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AIBU to say i know my own sons health - school asking for sick note?!?

(112 Posts)
givemebooks Wed 10-Apr-19 13:30:35

My son is 11 and in his first year of secondary school (he does have some additional needs and has and EHCP)

On friday afternoon school phoned, he had developed a raging temp and could we come get him no problem we were surprised as he never gets ill! Think the last time was over 5 years ago!

The temp developed into a sore throat and on sunday we saw an out of hour GP who said it was all a viral infection and to let it play out keep up with paracetamol and rest.

Over the past 2 days he has remained off school the temp comes back if meds are not given (we have taken to alternating calpol and ibuprofen so he has something every 2 hours ish ) over night he developed a hacking cough bringing up green phlegm he has been up with me most of the night as could not settle sat up but could not lay down, poor fella is very poorly and we got him booked i to the gp as soon as the surgery opened this morning

This morning i phoned the school to say he would be off again and the women was so rude said they would accept today but they want him in tomorrow no matter what as over 3 days is unacceptable!

I explained he was ill and shattered that his cough and chest sound awful she would not listen said it did not matter he had been ill since friday 5 days was long enough to get over anything and if needed the school will give medication, i stated i will be going on the doctors advice when we see them and she stated they would need a sick note then??!?

Like doctors have nothing better to do that do sick notes for kids? Like my decison as a parent is not good enough! I am fuming if i was as unwell as him i would not be going to work!

We have now been to the doctors and he has a massive chest infection issues both sides when listening so is now on antibiotics, the doctor just laughed when i said what the school had said was a joke.

I called the school after and said i wanted to talk to them about the situation as my son will bot be in tomorrow and possibly not friday, i am now waiting for the welfare officer of the school to ring me as they will "deal with me"

Doctors have given me the appointment letter for today and i have a copy of the prescription! The school are saying a sick note or letter (which will cost £25 from the GP!!)

What a drama out of nothing but i am bloody fuming!

Anyone know my rights or been in the same situation! How do i tackle the school?

Thank you

Snowflakes1122 Wed 10-Apr-19 13:54:50

Yanbu. Schools out so much pressure on parents to send ill children to school these days angry

SleepingSloth Wed 10-Apr-19 13:55:04

Just tell them you are not paying £25 for a sick note but if they want to provide you with £25 then they can have a sick note. They can't make you pay, some parents wouldn't have the money.

Your child's health comes before school.

SnowyAlpsandPeaks Wed 10-Apr-19 13:55:11

By the way my ds is off today- chesty cough, temp, sore throat. He’s had it since Monday, but today’s the first day off. Seems no sooner are we over sickness season and now this 🤦‍♀️

starbrightnight Wed 10-Apr-19 13:55:19

This is unacceptable. Can you find out the name of the woman you spoke to in school who was so rude and unhelpful?

I suggest you write a letter of complaint to the Head and Chair of Governors, explaining exactly what happened and what this woman said. The fact she was wrong just adds weight to the substance of your complaint, which would include her rudeness, her bullying manner as well as the fact that she was wrong.

And quote PinguDance's helpful extract from the BMA in your letter.

Is there another school your son could go to? I would look into other options if there are any, and it's still his first year of secondary so he wouldn't miss out on anything overall. They are still all settling in and it's not like he's doing GCSE's yet, I mean.

Hotterthanahotthing Wed 10-Apr-19 13:55:26

Simply point out that since they sent him home with a temperature then sending him in now he is more unwell would not be reasonable.
You have proof and a very sick child,whoever phones will hopefully be more reasonable.

stucknoue Wed 10-Apr-19 13:58:43

The problem is I know half a dozen people at least who have "sick" children this week - mysteriously they have teleported to Florida/Australia/India etc from their sick beds. My DD's school had a policy of children having to turn up at school unless they have a sick note, if too ill for lessons they can go home after assessment.

MatchSetPoint Wed 10-Apr-19 13:59:54

Just ignore, what a lot of nonsense, if you keep him off an extra day but don’t pay for a sick note from the doctors they’re not going to expel him or anything, his absence will just go down as unauthorised. What a waste of everybody’s time, the school seems ridiculous.

cheeseypuff Wed 10-Apr-19 14:00:32

As someone else has already said upthread, I'm guessing the school are labouring this as its so close to the holidays & they might be suspicious that the absence is just an extra week's holiday. I would ring the school & tell them that the GP has confirmed it's not standard practice to give a note for under 16s. Offer to go in in person to drop off the copy of the appointment & prescription if they wish!
Have you spoken to anyone other than the office? They may not be correctly informed as to the standard process - can you take it up with Head/ Head of Year?

Originallymeonly Wed 10-Apr-19 14:01:11

Be warned though that the School may respond to you saying they can pay for the certificate by asking you to give permission for them to access your child's medical records directly. You are under no obligation to agree. I suspect they are trying to catch out the chancers who have set off on holiday 'early'.

givemebooks Wed 10-Apr-19 14:01:32


While i understand your point on school cutting back on absence surly that should focus on non attendees by choice and those truenting not a child who is ill

I am fuming for the way i was spoken too and i am fuming as an ex staff nurse myself (medically retired) at the pressure something this this would put on the NHS! Thousands of GP appointments each week for kids who are ill and because the school now say parents cannot make that decison they need to waste medical time getting a sick note! Sorry but its utter madness!!

I also due to my circumstances don't have £25 just to give for a letter!! And i would not want to!! That's a third of my weekly food bill!! (Family of 5)

havingtochangeusernameagain Wed 10-Apr-19 14:02:14

Total nonsense. Most of the time you don't even need to go to the GP when you are ill so why would you clog up an appointment trying to get a pointless letter?

