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Collecting sick children from school - expectations

(62 Posts)
2ndSopranosRule Mon 25-Jan-16 10:58:30

I had a call from breakfast club to tell me dd2 had been sick and can someone get her as soon as possible (clearly!). I'm 10 miles away - at work - and my dh who works 15 miles from school was in the car so he turned round to get her (I'll take tomorrow off before anyone asks!).

I had to get dd1 last week too.

On both occasions school have bristled for want of a better word when I've told them it'd be at least half an hour. Neither of us have a particularly huge commute but by the time we've told managers, rearranged the day etc. time will march on. It's never been a case of "no, we are at work and won't leave", we just can't teleport ourselves!

My parents live near school but dm isn't in the best of health and df is in his late 80s: I really don't want them dealing with a vomiting child. MIL lives 10 miles in the other direction and although she's always willing, it'd take her just as long. Besides which, she and SIL share a car and if SIL's using it she'd be looking at 2 hours on public transport.

I'm curious to know if the school thinks we're bad parents for not having anyone very local to pick up in instances like this. We're trying our best.

HeadDreamer Mon 25-Jan-16 11:03:59

You've tried your best. What else can you do? My work is 35 miles from home. Even if I can just leave the office at the drop of a hat, it'll be an hour before I can get to school. And that's if there aren't any traffic problems. So don't feel guilty about it.

2ndSopranosRule Mon 25-Jan-16 11:09:04

Thank you.

I do feel guilty sad. I've heard of other parents getting similar treatment.

Thinking about it, even if you were a SAHP, who's to say you'd even be at home? I'm pt and not always at home on my day off (although I don't go too far afield in case a scenario as above unfolds!).

Yokohamajojo Mon 25-Jan-16 11:22:37

I would always be at least half an hour due to work and public transport, on the few occasions it has happened though, the school have been very nice about it

Happymummy007 Mon 25-Jan-16 11:31:24

On the odd occasion that this has happened to me, I've simply said "I'm on my way and will be there ASAP". I've often wondered what would happen if they rang when I was in the middle of a haircut or waiting at the hospital for an appointment.

You can only do your best. It sounds like an unreasonable, and unrealistic, reaction from the school. Don't beat yourself up about it.

BrianButterfield Mon 25-Jan-16 11:33:21

I live half an hour from DS's school. Even if I were at work (a 5 min drive) I can't just drop everything and run - I could be teaching so would have to wait until at least the end of the lesson. I have one person who could get him in an emergency but again I'm not going to get the message until the end of the lesson, call them, hope they're free, they go to get him - realistically half an hour is about the best I could ever do. Even if I was at home and lived in the village I'd still have to get a toddler out of the house with me so at least 15 minutes I'd say.

writingonthewall Mon 25-Jan-16 11:52:59

I work 45 minutes from my daughter's school and I'm a GP, so unless it was an emergency worthy of an ambulance I would be at least an hour, probably more like an hour and a half.

3point14159265359 Mon 25-Jan-16 11:59:57

When I was a SAHM I missed calls from DD's school because I was at softplay with DS. They ended up calling DH from work. tbblush

But pre-mobile, they wouldn't have been able to get hold of loads of parents so this expecting you to be there instantly must be new since then.

That said, of course they'll sound pissed off. Until you get there, they have to look after your vommy child, and no one likes that much, do they?

EdithWeston Mon 25-Jan-16 12:05:17

I suppose you have to remember that they are dealing with all sorts of parents, not just the conscientious ones.

I would usually say 'I'll come straight away. As I'm not at home, it'll take me about 30minutes to get to you". That should signal that you are doing all you can.

I hope your DD isn't too unwell and perks up rapidly once at home.

Galena Mon 25-Jan-16 12:10:31

Having been a teacher, the decision to phone home is not taken lightly, so by the time the call is made, the child needs to go home ASAP. A poorly child will not be able to have a 1-1 adult with them the whole time, so will be left to sit alone, often outside the office, feeling thoroughly miserable, with an adult (within earshot) checking on them now and then. So, obviously, the sooner the child goes home, the better (not to mention germ-spreading).

