Probable fine for low attendance after genuine illness.

(92 Posts)
Quietlife333 Fri 26-Apr-19 12:01:34

Cut a long story short youngest ds of three has managed to catch every bug going since September this year. This is not usual for him, he is otherwise well normally but has had tummy bug with the runs, serious throat bug with temperatures, vomiting bug and a really bad cold with tummy pain. His attendance was just above 90%
School reported us to welfare officer who said it’s fine I can see he has been genuinely ill. Also that attendance is going in the right direction now but next time you must provide evidence.
So DS was absent again for two days after picking up another bug at school very bad cold running nose bleary eyes tummy pain sneezing and coughing.
Our G.P will not provide evidence to be given to schools to account for children’s absence as policy.
I’m pretty sure we will be fined. But there is not a lot I can do other than send a sick child into school to avoid a fine. Which I’m not allowed to do by school policy.
Has anybody else been in this situation and how did it pan out? Frankly if they fine us I’m planning to recoup the costs by opting out of paying for any school trips. Until I cover the cost of the fine. I don’t think it’s fair to penalise parents for keeping genuinely sick kids home from school and while I don’t want to do this I don’t see anyway around it.

OP’s posts: |
Helix1244 Fri 26-Apr-19 12:25:08

He does sound ill. But schools usually only say they have to be off for things like Chicken pox or D&V.

clary Fri 26-Apr-19 12:43:19

Sorry he has been so ill. I wouldn't personally keep a child off school for a cold though. Think if you would stay off work for it?

greenelephantscarf Fri 26-Apr-19 12:46:32

is it a 'snotty nose and cough' type cold or a 'fever and lethargic' kind?
first one = school
second one = stay at home

BlueJag Fri 26-Apr-19 12:46:51

Talk to the school and see if you can work something out with them. Alternatively and this is awful send your poor boy to school and let them call you to pick him up.
I did that once and within 20 minutes they wanted him to be picked up.
My friend send her son to school feeling unwell and they called her after 5 minutes because he vomited at the entrance of the school.
Sometimes we have to sacrifice our kids to get a point across unfortunately.

Darkbaptism Fri 26-Apr-19 12:47:37

He was unwell not on holiday, I don’t think you should get a fine - I also see nothing wrong with keeping him off when you feel he’s too unwell to go in.

Romax Fri 26-Apr-19 12:48:37

How old?
What kind of attendance do your other children have? And at the same school?


Quietlife333 Fri 26-Apr-19 12:53:20

He was too unwell to go to school, up early hours with tummy pain nose running like a tap and coughing and sneezing. Warm to touch but not a temperature. Not in a position to learn put it that way 😂 attendance has always been fine it’s just this year he just seems to have caught it all.
Im sure we will get a fine. I’ve always informed the school of his illness each time in good time with symptoms so they know we aren’t jetting off anywhere. Hopefully he will buck up and that will be the last of it. Have to say he is the year 3 I wouldn’t like to see him say in the medical room alone all day snotty coughing sneezing and bored out of his mind so that the register can get ticked.

OP’s posts: |
makingmiracles Fri 26-Apr-19 12:55:22

CLAry, depends massively though doesn’t it, you could have a mild cough, sniffles, bit of a cough/ sore throat, or could be a cold like my dd had over the Easter hols-cough, sore throat, runny nose, runny eyes, stomach pain, nausea and temp of 39.4, I’d send my dc to school for the former but not the latter.

This whole thing annoys me massively, I can understand when you have parents that are keeping their child off a lot and there are other concerns, but when a child has generally good attendance it should be up to the parent to deem wether their child is well enough for school, not the schools decision.

PenelopeFlintstone Fri 26-Apr-19 12:57:08

I wouldn’t like to see him say in the medical room alone all day snotty coughing sneezing and bored out of his mind so that the register can get ticked. I completely agree. It's ridiculous.

Quietlife333 Fri 26-Apr-19 12:57:10

I know a parent who has done this recently sent their little one in after a couple of days off- as school called to “check” on them school sent them home, the same day, and the next day. The parent then gets a letter complaining about the absence. It seems like we can’t win.

OP’s posts: |
Ihatemyseleffordoingthis Fri 26-Apr-19 12:59:09

I think I would follow up your ringing in with a written (paper) note explaining the symptoms and why he can't attend. At DDs secondary school this suffices as evidence. (and whilst they claim it they are not allowed to compel you to provide evidence, anyway)

I'd also arrange to speak to someone at the school and ask if they genuinely think you are a feckless parent who doesn't value education. By engaging in this way fining will appear unreasonable. Also its not really in their interests to start marking these absences unauthorised, or to piss parents off uneccessarily.

Quietlife333 Fri 26-Apr-19 13:07:52

I think- although I’m not 100 % they are legally bound to report you to the council. So I don’t think they are able to use digression. Not sure if this is nationwide or varies depending on your council.

