have a reason why. They hassle the OTHER parents because their "reasons" are actually 'excuses'. If you have a proper reason, the school won't hassle you.

Children who turn up achieve better in school.

PuddleJumper01 Sun 05-Mar-17 00:39:21

sorry, cross posted with your update.

Yeah, you're an "excuses" not a "reason" person. Send your kids to school, and then all the aggro will just go away.

Oblomov17 Sun 05-Mar-17 00:43:38

You knew you were moving but hadn't investigated schools? Hadn't contacted them? Really?

Givemeallthechocolate Sun 05-Mar-17 00:44:09

Puddle jumper- they sent DD home when I tried to bring her in not two weeks ago. I had medication with us. They asked if she had painkillers that morning. I said yes. They told me she had to go home. I didn't want to take bet home because I'm concerned about her attendance. Receptionist double checked. She was to go home and not come back until painkillers were not required anymore.
No excuses from me at all. I want DD in school. The drs can confirm that DD has seen him whenever I've said she has. She's had 4 sets of antibiotics in less than 3 months. School has seen these.

m0therofdragons Sun 05-Mar-17 00:44:26

You clearly have internet access so why wait for forms to arrive? Most parents would look to start a child in a new school immediately after moving unless running from dv.

Re illness, I used to get throat infections all the time as an early teen and it's still my stress point. Is it actually her tonsils? It wasn't mine which is why it would have been pointless having them out. I'd give pain relief before school if she had symptoms and strepsils or similar in her bag (check for age appropriate ones).

Unfortunately you have a mix of bad luck, poor management (a dc with regular stomach pains with no medical explanation is often friendship issues but school should also have known that), and being disorganised has led to a referral. I would be honest, learn from errors (hindsight is always a wonderful thing) and listen to advice. Be honest re holiday and see what they say. I find it hard to believe that it's the first time you've taken dd away in 9 years, you're off to Disney and you plan to make her do school work but and in all honesty so will they.

Dd is year 4 and it's a worrying pattern. The more dc are off school the more likely they are to feel socially excluded and develop anxiety so authorities need to check everything is okay. Make sure you speak to your doctor and get him/her to back you up with the facts.

My friend's dd was referred because the head didn't believe her when she said her dd was unwell - her dd was on life support!

Givemeallthechocolate Sun 05-Mar-17 00:48:36

Oblomov- yes I'd researched schools. I'd contacted them. I was initially told that I shouldn't view until forms had been sent in but I didn't know my way around, or even which was closest school DD couldn't get into. Many of the good ones local were very oversubscribed.

m0therofdragons Sun 05-Mar-17 00:54:43

But once you moved in you magically awoke one morning knowing which schools were where?

Go on Rightmove and find a house for sale near your location and click for school info would be a start. It just doesn't make sense and maybe you were badly informed but didn't you for one second wonder how the thousands of other parents who move mid school year manage it or did you assume they all faff about too?

maggiecate Sun 05-Mar-17 00:57:13

It will be an automatic trigger; they'll have a process that they follow in this situation. If they do it for everyone and then let the EWO make the call as to whether there's an issue or not then parents can't complain it's one rule the them, another for someone else. They need to be seen to be consistent and to be taking it seriously. You need to be seen to be co-operative and doing everything you can to support the process whilst not endangering your daughter's health or risking the other pupils getting an infection.
If your daughter has an ongoing problem with her tonsils that means she's likely to be absent again it's good that they are on it and can support with work you can do at home. The worst thing you can do is get defensive or be offended. And would you want your daughter at a school where they weren't concerned about her welfare?
But given this issues she's had the holiday probably isn't realistic - she's missed too much to be taking any more time.

Givemeallthechocolate Sun 05-Mar-17 01:02:52

Mother of dragons. You are right.
I couldn't do the form online. I just couldn't. The form was fine. It was an issue with me. I tried to do it s few times, but get nervous with forms anyway.
I knew there were friendship issues, but DD refused to tell what was going on. I didn't know how to deal with it. I spoke to the teacher, I sent her to school. She kept getting sent home.
Honestly, we've never been away. I did intend on doing homework, maybe foolishly, but that was the intention but so was 100% attendance this year.

Yes it's also her tonsils, they almost meet in the middle, v similar to me. Luckily I got far far less when they took my tonsils out. Drs have finally referred for her to have them out, which will be more time off but it's another thing I can't really change.

I am worried for her too. I worry that she will struggle to make friends, I worry for her education, but I also worry that as an adult she may struggle to "fit" if she's so used to being unwell and at home now. I how they get her tonsils out soon and it's all over with.

Do isn't allowed in school if she needs to have painkillers that day. I don't know here that rule comes from.

Givemeallthechocolate Sun 05-Mar-17 01:10:30

Mother of dragons.
No. If you'd like, I'll send you my postcode. You will see that every school that comes up either says out of my intake area or that it was over subscribed.

I spent a great deal of time looking for schools. A great deal!

I live in a new development, no new schools etc. So the closest ones are all oversubscribed. I also live in an area where they used the 3 tier system but are moving into primary and upper. I was specifically looking for a primary school so DD could settle in and not change schools at the end of the year. So it wasn't as simple as picking a school.

I also read up all of the local primary schools ofsted reports to try and gauge where DD would fit in best.

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