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Can someone explain how child attendance at school works (& what if attendance is shockingly poor)?

(10 Posts)
SafeAsHouses Mon 24-Mar-14 12:16:53

Just out of interest really.... I have a family member whose children have a fairly hefty amount of time off school due to sickness. They are a sickly family (i.e. they catch every bug going) but saying that, a runny nose and the sniffles would constitute a good week off school. The kids never have just 1 or 2 days off school - they take a full week at a time. And if one child is ill, then the other is also kept off school for the same full week (the children are always, without fail, simultaneously poorly, which I find quite odd - I have 3 kids, and usually illness is painfully staggered eg one child is sick and has 2 days off, the next is then sick, then a few days later, the last one is sick, they're never ill all at the same time!).

As a family, we are just getting slightly concerned that these children have so much time off school....their attendance must be 75% max. Surely their attendance must flag every year and figures sent to the LEA / EWO to investigate? Nothing ever seems to happen though, they just go on having more and more sick leave.

I know some might think we're being busy-bodies, but this is very close family we're talking about, and we worry about the kids social skills (they have a history of being bullied). Educational wise, I believe they're doing completely fine (perhaps that is why no-body is worrying). We don't want to upset the apple cart by asking these family members the wrong questions, so I just wanted to get an understanding of child attendance and how it works / is investigated. I guess more could be going on behind the scenes than we realise....
Thanks in advance for any further insight

frumpity33higswash Mon 24-Mar-14 12:22:13

Well , they may eventually be asked by the school to authenticate the time they take off sick. If they havent already done so

BambooBear13 Mon 24-Mar-14 12:24:35

I would have thought school would be involved by now if that the case. I work with some one just like that - always off with sick kids, while mind have not had a day off school nursery or nursery for 4 years. I often wonder how they aren't pulled in for it

SafeAsHouses Mon 24-Mar-14 12:29:33

frumpity - how would they authenticate it? They do go to the GPs at the drop of a hat, so I guess the Dr would have records. I believe they did get an attendance letter, but apparently wrote back a reply stating all the sickness by date / type etc and we're led to believe its all fine and completely accepted by the school.... I'm just sure a school would think the same as us i.e. "jeez, these kids are ALWAYS ill"? At what point does someone step in and say all these simultaneous week long regular bouts of illness seem excessive?

42notTrendy Mon 24-Mar-14 12:32:25

IME , EWOs are spread very thinly, and unless the school have a few children like this (ie 4/5 in a year group for a primary) they just won't have the time to investigate. The school should pick it up, but it might be done with quite a light touch. You could contact SS, but that's a big step to take. Have you discussed it with them?

SafeAsHouses Mon 24-Mar-14 12:42:59

42 no not even considered contacting SS, we'd never be prepared to get that involved. Its just hard to sit by and watch these kids kept at home SO much when we're just not sure they're that poorly. I'm amazed they haven't been investigated yet - perhaps its because they're a middle-class well off family with no obvious suffering of their education that no-body has really bothered chasing them.

givemeaclue Mon 24-Mar-14 12:47:03

How do you know that nobody is chasing them?

SafeAsHouses Mon 24-Mar-14 12:50:43

givemeaclue - we're not sure that no-body is chasing them. I did ask the question recently 'haven't you been investigated by the school for the poor attendance' and I was basically told that "oh yes we got a letter but we wrote straight back with all the illnesses / dates etc and were essentially sent the wrong letter by the school, there is no problem and the school don't have a problem with it".

I guess more could be going on behind the scenes that we realise, but surely attendance would have improved....both kids had the entire last week off with 'viruses'.

givemeaclue Mon 24-Mar-14 13:15:47

Well I guess you could speak to school about it or speak to your family members direct or call ewo yourself. Can't think of any other options. Very frustrating for you they clearly don't take school seriously at all. Sounds like someone will catch up with them eventually though

Nonie241419 Mon 24-Mar-14 14:59:00

I have a child in my class whose attendance is dreadful. I work the end of the week, and have only seen her twice since Christmas, and not at all this half term. Nothing is being done, despite my job share and I forcefully expressing our concerns, as there is no EWO covering our school. That's the erosion of local authorities in action <sigh>.

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