Do schools not realise the difficulty of getting appointments?

I'd have something to say about effectively being accused of lying, to be honest.

My DD's school had a policy of children having to turn up at school unless they have a sick note

I assume this isn't in the UK because how do they all get immediate appointments when they are ill?

downcasteyes Wed 10-Apr-19 14:04:57

I bloody hate receptionists who take it on themselves to decide policy on the spur of the moment. The woman needs a dressing down. Complain about her behaviour.

colouringinpro Wed 10-Apr-19 14:06:02

Yadbnu I'd be fuming too! As mentioned above, GPs shouldn't be writing sick notes for kids.

As you say you know your son best and he's clearly ill. I wouldn't pay for a sick note myself, suggest if school don't believe you (And they have no grounds not to, particularly as he left school ill, suggest they end someone medically trained round to see, ot pay for a sick note.

Tim and time again school attendance targets are being prioritised over kids wellbeing.

I'd be writing a clear letter to the head stating illness, describing response you've had and clearly stating he will return to school when well enough. Clear and strong but perfectly polite.

Hope your son feels better soon - there are some nasty viruses around at the mo...

Topseyt Wed 10-Apr-19 14:09:20

Send your email to both his form tutor and his Head of Year. Set out all of your points to them, just as you have here. Name the admin staff member if you know who it was. The Head of Year is a a pretty senior member of staff, and they should be aware that their admin and secretarial staff are addressing people in this way.

I have always got along well with teaching staff in my children's schools. I have occasionally run into problems with non- teaching staff though.

givemebooks Wed 10-Apr-19 14:09:46

OMG i never even thought about the school holidays! My son would be breaking up on friday (my other two at primary dont break up till next thus)

Makes perfect sence now why they might have been funny they might think we are sunning it up (a chance would be a fine thing!!)

they were still bloody rude!

I have no problems at all with the school paying for a sicknote and accessing his medical records it would even show he attending the out of hours doctors on sunday night too

M4J4 Wed 10-Apr-19 14:12:16

I am so angry but yet nervous and a bit upset about how rude and blunt the school were

Why are you nervous? Just calmly state your case, there’s no need to get so upset.

BiggerBoat1 Wed 10-Apr-19 14:12:58

Just send in the copies of the prescription and appointment and then say no to anything else. What can the school do?

ALLMYSmellySocks Wed 10-Apr-19 14:14:33

I'm sorry but that's ridiculous. No way would I be taking my sick child out of bed for them to be assessed by a member of school staff (who might not have any medical qualifications). It is outrageous for parents to go to disneyland in term time but I'm not prepared to pay the price for that by making my child more sick. I would also probably need to work from home if DC were ill and wouldn't have time to hang around school waiting for them to faff about.

cardibach Wed 10-Apr-19 14:14:58

It is stupid to ask more than parental permission for children to be off school. If it’s persistent, send the appropriate attendance officer to see.
However this attitude some jumped up school secretary getting ideas above her station is sickening. You think you are so much better than a school secretary, don’t you Topsyet?

cantkeepawayforever Wed 10-Apr-19 14:19:24

Sometimes it is effective to state what the school is concerned about, and then ask sympathetically what you can do to deal with that concern:

'I appreciate that the school may be concerned that a sickness absence at this point in the term is not genuine, and may indicate being on holiday. What is the best way for me to demonstrate to you that X is actually ill? Unfortunately i can't get a doctor's note because of the bmc policy and the high cost, but would it be helpful for me to come in in person to show you the appointment card and prescription? Or I could bring X very briefly to Reception so that you can see he is genuinely not on holiday? He's not really well enough to be out due to his chest infection, but if that's the best way to deal with this issue I would of course be able to bring him in very quickly?'

Sound sympathetic and reasonable, and empathise with their issue, and you are quite likely to get a 'no, that's fine' response. The most rage-filled 'Of course he's ill!!!;' responses I have had to attendance follow-ups have been from parents who had actually taken their child on holiday - a fact the child has cheerfully confirmed on their return - so calm reasonableness and wish to allay school's concerns will actually seem much more believable!

Honeyroar Wed 10-Apr-19 14:25:32

Surely insisting that sick children are frog marched into school for the staff to assess just brings illnesses into the school and passes things onto other schools? It seems silly.

Is it an academy? They seem to make their own rules and targets.

Piggywaspushed Wed 10-Apr-19 14:25:52

I think that is very OTT from the school. However, I also don't understand why MN aims all its ire at schools for this!

Why are you not angry that GP surgeries are fleecing people (no matter what age) £25 a time for a letter that could simply be (for a school) a scribbled note on letter headed paper. Even if typed by a secretary, it's not £25 worth of time.

GPs also charge for passport verifications, for example, whereas a school would do this, and any other written evidence of anything for free!
Most schools will accept evidence of a prescription or an appointment card, though , as 'medical evidence'. I am guessing your DC's school has low attendance rates and is under pressure to improve.

Quartz2208 Wed 10-Apr-19 14:27:18

Yes I would simply send in the stuff and say this is evidence - and state it was initially a virus that went bacterial

At our school its fine for an appointment card and/or prescription which seems sensible; the welfare officer should be ok with this though

continuallychargingmyphone Wed 10-Apr-19 14:28:30

It is a rip-off piggy but that’s to discourage people from doing it.

AuntieMaggie Wed 10-Apr-19 14:35:32

My GP surgery has a big notice in their waiting room and on their website stating they will not provide sick notes for school children and if the school requests one to tell them children do not need sick notes.

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