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Child had 11 days off sick for mumps from school and now im being sent an education welfare officer to explain attendance???

(157 Posts)
honestyismybond1 Thu 05-Dec-13 00:15:52

Child is at a good primary school who I have had an excellent relationship with.My childs last year attendance was 90%.This year we aimed for 100% but sadly caught mumps and was very ill off sick for 11 days.Child saw GP on first day of absence who confirmed mumps and school was notified on day one by myself.I called the school many times updating them and requesting missed work to keep up.My child loged into school website everyday for 2hours to complete math work to keep up but sadly requested work from school did not come.When child went back to school I let teacher know how hard child worked at home even though very poorly and all seemed fine.Two weeks later got a school letter saying being moniterd by educational welfare officer for poor attendance and any future absences will be marked unauthorised unless I get a doctors note even if its a 24 hour bug or cold.So when my child was ill yet again a week later for a tummy bug just for a day I took my child to see GP to get a note and showed her the letter and the Dr went mental but to my shock not towards the school but to me.Gp requested I pay £20 for letter or go! When I said I could not pay £20 Gp said was putting on my record that I am always to pay £20 if I want any information to stop me wasting her time.I felt sick and very upset.I pointed out to her that we were both on the same side and that it was the council,education board,school demanding this and if we both complained in some way it would help.I then dared to ask if this was fair and was clearly told what she thought did not come into this and she will only take the course of action of asking for £20 to stop it happening.So the parent gets blamed from all angles and the child gets unauthorised mark on school record!When I calmed down I rang eductation board who was delighted with the action my school had taken and even said to me "we have vast matters in this area and if a child is ever ill more than once a year then this needs investigating" who the hell has a child who is sick only once a year? If you do please clone them because this is not the norm.I am worn out with this so can anyone please share what they think and what they would do? Thanl you

hoppinghare Thu 05-Dec-13 00:35:56

Unbelievable. All kids pick up bugs all the time. This sounds like harassment unless the school have some reason to suspect your child hasn't really been sick. If you have a doc's note for mumps I don't see what the problem is. Sorry I have no useful advice.

scurryfunge Thu 05-Dec-13 00:42:40

I agree that you should not be pestering a GP for a doctor's note despite what the school demands. Tell the school to take a running jump and if there are real attendance issues tell them to investigate properly and prove it.

Cousinit Thu 05-Dec-13 00:45:16

I think I would go and speak to the school about this and ask what they expect you to do exactly. Other than that, i don't have any advice but I do feel for you; it must be incredibly frustrating. I no longer live in the UK and am very happy that this is the case when I read stuff like this! This would simply not happen here. Oh, perhaps change your GP too? She doesn't sound like a nice person...

NoComet Thu 05-Dec-13 01:00:15

Due to a combination of bugs and a injured ankle, I expect a rude letter from school.
It will go in the bin!

sparklyma Thu 05-Dec-13 02:59:56

90% attendance is pretty low though. It's effectively 1 day off every 2 weeks. I don't think any school can let that go. With 12 days off already this year you are looking at less than that again. Obviously mumps can't be helped but surely you can understand them putting measures in place to prevent some parents taking the piss. Not that you are of course as mumps is serious but they have to make checks.

sparklyma Thu 05-Dec-13 03:01:13

So it'll be around 78% this term I think.

adoptmama Thu 05-Dec-13 04:38:59

I think your problem is more with your GP than the school, and the GPs problem is more with the burden of the school/LEA policy than with you. Unfortunately it seems you have been caught in the middle.

Seek an appointment with the head and tell him/her that
a) your child had an absence from a medically noted illness when they were absent with mumps, you informed them of this at the time and that is the end of the discussion on that absence.
b) you will NOT be taking them to the doctor for a medical note for any absence when you do not actually think they need to see a doctor. Be clear to them the only time you, the parent, will decide to take your child to see a doctor is when they medically need to. If your GP service is anything like mine, then the only appointments available on the day are for emergencies and what your child has does not qualify as one and shouldn't be taken up their appointments in that way. Be polite, but firm with the school.
c) explain to school the problem you have with the doctor and the financial burden this places upon you
d) tell the school you are happy for them to refer the matter to the attendance officer for proper investigation as your child's absences were genuine and medical
e) ask the school if the letter was automatically generated by the absences or if they specifically think there is a problem with your child. 90% attendance is quite low - be prepared to explain previous absences too if necessary
f) contact your GPs office and ask what their policy is on school sick notes and, if you feel it necessary, lodge a complaint with the way your GP treated you.

meditrina Thu 05-Dec-13 05:01:21

The problem is not with the GP - it's with a policy that demands a sick note for an absence under 5 days (ie in step with requirements of employment law when yo self-certify for the first 5 days). It's utterly of standard for GPs to have a fee for additional services, and £20 for a short-period sick note is typical.

It is also a waste of NHS appointments to go in for minor self-limiting conditions, plus against general public health advice to take vomiting children into places where vulnerable patient tend to be found.

So it is the school/EWO who is being totally unreasonable in this. And those points need to be made to them.

Ask which GPs in your area have agreed to see pupils (same day) and provide acceptable paperwork without charge (as short period sick notes are not available on NHS) as you cannot afford a private note. See if they have an answer.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 05-Dec-13 05:06:23

As a previous poster said, 90% attendance means a day off on average once a fortnight. Does your child gave underlying health problems?

