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To be this worried about my son's absence?

(129 Posts)
Sowing747 Fri 01-Mar-19 10:00:15

My DS15 is in Y10 and has mocks coming up shortly.

He is bright, sporty and organised, but his absences this academic year have really stacked up and his average is currently 92%. In a recent school talk we were told that, although 95% minimum was acceptable officially, it should be higher when you get to Y10 if you want to do ok.

He spent most of yesterday evening working on three homework assignments then apparently slept really badly and was in a right state this morning, so he's off today.

He wants to start a monthly gym membership and I'd like to say it will have to wait until he can get his attendance up to 97%. On the other hand, going to the gym regularly gives structure to his week and is a great stress reliever (although he also plays rugby three times a week).

AIBU to postpone this gym membership?

NWQM Fri 01-Mar-19 10:03:24

Use it as an inventive? Why did he sleep badly? Or rather what was he doing instead of sleep? If he has the energy for the gym....

IceRebel Fri 01-Mar-19 10:05:12

then apparently slept really badly and was in a right state this morning, so he's off today.

Taking an entire day off school in year 10 because he slept badly is ridiculous. shock

Why was he in a state this morning? Had he not finished the assignments so was stressed about consequences? If so missing more school won't help the situation. It will just make it more difficult to go back tomorrow, as there will be even more work he needs to catch up on.

yearinyearout Fri 01-Mar-19 10:08:52

He should not be taking days off because he slept badly. If you allow this I'm not surprised he has low attendance. He needs to start managing his time better and turning his screens off earlier in order to get some quality sleep.

KingMash Fri 01-Mar-19 10:08:55

Well I would've insisted my son go on if the only reason was that he slept badly. Things like that aren't going to help his attendance. It's Friday, he can catch up on his sleep at the weekend.

I'd probably hold off the gym, if he's playing rugby 3 times a week he's getting exercise. Mine does martial arts 3 times a week as well as other activities and if he joined a gym too I'd think he might be over doing it, especially if he has a lot of homework

Angelicinnocent Fri 01-Mar-19 10:09:29

Can't honestly say I would ever have allowed not sleeping well to be a reason for a day off tbh.

However, my DD has long term health problems and her attendance in year 10 was 84% and she was on drugs like morphine when she was at school. She still managed good grades in all except 1 of her gcses and is now doing a levels in maths, I.t. and science.

Think it depends on how much work they are prepared to put in.

harper30 Fri 01-Mar-19 10:13:09

I'm a secondary teacher and I'm afraid I'd be pretty frustrated if I had students who kept being absent before mocks because they weren't sleeping very well. Chronic insomnia maybe, but one bad night and he gets a day off? I'm afraid you might have to be tougher with him especially if teachers are on his case about attendance already.
I'd maybe set him a goal like you said of improving his attendance to a certain point, then as a reward he can join the gym?

LIZS Fri 01-Mar-19 10:13:42

Not sleeping well is no excuse for absence. There is more going on here, either he is not coping with workload or he is spending his nights online. 8% is a lot to miss without being actually ill.

Amandette Fri 01-Mar-19 10:18:45

You’re letting him take a day off because he didn’t sleep well?

His pretty shoddy attendance rate is a problem that you have created by indulging him and letting him take time off for stupid reasons.

Lack of sleep is no reason to miss school - he’s got the weekend to catch up. That’s quite frankly pathetic.

Amandette Fri 01-Mar-19 10:19:05

Send him in today - he can be there for at least the afternoon.

SleepingStandingUp Fri 01-Mar-19 10:20:43

Why didn't he sleep?
Did he tell you he wasn't going in or did you tell him not to etc?

Sounds like you need to be stricter about him going in tbh

Use gym as a reward. If he's too tired for school he needs to not go to the gym and cut out extra curricular.

ZanyMobster Fri 01-Mar-19 10:24:54

It sounds as if you aren't helping the situation. Y10s shouldn't be deciding when to have time off etc. My Y8 DS was up half the night earlier in the week after having his brace tightened and couldn't shift his headache. I wouldn't have considered him staying off school, neither would he as it wouldn't cross him mind we would allow it.

Girlinthegarden Fri 01-Mar-19 10:26:08

I too wouldn't be allowing a day off because of poor sleep. Is he anxious?

Clairaloulou Fri 01-Mar-19 10:27:00

Sorry but if everyone had a day off when they hadn't slept well then the world would grind to a halt! You've not mentioned any valid reason why his attendance isn't better - and he's well enough to play rugby 3 x a week so he's well enough to be at school! You're not doing him any favours I'm afraid by letting him think that this is ok. My son is only 10 so it's very different but his attendance is 60% because of his brittle asthma - but when he's been off school and not massively poorly, he's not allowed to do fun stuff. If he's too poorly to be at school he's too poorly to play out etc. You need to be the parent here and get him to school!

Lazypuppy Fri 01-Mar-19 10:27:30

You let him take a day off cause he slept badly?? shock

Clairaloulou Fri 01-Mar-19 10:29:04

Also, it sounds like he could do with some help with planning. He shouldn't be struggling to do 3 assignments at once in one evening. Try and make a study timetable with him, and help him stick to it!

MirandaWest Fri 01-Mar-19 10:30:23

Has he not gone into school because he didn’t sleep well or because he got anxious either about that or something else?

fruityb Fri 01-Mar-19 10:35:58

He would have had plenty of time for assignments rather than three in one night. Sounds like his priorities are wrong. A day off for a bad night of sleep is shoddy - I’d be really annoyed if I was teaching him! I sleep like shit most of the week lol.

90% attendance is equivalent to 20 days off school in a year. That’s a lot.

Punxsutawney Fri 01-Mar-19 10:37:48

I think you do need to be a little stricter with his attendance. I have a 14 year old year 10 and it is a difficult age. My Ds is currently being assessed for asd and does not like school so needs a lot encouragement from us. It is tough but I think many teenagers would jump at the chance of a day off if offered by the parents.

Sowing747 Fri 01-Mar-19 10:39:27

Thanks for your advice so far and @Angelicinnocent your DC sounds amazing!

Until recently we took all our DS's media devices away at 10pm on a school night (phone, iPad, tv remote and games controller). But after Christmas my DH thought it might be breeding resentment as all his mates were trusted to keep theirs and just act responsibly, and we should try the same.

I'm thinking maybe we should go back to removing them, but I don't want to baby him. I should probably canvas parents of similar aged DCs about this in another thread!

Fairenuff Fri 01-Mar-19 10:39:59

Did you tell the school that was the reason shock

SileneOliveira Fri 01-Mar-19 10:42:03

Aww diddums. Didn't sleep well, poor baby. Kick his lazy backside out of bed and off to school.

No wonder he's down at 92% when his mum allows him the day off because he claims not to have slept.

Sowing747 Fri 01-Mar-19 10:44:03

@Fairenuff yes I said everything I've said on here, including the bit about postponing gym membership (in a text to a dedicated absence line). I wanted to be completely honest.

Sirzy Fri 01-Mar-19 10:44:42

It’s Friday. He goes to school (I would send him in now) and if he is so tired he can have an early night.

Pandering to staying at home for being a bit tired isn’t going to achieve anything

Myshinynewname Fri 01-Mar-19 10:45:27

He can’t have it both ways - if he wants the responsibility of managing his own screen time then he has to deal with the consequences of managing it badly. In this case going to school even if he has been up all night. If he takes time off like this in a job he will be fired, regardless of how good his exam grades are.

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