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to be fuming about this letter from school about attendance ??

(156 Posts)
NervousNutty Wed 09-Sep-09 18:44:47

Last term I had a very rude letter from school about ds's attendance. He was in yr1 at the time and his attaendance was 87%.

At the beginning of that year we had, had a holiday, which had been authorised (by old headteacher), so that accounted for 5 days. Ds was then ill several times, once with a scalp infection and virus, and then again with impetigo. He also probably had the odd couple of days here and there with sickness or bad cold/high temp etc.

I always notifed school when he was ill.

After I recieved the rude letter I was fuming and so was everyone else who had one because most people had kept their children off for genuine reasons. I was going to speak to the head about it, but so many people made appointments with her that I'd have had to wait weeks so I left it.

Ds has been back for 3 days and today came home with a letter adressed to me. This letter says that all parents have been written to, but this is a lie as not every pupil was given one.

It waffles on and on about attendance and how important it is (like i'm thick and don't know), and then basically lists a threats of what will happen if a childs attendance doesn't improve.
It also mentions that any child in the action group (which i assume ds now is) will recieve futher letters to make sure attendance targets are met.

I am so pissed off with this. If they bothered to check my other 2 childrens records they would see that their attendance is very good, so surely if I was doing it on purpose i'd keep them all off and stay in bed rather than still get 2 children up and off to school.

So basically now, if ds is ill and he has time off they are going to come down on me like a tonne of bricks.

TheDMshouldbeRivened Wed 09-Sep-09 18:48:07

You've probably just got a general letter. I had one cos dd missed so much school and called the Head and she said, oh, it didn't apply to dd because we know about her long term illnesses.
The letter pissed me off too. dd's attnedance was about 60%!

Corporalcornsilk Wed 09-Sep-09 18:48:37

Let it all wash over you. Attendance is one of the things that the new ofsted framework will judge schools on so they are probably worried about that.

CybilLiberty Wed 09-Sep-09 18:48:55

Schools have targets set by the local authority. They have inspectors to come and go through the registers with a fine tooth comb asking why every child was absent. Of course you should not send your child in if they were ill. But the school has to be seen to be cracking down on 'unauthorised absence'

cory Wed 09-Sep-09 18:49:55

standard letter, don't let it bother you too much

the truth is, some children are absent for no reason at all

which makes it all the harder for those of us whose children have genuine medical reasons

the worst they can do if his attendance does not improve/goes down is to send the Education Welfare Officer round to you. this will give you a chance to explain the reasons to her, and that will hopefully be the end of the matter

if you are really worried, you could always make the first move by contacting Education Welfare yourself

CarGirl Wed 09-Sep-09 18:50:09

I agree it is a standard letter sent to the parent of a child who had less than x% attendance. Rude & impersonal and the parents it truly applies to will probably not care anyway.

NervousNutty Wed 09-Sep-09 18:51:51

It wasn't a general letter, as it was only given to certain parents.

The thing that annoys me, is that they told me last term that there was an issue and as ds wasn't ill after that he didn't miss a day.

3 days into term though and they write to me about it again like they think I will have forgotten it over the hols.

Shame they don't pay as much attention to the children that are struggling with certain things instead of ignoring it until the parent has to push for help.

oldraver Wed 09-Sep-09 18:52:43

Maybe you should ask them if you should send your child in even if ill hmm

NervousNutty Wed 09-Sep-09 18:54:13

Attendance seems to be the new headteachers thing, which is fine and I totally agree with the issue, what I disagree with is hounding parents of children who were off for genuine reasons.

I have already been thinking about moving ds to another school and this is just giving me more reason to.

cory Wed 09-Sep-09 18:55:07

it could be worse: dd's class (Yr 8) were first given a 10 minute long talk about how absences ruin your life chances and then made to put their hands up if they'd had a less than 90% attendance rate the previous year

dd has an incurable medical condition, which involves severe chronic pain and a lowered immune system

her best friend had a lot of absences during her mother's last illness sad

the form tutor must have known this

NervousNutty Wed 09-Sep-09 18:55:20

Several people asked that before Oldraver and were told 'no of course not, but we don't really class a cold as illness'.

Oh right thats why you get phoned to collect your child for the slightest thing.

