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Attendance, school and threatened with prosecution!

(37 Posts)
user15262093 Tue 11-Apr-17 18:49:56

Im so angry at DC school. Basically, my dd has had a few sick days off school. She has sen and a lot of sensory issues and communication issues and can't always tell me if theres something wrong. She will sometimes be sick and I'm not sure if its a bug or if its sensory related and maybe 2/3 times have kept her home because of this. Also earlier in the year she was supposed to be transported to and from her sen school, but due to budget cuts this was stopped (and then reinstated due to the impact it was having on my dd and the fact there was no other physical way to get her there!) During this time her attendance suffered and i had a meeting with a truancy offer (her attendance at the time was 94%) and i explained the reasons etc and the women was a bit stuck up but said thats fine, any further absences need to be documented. Anyway, fast forward to now and due to having a couple of stomach bugs her attendance dropped down to 91%. I have been sent a letter stating they are referring me to an attendance board and could be prosecuted!!! Her attendance isn't even below 90%! I am aware 91% is far from ideal but if you take out the absences from the beginning of the year due to the transport her attendance would be around 96%! I am so angry and I'm going to write a letter to this lady explaining all of this but just feel so angry and upset and stressed over the whole situation. I value my childs education deeply hence me fighting for 8 months for her to get a placement in this school, and every single report from specialists and the school itself praise me as an involved and supportive parent who only wants the best for her childs education! I cannot afford to get any sort of criminal conviction in my line of work and feel so angry, iv never been fined, or taken my child out for a holiday or anything like that! i don't know what else to do but I'm so stressed and worried and i can't even speak to anyone as its the easter holidays!

NabobsFromNobHill Tue 11-Apr-17 18:50:57

It's just a pro forma letter, nobody is prosecuting you. Calm down.

user15262093 Tue 11-Apr-17 18:51:54

When she's been sick iv only kept her off for that day and one day after- as stated in their attendance guide! She is in a sen school with children who have compromised immune systems and i wouldnt send my child to school sick anyway! When she is home I'm pretty much housebound due to her sen so I'm not keeping her home for anything other than a legitimate reason!

BastardBernie Tue 11-Apr-17 19:01:16

They have to send you the letter, it's not just to you, hundreds of parents got that exact letter.

wowbutter Tue 11-Apr-17 19:09:36

Right, let me explain something.
From an offsted point of view if there is a child with under 95% attendance, they have to be able to demonstrate letters that they have explained to the parent that attendance is important, prosecution could happen.
Please get off your high horse, calm down, and look at it as a tick box exercise.
I have done shool attendance, and I didn't want to send those letters, but I had to. Ignore it and carry on.
You will not be prosecuted or fined.

user15262093 Tue 11-Apr-17 19:19:57

Please don't tell me to get off my high horse! I take these type of things seriously and the LA shouldn't send out these type of letters to parents who already have enough on their plate without this to worry about on top! Its quite clear to the school that i take my childs education seriously and therefore it shouldn't be an 'automatic' type of thing but should be looked at on an individual basis. I feel a bit better to know that hopefully nothing will come off it, but just worried now incase she's poorly again and i will have no choice but to send her into school!

CauliflowerSqueeze Tue 11-Apr-17 19:25:11

Well they don't take into account individual circumstances- they HAVE to send the letter. And that's that.

Wickmum75 Tue 11-Apr-17 19:26:33

Of course you don't have to send her to school if she's I'll! The letter will say the school can't authorise any more absence without proof of illness. You can provide an appointment card/prescription or some other things I can't remember. Then the absence is authorised. End of

Wickmum75 Tue 11-Apr-17 19:27:16

*ill- typing in a hurry!

Bluntness100 Tue 11-Apr-17 19:27:45

I think you've got a bit of a shock op and you're maybe lashing out a little at posters.

You're not being prosecuted and it's highly unlikely you will be, maybe you know this deep down?

You just need to talk to them calmly at the board and explain why your daughter has missed ten percent of her schooling, they are there to help you and only want to do what is right for your daughter.

Bluntness100 Tue 11-Apr-17 19:28:41

And no you don't have to send her to school sick,💐

user15262093 Tue 11-Apr-17 19:30:38

Yes, sorry i think i might have got a bit of a shock, to be honest I'm hoping i don't have to go before a board, it all just seems a bit extreme in the circumstances, i think deep down i know its unlikely to go to prosecution but i honestly have no idea how some parents allow their childrens attendance to go dramatically down! Not that i would want too as i say i take my daughters education seriously, I'm hoping its just an automatic letter and that will be the end of it.