HOWEVER, (before everyone leaps on me) schools know that parents have a life and if you tell them you are on your way and will be there as soon as you can, they won't be too stressy. The parent we were not impressed with is the one who, when we phoned to tell her that her son was being very sick, told us she was taking the chance while he was at school to shop for his birthday presents for the following day, and had 4 more shops to visit before she would come and pick him up. She then told us, when she finally picked him up, that she was still going to take him to his after-school club, so she could wrap his presents.

We may have phoned the after-school club... grin

Alibabsandthe40Musketeers Mon 25-Jan-16 12:17:32

I am planning to return to work in the next 9-12 months, and DH and I have been wondering how people manage with this.

At the moment I'm a SAHM, and so I'm mostly within half an hour or so of school, but there are times when i'm further away.

I'm likely to be working in London, and DH is mostly in London too - what happens if we are both 1.5 hours commute away??

Farahilda Mon 25-Jan-16 12:21:37

If it is regularly going to be 90 minutes minimum, then you will have to find an alternative emergency (schools often ask for one anyhow, because there will always be days when a parent simply cannot get there).

IIRC, I've seen it specified at least once that the emergency contact should be able to get to the school in 30minutes.

2ndSopranosRule Mon 25-Jan-16 12:21:43

I give a reasonable eta but both times recently it's been "that long? Can you not get here sooner?".

I completely get that no one wants a sick child in school and there are some less than conscientious parents out there but I can't always get there quickly and "give me 30 minutes" should be enough for them to know I'm doing my best.

Galena I know parents just like that...

2ndSopranosRule Mon 25-Jan-16 12:27:57

Farah it's really very difficult sometimes though - I can't speak for Ali but we have very few people in our lives who can help.

Same for my parents as it happens although dm was a SAHM until I was 12ish (her parents were thousands of miles away; df's were long dead).

Galena Mon 25-Jan-16 12:28:20

To be honest, if they are going to be like that, I wouldn't give an ETA and just say 'I'm on my way and will be there ASAP'

2ndSopranosRule Mon 25-Jan-16 12:31:19

That'd be fine but the question is "how long will it take you to get here?".

Galena Mon 25-Jan-16 12:37:24

'I'll be as quick as I can, maybe 15-20 mins?'

littleducks Mon 25-Jan-16 12:40:31

I wouldn't worry about it. It's a shame but the best that you can do. It's just sis law that she hasn't been ill on your day at home when you were nearby. Even as a SAHM you might be in the swimming pool or something and not get the message straightaway. They can expect all they like but realistically much as you try and plan for the unexpected there are times when you just can't be any faster however hard you try.

littleducks Mon 25-Jan-16 12:41:05

sods law

Galena Mon 25-Jan-16 12:43:35

alibabs 90 minutes regularly is really difficult for a school. They would want you to nominate someone closer to home who could come and pick up - maybe another parent would be willing if you asked them?

balletgirlmum Mon 25-Jan-16 12:44:41

I live half an hour away from ds's school (10-15 mins from work) & 45-60 mins away from dds school.

It's never been a problem.

gamerchick Mon 25-Jan-16 12:48:11

Obviously you should have activated your teleport.. You must be on hand immediately to do the schools bidding because after all they aren't childcare.

I get similar phonecalls... 'Mini gamer has a headache can you come straight away to give him a paracetamol?' They don't take an 'I'm at work and can't just drop everything and come rushing up with a pill' it's a come right this minute.

Someone forgot the memo that the days of sahp are looooong gone.

rollonthesummer Mon 25-Jan-16 12:51:54

I've had-'can you just pop in and look at this rash?'

rollonthesummer Mon 25-Jan-16 12:52:40

Oops-pressed send too quickly!

My DC had eczema and that's what the rash quite clearly was, they just hadn't bothered to ask him!

grumpysquash Mon 25-Jan-16 12:54:13

I am more local now, but there was a time when DH was 40 miles away, I was only about 10 miles away, but had to get the park and ride bus then pick up the car, so it was a minimum of 50 mins. DP and dILs both 2 hours away.
Fortunately being called was rare.

We once got called by nursery when we were in IKEA about 1.5 hours away, but I was able to give permission for Calpol and all was relatively fine.

I think settings are able to cope with the reality of situations, they just object when someone takes the piss (and rightly so). I don't think it's unreasonable for them to ask for an ETA as then they can manage the DCs expectations....

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