This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
To think it's all a catch 22(11 Posts)
Hi. I'm just finding this whole attendance targets/ don't send your children in poorly thing confusing. The policy we got when DD started school stated 95%, if it drops below 90% then action begins. Worst case scenarios are court, fines, prosecution or prison. All sounds abit intimidating!
My DD is in reception. She's 4. She has had one day off in September with a heavy cold.
Two weeks ago she vomited in the car. It was travel sickness but I had to be sure so took her home. That was a wasted day off!
Yesterday she woke up with a dreadful cold. My fears over attendance made me Calpol her up and send her in. I told myself she would be ok. They expect you to send them in. My friends child has been awful for 2 weeks. He's had a bad cold and his cough is terrible. Yet he's not had a single day off with it. This made me think even more I should send mine in. Everyone else's kids are currently full of it and not having time off. Half hour after dropping her off I get a phone call. She's very pale and her eyes are watering, she looks like she needs a day off. So I happily collected her. I explained that I was worried we would be in trouble for poor attendance. The support teacher said we were fine, we would not be penalised and it was authorised. She assured me she could stay home today too if she's Ill. Unfortunately she is still poorly. So she's off again today. So now it's 4 days. I presume her attendance is around 90% now. Will a letter come to us now? Or is the 90% based on the whole year not one term?
Obviously come spring she will be healthier as will all kids. Its just the awful weather and bugs being rife in november-march.
Has anyone ever been punished with fines etc for attendance?
If anyone has been fined for medical absences (which count as authorised) then that really should be investigated - it's a clear breach of the law and the policy.
Schools should be clamping down on unauthorised absences.
You might get an attendance letter which refers to medical (and any other authorised) absence - which they might do, as they are all still absences - so do keep,a note of absences, their causes and note if/when you saw an HCP, just in case anyone is confused later
In one half term DD had
1 day off for a bug
2 days off for scarlet fever
6 days off for D&V
School considered it a run of bad luck- and had indeed sent her home twice. Children get ill. Schools know that children get ill.
She doesn't have to be at school until the term aftet her 5th birthday, so I don't think they can fine you until then.
I also think if you work with the school you will be fine. The first thing they would do if concerned would be have a chat with you. The day they sent her home after registration probably won't count as she was there first thing.
Thank you. I hope she becomes healthier soon. I fear I will be worrying about this every winter. It's all abit backwards that a standard letter is sent out. They should ask the school first and they should say it's genuine. My friend had an 8 year old last year who was off for 2.5 weeks over the winter period. She had stomach bugs and loads of colds and fevers. Her mum was told she had to send her in no matter what from now on and they will decide whether she's Ill. It's abit insulting to parents who are able to work out for themselves if their child is I'll. I don't really think racking up ten days over the winter is such a shocker for small people and they set the target too high for infant years.
I work in a secondary school with awful attendance and am involved in the discipline/ attendance process, we're still pretty reluctant to give out fines especially if the missed time period is all in one bloc as opposed to they turn up to school 2 hours late because they slept in (if your not sub 75% we rarely take it to court but sure we might talk to the parent if it goes sub 90%).
Don't worry, if your child is sick take them off school and just make it clear to the school your child is sick. She is 4, teachers will understand 4 year old get ill.
On the other hand I do frequently make my children go into school when a little sick because both me and DH work and it's real difficult to find childcare for a sick child. Ultimately they survive.
I would trust your judgement and only take her in if she's well enough to go. Develop a good relationship with the school and it's unlikely you'll ever have any issues. My eldest was sick so often in reception - I think he was just tired and caught every bug going. He also throws up easily and so had lots of 2 day absences. It was never an issue.
Thank you. That's good to know it rarely goes to court. I've been so worried as my daughter was quite ill last winter, as was my son who ended up in hospital at 14 months with pneumonia. I was anxious before she started about her going through winter almost as soon as she started. Fingers crossed we can muddle through until after christmas now and get the attendance up abit. I think by Easter she will be fine unless a stomach bug gets us. Teenagers are another story arnt they. I can imagine some parents really struggle to get them to school when they are stubborn 15 year olds. I feel sorry for parents who get into trouble because of them!
It's really not fair expecting a four year old to be as strong as 10 years olds. They can't take care of themselves yet can they.
My DD also is easily sick and throws up for no reason sometimes. Fingers crossed she will have a few good weeks now. Again it's a catch 22 because there's plenty of kids in class with horrible coughs and colds this week. It's bound to spread. I can't be the only one either with a child off school x
As far as I'm concerned if a child is ill they should be at home not spreading their germs all round the class. Children who are ill don't learn anything anyway.
The autumn term is always the worst for bugs.
I hate attendance certificates rewarding 100% rates. Children don't become ill on purpose. Both my DCs have asthma and have been hospitalised, my son has been on children's ward on oxygen for 4-5 days at a time several times. If he is struggling I will not send him to school.
Conversely I know one mum who kept her child off school for 36 days last year. All for colds. She'd take him to the park etc. Not acceptable.
It can be hard to know if kids, are too unwell to be at school but obviously D&V is a big no-no (48 hour rule) and I don't send them in with a temperature.
Children get sick.
You can't be fined if under age although they may send letters or invite for an interview.
If a child is off sick early in the year then their percentage can drop massively. The average is over the year. You would expect the EWO involvement before 90%. You don't refer to fines for genuine reasons and you would have generally done several random visits well before a child hits 90%. Each case is different and specific to that child.