CarGirl Wed 09-Sep-09 18:56:20

Sorry I meant it is a letter from the LEA via the school sent to all dc in the LEA with x% attendance - they don't look at the reasons why the attendance was low they just send them out as a general warning to all parents whose dc fit that category IYSWIM

NervousNutty Wed 09-Sep-09 18:58:06

Cory that is so unfair to single people out like that.

Last term the school gave out awards for attendance. Any child who had 100% had their name put into a hat and the name drawn out won a prize. For Keystage 1 it was a bouncy castle, and for keystage 2 an ipod.

Dd2 is asthmatic and never has and never will get 100% attendance and so like alot of other children this will rule her out of ever getting such a prize.

What ever happened to giving them a pencil and a well done.

TheDMshouldbeRivened Wed 09-Sep-09 18:59:36

thats so unfair nervousnutty. My dd also will never get 100% attendance (often when she is stiff and screaming the school send her hoem!)

CarGirl Wed 09-Sep-09 19:04:35

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!at the prize for 100% attendaance, at our school they get a certificate and it's done termly which does give more dc a chance of getting it.

But a bouncy castle or ipod! That is just insane & unfair.

countrybump Wed 09-Sep-09 19:14:42

But there has to be a point at which the school does act, and therefore this is a standard letter that has gone out to highlight the importance of attendance. Maybe it could have been worded better, but it is probably just a standard letter, and the wording of it may even have come from a template. Ofsted will want to see that the school are doing something about the attendance rates, so the school does need to do something.
If it has bothered you that much then you should make an appointment to see the head teacher and discuss it with them.

hayes Wed 09-Sep-09 19:18:32

standard letter that the schools have to send out in order to keep in line with LEA policy. I wouldn't worry about it, let it go.

fatzak Wed 09-Sep-09 19:22:59

I've been waiting for one of these lettersf from the LEA - DS had only 85% last year due to two stays in hospital plus other epilepsy related time off plus the usual couple of days for throats/colds etc. His headteacher is very understanding so I suspect that if it's up to school to send one then he won't!

ShellingPeas Wed 09-Sep-09 19:25:20

Agree it is a standard letter from the school that will go out to any parent who has a child with an attendance record under a certain percentage (90% in our school). Standard letters are also issued for children who are late, or go on holiday in term time. The content of the letter is largely determined by the LEA.

hayes Wed 09-Sep-09 19:30:27

Even though the headteacher is understanding they still need to send out the letter and put a copy in the pupil's personal file. Our headteacher sends out the letter with a compliments slip attached saying "sorry about this but it is LEA policy"

mmrsceptic Wed 09-Sep-09 19:32:19

ignore it, ignore all further letters, but give up hope of any more school time authorised absence

you don't need to give this headroom if he is off so much because he's ill -- focus on your child not on the school's need to hit attendance targets

bumpsoon Wed 09-Sep-09 20:45:16

Yes send your child in next time he has impetigo with a note explaining that although it is incredibly contagious ( perhaps send one of those crimescene overalls/facemask for teacher )you know how concerned they are about attendance and how dreadful it would be for him to miss any school while the infection cleared up grin
Not having a go at the teachers by the waywink

BettySuarez Wed 09-Sep-09 21:48:07

Would you prefer it if the school didn't monitor attendance then?

No one is saying that you are at fault but 87% is low enough to have a detrimental effect on your sons education.

Surely that is worth a letter?

cory Wed 09-Sep-09 21:56:22

We all know this Betty, but the point is that if the child is ill, knowing that it has a detrimental effect on his education isn't going to magically make him well.

Dd has had to endure several years of being told how bad her absence rate was for her education: it has not resolved her medical problems. She knows and we know that she is in all likelihood going to be disabled for life: the letters home just serve to rub our noses in it.

What I would like to see would be these letters sent out with an attached note saying "please ignore this letter if there is a medical reason for your absence". That would make life feel a bit easier for a lot of parents who already are struggling with sick or disabled children. Surely that would be worth a note?

hatesponge Wed 09-Sep-09 22:02:20


My view is most sensible parents will only keep their DC off school for a good reason. Some children are ill a lot, some aren't thats just the way of the world.

And yes, conversely there are some parents who couldn't give a stuff about whether their DC are at school, or roaming the streets, or lying in bed all day (a few years ago DS1 used to have a boy in his class who only attended school on average once a week because he didn't like getting up & his mum didn't like making him hmm) Those parents, tbh, are not going to suddenly make their children go to school more often simply because of a letter/letters from school.

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