I agree that the demand for sick notes is misguided and wrong, but I can see why the school is scrutinising how often your child is off.

leavesalmondoutofit Thu 05-Dec-13 05:35:04

I am sorry you are so worried about this. You have got caught up in a very poor communication system between the school and the local authority. They need to get their act straight
One of my children had a poor attendance record over a couple of years with recurrent tonsillitis and glandular fever. Attendance officer arrived at the door unannounced. Said child was ensconced on settee watching endless reruns of her favourite cartoon and eating ice cream. Cushy day off! Ha her temperature had been so high the sweat was visibly running down her face, They never came back when she was of sick again.

LtEveDallas Thu 05-Dec-13 05:38:20

If this is Primary, and your child is only having time off when ill, then it doesn't matter. You cannot be fined, you cannot be punished, the school can do nothing to you or your child that matters.

Seriously, don't worry about it. Let the school and the EWO waste their time 'investigating'. It means nothing.

meditrina Thu 05-Dec-13 05:47:37

Mumps is a notifiable illness. The GP will have a record of both the diagnosis and the notification. Ask the EWO to follow up with your GP if they are doubting your word about the first absence.

Mumps typically last 7-10 days, so the duration of absence is reasonable - perhaps EWO could seek GP confirmation of that too?

RiversideMum Thu 05-Dec-13 06:51:01

Agree that 90% attendance is low which is why you were probably already on alert after the last academic year. If you have a confirmation of diagnosis for mumps, then I'd certainly recommend that you don't bother the GP.

giraffesCantSledge Thu 05-Dec-13 06:57:17


honestyismybond1 Thu 05-Dec-13 07:19:01

Hello Thank you so much for all of your help.Yes 90% is low but lots of bugs went round last year and a bad virus that most kids and staff got.Our teacher was off for weeks.Just to add child has NEVER had an unauthorised day of in the past ever or taken out for a holiday and not even for a family wedding.Also child has never been late! I am told the letter is standard because attendance has hit 78% which I know sounds so bad but it was mumps.Does anybody know if child has 12 days off in total what the full years % will be please?
It is the tone of the letter that really upset me as if I had been lying in the past and took her away on holiday.The Gp told me the world heatlh org would have contacted the school about it being mumps so it was not just me saying mumps.To be honest nobody has more motivation in the world than me for getting child into school because I am self employed.So if I don't work I don't get paid.
I know school has to on the ball about attendance but they can see child logged into school website everyday to do two hours of math even though was so ill with mumps.Child loves school and is involved with before and after school clubs.I was always heavily involved with the school and would help and volunteer at the drop of a hat before self employment got in the way.It parents eve tonight but teacher has no idea any of this has happend because teacher has been off sick for over two weeks! Do I waste my 10minutes talking about this or about how to improve childs spelling?Christmas break just can not come fast enough for me.I feel because of all of this the relationship I have worked hard to build up over years with school and doctor has been ruined.When I go into school office it feels uncomftable and if I needed to see doctor for myself I can only imagine what mood doctor would be in to see me.The very few fellow parents at the school who have seen the letter have all said they are shocked and disapointed in the school and the tone of the letter is disgusting.I went to great lengths to find out the name who works at local council who it telling schools to do this and I said to gp did she want the name so her and fellow doctors could complain to when in the next few months they will see rise in the amount of parents coming but doctor did not want it so on it goes.So if you are a parent who cares and don't mind the hassle move to East Sussex in the UK!

Gunznroses Thu 05-Dec-13 07:30:36

OP did dd not have the MMR? Mumps is pretty rare these days.

usernameunknown Thu 05-Dec-13 07:54:49

12 days off in a school year = 93% I think

meditrina Thu 05-Dec-13 07:59:56

Yes, I make it 93% too (12 days put of an 190 day school year).

mammadiggingdeep Thu 05-Dec-13 08:01:35

Sorry you're stressed op and that you feel 'got at', it's not nice at all. Are the school willing to meet with you to discuss it?

In my experience it is unusual for one long absence to trigger a letter. I think the 90% has something to do with it, that is low attendance. Is the mumps and the tummy bug the only absence so far this year?

mammadiggingdeep Thu 05-Dec-13 08:04:37

Sorry op missed the post upthread...
I wouldn't talk about it at parents evening- like you say it will mean you spend the whole time on that topic and not your daughters progress.

Ask tonight to make another appointment to discuss her attendance.

gamerchick Thu 05-Dec-13 08:04:40

Tell the doctor to invoice the school.

I'm a bit shocked to hear about mumps... haven't heard of a kid getting mumps for years.

horsemadmom Thu 05-Dec-13 08:13:40

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

PastSellByDate Thu 05-Dec-13 09:20:50

More or less the exact same thing happened with a boy at our school who suffered chronically from tonsillitis. The attendance liaison officer did see her mother and realised that this was clearly illness due to an ongoing medical condition which would be resolved by a tonsillectomy scheduled for later that school year. There was no fine or further action.

This is a case of the government requiring schools/ LEAs to be tough - so paperwork has to be generated showing they're tough and inspections have to be made. It's mad, probably a huge waste of funding/ time/ good will of most parents - most likely doesn't affect chronic offenders (who were getting this kind of chasing up previously) - but there you go - it's the system.

My advice is take a deep breath. Accept that the doctor is frustrated (wrong to take it out on you, but quite rightly frustrated at the waste of her time). I'd pay the £20 - but ask the doctor to also cover the mumps incident (give them dates and have them confirm your child was suffering from mumps). Ask for an invoice for the £20 and supply it to the school or LEA asking for a refund.

You probably won't get it -

but if parents regularly passed back any expenses incurred by this policy to their schools/ LEA - I suspect this policy would stop?

MissWimpyDimple Thu 05-Dec-13 09:28:35

The GP was probably annoyed as Mumps is a completely avoidable illness. Hope your child is ok with no lasting effects and that they didn't come in contact with any babies or immune-suppressed people

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