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redredrobins Fri 26-Apr-19 13:08:51

I think it is really strange the way schools behave nowadays, my DC are in their thirties and when they were at school it was accepted that parents decided if they were too ill for school. The way schools and the government seem to treat children as cash cows just astounds me!
They are your children! You decide what is best for them! How the nanny state has got so overpowering is actually really scary. (and yes I know some kids and parents take the mick) but the minority who take advantage shouldn't be an excuse for the government to take control of the law abiding majority.

Ihatemyseleffordoingthis Fri 26-Apr-19 13:14:16

That might be policy, but I don't think it's law
They may choose to report any unevidenced abscence that tips you under 90% attendance as unauthorised (that is one DCs school's party line), but they would be pretty stupid to do so. LEA IMO unlikely to fine you if you have a paper trail that shows you have engaged wiht them and its not actually that you skived them to go Alton Towers/shopping/because you were in bed smoking weed. Hence suggestion about the written note and emailing/meeting.

Quietlife333 Fri 26-Apr-19 13:36:43

Robins- I completely agree this is also my opinion.
I am going to follow your suggestion there. We have been perfectly honest and reasonable with the school. But will drop a further line. Thanks all for your replies.

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Darkbaptism Fri 26-Apr-19 14:00:01

My sons attendance was around 80% last year. We didn’t have any correspondence from the LEA. The school didn’t demand proof either, they were happy to take my word for it (DS was very unwell and in and out of hospital). The only time I provided proof was when the school were claiming back the costs of the residential trip couldn’t attend.

admission Fri 26-Apr-19 17:38:16

I do not believe that schools should be going after families who have genuine children who are ill and therefore not average 95% attendance. It is ridiculous, they should be concentrating on those families where the attendance is low because they simply cannot be bothered to get their children to school for one reason or another.
In terms of your plan to "recoup" money for fine by not paying for voluntary trips, unfortunately you are not recouping just penalising because the school do not get the fine,the LA gets the fine.

Quietlife333 Fri 26-Apr-19 18:37:38

Hi admission-
yes I agree it would penalise the school and not the LEA. It’s not something I look forward to doing. Just as I’m sure the school don’t enjoy reporting parents when they know full well their children are genuinely ill.
I do however think that schools need to start standing up to bully boy nanny state tactics by LEA if they don’t agree with them. If the school are willing to provide information that leads to me being fined then I am prepared to make them pay that fine in effect.

OP’s posts: |
ASauvignonADay Fri 26-Apr-19 18:42:13

Whether they decide to fine is up to their discretion - there is nothing to say they have too. It's hard to judge as schools/LAs all work slightly differently but in our LA we wouldn't refer it for a fine if it was for illness - we can, but choose not to.

Quietlife333 Fri 26-Apr-19 18:50:47

thanks- Fingers crossed they won’t go to a fine.

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fizzybubblepop Fri 26-Apr-19 19:03:10

I'm a teacher and attendance is an absolute nightmare at the school I work at. We have LA breathing down our necks to improve it. There is an attendance officer who comes in and trawls through all the kids with poor attendance then letters go out etc. There isn't an awful lot the school can do! I completely agree with you OP and wouldn't send my DC into school when they are unwell. I also wish some parents would keep their poorly children off more as when they come in poorly the bugs spread to everyone else usually me included!!!

Honeydukes92 Fri 26-Apr-19 19:09:54

This happened to a friend of mine and she sent the school an email along the lines of ‘the Dr surgery will not provide me with a note as it is not NHS policy to do so. However, they have advised that if YOU want evidence then YOU can request this and pay the applicable fees. They will provide this information to you upon YOUR request but will not provide it to me as it is against NHS policy!’

The issue is that every school/uni/workplace now demand sick notes but the NHS is NOT there to provide these! The school know this, and I guarentee that they won’t request the info.

Quietlife333 Fri 26-Apr-19 19:31:00

Fizzy- this is the problem- kids end up in school who shouldn’t be there- they then pass illness around. I know it can’t be helped to a degree but it becomes the culture that kids go in no matter what. I have heard my lot’s stories of mid-assembly vomit drama too many times now 🤢 I’ve even had a conversation with a parent who sent her dd in with the runs. What do you even say to that one? 😬

OP’s posts: |
MeMeMeYou Fri 26-Apr-19 19:36:39

I had a narky letter for my daughter who was just above 90 from having caught around 3 different bugs for a couple of days at a time. Annoyingly they’d included the morning she visited a secondary school and two 11+ test mornings in their absence figure which brought it down another 2% even tho they knew she was doing these. I tried to argue for the schools benefit too that they categorise these as educational visit or educated off site but their replies suggested they didn’t understand my point. I just try to push poor dd in if she’s ill now Unless it’s d and v. Son never has a day off he’s so healthy by comparison!

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