Wolfiefan Tue 11-Apr-17 19:31:14

The woman was a bit stuck up?
Wow. Rude much.
Schools are under immense pressure to get all students attending pretty much all of the time. There are guidelines they have to follow.
Why couldn't you get someone to drop her at school or get a taxi if you couldn't drive her to school?
I understand you feel stressed but you need to keep a level head and see this as them trying to get her in school as much as possible.

user15262093 Tue 11-Apr-17 19:31:27

Thanks Bluntness, i wouldnt send her to school sick anyway, i just never rung the doctors before when she was sick but i suppose i will have to each and every time, and ask the doctor if i can have proof that i have rung for advice.

user15262093 Tue 11-Apr-17 19:33:38

Wolfiefan, she was a bit stuck up, seemed to have little or no understanding of sen and kept asking me questions as if she was trying to catch me out. There was no possible way to get her to go to school, she cannot use a taxi due to her sen, she was screaming, lashing out and vomitiing in the taxi due to stress and anxiety of it all as she has severe sensory issues, and this was acknowledged and accepted by the school themselves who even came to my house and tried to take her there themselves.

PenelopeParmesan Tue 11-Apr-17 19:34:11

My DS is currently on about 87% ish. In mainstream, with sensory issues and probably imminent asd dx. His sibling in the same school has 99% ish.

I'm not in the slightest worried, haven't even had a letter yet but fully expect one because it's routine and they have to show they are tackling attendance. I either keep him off or he goes to school unwell so... I'm also an HCP and confident in deciding whether or not he's fit for school.

Wolfiefan Tue 11-Apr-17 19:34:20

So how does she get there normally? I am confused.

BlackeyedSusan Tue 11-Apr-17 19:39:31

you need to reinforce the message that she has a disability that makes it impossible for her to travel in a taxi therefore her attendace suffered because of actions beyond your control (ie they stopped the taxi. )

ask them to confirm their policy for absence for sickness and state that you have been complying with their policy.

ask them what proof they would like of sickness given that appointments that are not emergencies can only be booked two weeks in advance. (or whatever)

Slightlyperturbedowlagain Tue 11-Apr-17 19:42:16

flowers I totally sympathise OP, it is ridiculous that this sort of tick-box system results in schools not being allowed to use their common sense and judgement. Unfortunately the system is the thing that's at fault. Hopefully it will all resolve as PP have said and you won't have to do anything further.

windypolar Tue 11-Apr-17 19:42:49

Please don't worry, OP. You're not going to be prosecuted, i's just a standard letter they have to send out.

roundaboutthetown Tue 11-Apr-17 19:43:10

Schools do not actually have to prove they have sent rude letters out to all and sundry. What they do need to prove is that they know the situations of the children who affect their attendance figures and respond to them appropriately. Sending a standard letter out that is actually pretty threatening to a family known to have good reasons for their child's low attendance figures and who are in regular and constructive correspondnce with the school is just evidence of poor practice.

Headofthehive55 Tue 11-Apr-17 19:43:18

Schools do need to work out if a letter is reasonable. For example my DD was away for the first week of term in hospital having surgery. So her attendance at this point was 0%. It took quite a while for attendance to rise to over 95% as you would expect mathematically. No letter was sent.

user15262093 Tue 11-Apr-17 19:59:37

She normally gets transported via a school mini bus with a 1:1 bus escort, this has been for the last 5 years and the local council decided to stop this as they were making budget cuts, until it came evident to both myself and the school (who fully supported me) that she was unable to get to school. I tried absolutely everything in my power and the school saw this and in the end i said i couldn't do it anymore when she was ripping my hair out and as i tried to pull her off my youngest child run into the road in front of a car. It was at that point that the school began to collect her as they realised the severity of the situation and finally that she once again got the sen transport. When she is off school i have to take time of myself and its hard enough working and looking after 2dc, one of which has sen without having to take extra time off to look after her. I think the school should work out what is reasonable and what isn't, and shouldn't send out letters that are threatening and intimidating, the tone of the letter was very abrupt , I'm not a timid sort of person and i felt stressed out about it all.

user15262093 Tue 11-Apr-17 20:01:10

Thank you for the reassuring messages, i do feel a little less stressed about the whole situation.

Wolfiefan Tue 11-Apr-17 20:03:01

OP I do hope it didn't sound like I was trying to challenge you about not getting her to school. I honestly was just confused.
You have to do what is best for your child. Clearly you can't send her in when she's sick. You just can't.
The letter will be a standard one. I really wouldn't worry. Worth keeping track of when and why she's off school in future.
So sad that in this day and age such budget cuts stop kids getting to school. sad

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