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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

fargo123 Fri 12-Apr-19 11:37:27

Why not just set up an automatic answering system to take messages, and phone back if there are any children who need to be checked up on?

That's what my kids' secondary school has, and I believe the next nearest one uses this system too. I suspect it's quite common where I live. Thank god my kids don't go to school in the UK, with all the associated ridiculous nonsense I read about on here.

fleshmarketclose Thu 11-Apr-19 21:57:49

My dd is another one who was out of school for months and didn't even need to phone in every day. I phoned EWO myself when her attendance was down to 40% and they weren't interested either.

cantkeepawayforever Thu 11-Apr-19 16:40:26

We know our children’s health best.

The thing is, though parents are in the best position to assess how a child is, different parents have extremely different thresholds for 'too ill to be in school'.

Some parents set the threshold of 'not hospitalised or actively vomiting at that moment'.

Others set the threshold of 'a bit tired'

and obviously everything in between!

That makes it difficult for schools, who basically want a fairly stable threshold of 'genuinely poorly and unable to take part in a school day' (or 'wildly infectious and likely to spread a horrible D+V bug to the whole community')'

CornishMaid1 Thu 11-Apr-19 16:37:55

Glad the rude woman backed down today and glad your son is feeling a bit better.

If he is well enough to go to school tomorrow, cover him in fake tan and tell him to let everyone know he had a great time in the Bahamas

HexagonalBattenburg Thu 11-Apr-19 16:32:37

Dd2 is going to be off for a week straight after the holidays which will obviously look like we're heading off to the sun. In reality is a scheduled operation and school have not batted an eyelid and just wished her well without even a request for the appointment letter. It's going to put her below the concerning attendance threshold but the school comment was "if anyone questions it we are quite happy to tell them why and where to go"

Quietlife333 Thu 11-Apr-19 16:32:09

I hope your Son is well now O.P.
Our G.P. Quite rightly refuses to provide evidence for children. I told the school this when our ds last had days off for genuine illness at primary. They promptly reported us to the welfare attendance officer at the council. Who called me to say she was satisfied they were genuinely ill but that “next time we must provide proof.” It’s a completely ridiculous situation. It would be great if parents could make a stand against this nonsense by flat refusing to provide any proof as part of our own parenting policy. We know our children’s health best.

cantkeepawayforever Thu 11-Apr-19 16:21:26

It's slightly ridiculous having someone who's job it is apparently to spend time every day interrogating parents about why their child is off when they phone in.

The thing is, from a reasonable parent's point of view - those whose children are off for illnesses or reasons that anyone would agree are serious enough to miss school - it looks ridiculous.

From the point of view of someone INSIDE the school, knowing the type of things some children are kept home for, it is the reasons given by some parents that are ridiculous, not having someone to question them about it when they ring... and an instant response at 8.15 or whatever could mean that a child being kept off for the 4th time in a fortnight for no good reason is brought into school for registration, whereas ringing back after listening to many answer machine messages might happen much later and be less successful.

I KNOW schools can seem draconian. I KNOW how annoying it is for parents whose children are genuinely unwell ... but equally I know how many absences [at a whole school level] are wholly avoidable, and what that leads to in terms of educational progress.

Acis Thu 11-Apr-19 15:35:03

It's slightly ridiculous having someone who's job it is apparently to spend time every day interrogating parents about why their child is off when they phone in. Why not just set up an automatic answering system to take messages, and phone back if there are any children who need to be checked up on?

Malbecfan Thu 11-Apr-19 14:27:31

Did you tell her you were medically trained? I'd definitely use it if it happens again.

I hope your DS is now improving. I'd probably suggest he stays off again tomorrow unless he is much better as they probably won't do much in school and it may help his recovery.

Sympathies about the receptionist/attendance woman. We have one like this at my school and nobody can stand her. She dishes out all sorts of nonsense but the minute you say anything disparaging about her, even if it's proved to be true, she goes whining to the Head's PA. I have a lad in my tutor group who has a medical condition so we have agreed he can come in slightly later. It's not ideal as I don't see him but it is working for him and his overall attendance is much improved. Misery-guts makes PA digs at his mum which upsets and demeans her. This just exacerbates the issue as if son is struggling, why should mum drag him in only to get the 3rd degree? The head of key stage got wind of it and put a stop immediately to the woman saying anything. Sometimes you just have to maintain your cool, but escalate the comment through the teaching staff who are no doubt just as fed up as you are.

Parker231 Thu 11-Apr-19 14:08:00

The school is being ridiculous expecting medical evidence. Where we live, it’s a three week wait for a GP’s appointment unless it’s a urgent medical issue.

givemebooks Thu 11-Apr-19 13:32:59

I am so sorry my paragraphs have vanished!!!confused

givemebooks Thu 11-Apr-19 13:32:27

Good afternoon! Not that anyone was waiting with baited breath but i did not post again this morning due to an appointment! And i now have my DH down with the same infection as my DS but of course he's a man so its a thousand tines worse LOL.

Anyway i contacted the school this morning through to the same women again the attendace officer she asked for his name form and reason and when i started to say she said oh is he still not right??? Why?? I said we had him to the drs and he was now on antibiotics.

I said after the phonecall yesterday which i found very rude and with her demanding a sick note (brave me standing up for myself!!) That i contact the dr who refused a sick note and then i contacted the head of year who said the appointment and prescription were enough.

The women changed her tune said they as a school have spoken to local GP surgeries and they know that they need medical evidence!!?? Not sick notes but appointment cards and prescriptions

I said that i found her whole position very confusing as she said a sick note but now parents and GP surgeries have to be psychic and know what she means??!!.

Anyway i finished off saying my son my rules(go brave me!)i will decide if my son is well enough to attend school! If the school are not satisfied then they can mark it as unauthorized and fine me! I will take it further then!

She started apologising and saying of course they did not want my son in school when he was so poorly!!

I said he might be in tomorrow if he can sleep well and the medication continues to help, if not i guess i have to deal with her again tomorrow!

Again thank you all for your support

Acis Thu 11-Apr-19 13:16:27

holdingon, have you made a formal complaint to the council and/or gone to the Local Government Ombudsman? It sounds like you would have a good case.

Gatehouse77 Thu 11-Apr-19 09:47:14

Jeez, I'd have had to spend a fortune if our school asked as DS barely managed full weeks in Y13 due to MH. No request for Dr's notes or 'evidence' other than my word on an answerphone.

holdingonbyathread Thu 11-Apr-19 09:41:49

Givemebooks - thank you 😍

Luckily, ds now has a place at an autism specialist school for September after lots of fighting. But he spent most of year 2 on a reduced timetable of an hour a day and then will have been at home for all of year 3 except for the first 3 weeks. He'll start for year 4.

How is that level of missing education acceptable to all but a few days with an infection is not? Because it's disability discrimination and seen that children with SEN aren't worthy of a robust education and they don't matter in the same way 😢😢

highstresslevels Thu 11-Apr-19 08:46:03

I am not one to be dramatic, but I would ring again and hopefully speak to the same secretary, record the conversation then request a meeting with the headteacher and play it, also go armed with all the information you need to show them how ridiculous this is. I would be livid, and as I say things like this do not bother me usually!

MontStMichel Thu 11-Apr-19 08:37:46

Do you know what is equally ridiculous? All this fuss and nonsense from the school for a few days sickness on a good record whereas my son hasn't attended school since October due to unsupported ASD and no one cares or has asked for any evidence

ITA! DD was out of school for 10 months, after she decided quite rightly imo, that her school could not cope with her medical condition and the LA ignored the school’s request for 1:1 support! The LA provided her with no education at home at all in 10 months! So, apparently that did not matter to her education while a few days/week does to “normal children”!

Acis Thu 11-Apr-19 08:29:22

Do you know what is equally ridiculous? All this fuss and nonsense from the school for a few days sickness on a good record whereas my son hasn't attended school since October due to unsupported ASD and no one cares or has asked for any evidence

This! This type of hypocrisy happens time and time again for children with SEN. Apparently, for some children missing one day of school is disastrous, yet for children with learning difficulties it can somehow be completely acceptable for them to be out of school for months or years on end.

givemebooks Thu 11-Apr-19 07:52:05

@holdingonbyathread Good morning and i hope you are well, the way you son is been treated is awful!! Where is the support we had so many issues with my sons primary school about lack of support

My son is a changed child at his new secondary he is supported and i cannot fault the SEN team at all

Please i know you have proberly done everything you can think of but do not give up, contact the council sen team contact your MP take it to the highest you can and then some get on to citizen advice about legal representation

A very un mumsenty hug to you but you deserve it flowersflowersflowers

cunningartificer Wed 10-Apr-19 21:59:11

This is a sign of the times. Schools are under pressure about attendance and that filters down to the attendance officer. No excuse for her rudeness, but an indication of what she thinks are the school’s priorities.

Do write to the head—reasonably , as you have here—so he or she knows what’s going on in their name.

It’s utterly unfair. You’re quite entitled to sign your son off school (and you should, because he’s ill!), and you shouldn’t be made to feel like a criminal for it.

holdingonbyathread Wed 10-Apr-19 21:38:28

Do you know what is equally ridiculous? All this fuss and nonsense from the school for a few days sickness on a good record whereas my son hasn't attended school since October due to unsupported ASD and no one cares or has asked for any evidence! How can education be so two-faced!

colouringinpro Wed 10-Apr-19 21:24:33

My ds with significant mental illness resulting in paralysis has also been hassled to return to school full time and I've been threatened with a referral to social services. It is Totally disgusting the pressure that schools place on sick kids and their parents

MatthewBramble Wed 10-Apr-19 19:31:59

Our GPs local practice refuse to give sick notes for schoolchildren. It's taken years but the local schools have finally got the message.

givemebooks Wed 10-Apr-19 19:00:31

And all my emojis turned to sad faces!!??!! Lol

Im having no luck today! smile

givemebooks Wed 10-Apr-19 18:57:50

Thank you all so much for the support

I write this from my sun lounger in the Bahamas winkgrin

In reality i am cleaning my sofa again after my son had his first taste of amoxicillin earlyer this afternoon and reacted by spitting it back out and then been sick on the sofa (i did mention before he has ASD and taste and texture can make him react)sad

He has managed to take the second lot just now so that's something and i will be staying up till midnight to get a second dose in him for over night

Fingers crossed he will be on the mend soon!

Will update with my call and trip to take the much needed evidence to school tomorrow!

Feel like turning up in a sundress and sun glasses and large sun hat pulling a wheely case holding fake tickets and my passport and telling them to hurry up i am late (i amuse myself grin)

I have taken on board what many of you said and i will be taking this further if i am treated the same way!

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