Summonsed over attendance(24 Posts)
I received a letter from DS's school today, asking me at attend a meeting with the Head of Year and an Educational Welfare Officer as DS' attendance is 80%!
I was horrified, then realised that school had only been open for 21 days when they wrote the letter and DS has had 3 days off (on 2 occasions) and a dental appointment that they have classed as a half day.
DS had 2 off with Young Man Flu and one day last week when he was complaining of a headache, he had been the victim of an un-intended assault the day before when a boy had been pushed into him with such force that the intended victim lost consciousness!
DS has a brace so has quite a few dental appointments, in fact he has one next week.
He has AS and has a appointment with School Health next week again.
He has been at the school for 3 years and has no previous attendance problems. I can't help wanting to tell them to get lost as I feel they are over-reacting.
They want to discuss a plan to improve his attendance, I don't believe they have come up with a cure for the common cold though.
I really shouldn't tell them to piss off should I?
You shouldn't, but I can see why you would want to!
Orthodontist appointments are very common in yr 8/9/10, schools know this and they know about the ongoing appointments
Saturday / Evening appointments are for private patients only, DS is beind treated on the NHS.
The surgery is next to the school so it's annoying that a one hour absence is being counted as half a day, I must get clever and ensure he registers first then goes.
I just got annoyed at the patronising use of "we need to find a way forward to ensure that we support X in attending school on a regular basis" like the last 3 years attendance hadn't happened!
Tell them the plan to improve his attendance is to wait till the end of term and do the sums again. Unless something drastic happens, it will have magically improved to 97% or the like.
It always seems more sensible to book appointments as early as possible and go straight there and then on to school but for attendance it's far better to send them in to registration, then take them out for an appointment - far more disruptive! Alternatively, late afternoon - once they have registered they are classed as 'there'! It's irrelevant if they leave 5 mins later.
I think I'd just send in a letter declining the offered meeting, explaining that in view of the fact that these absences were for medical reasons you cannot see any way that you or the school can improve your son's attendance without compromising his health by sending him to school when he is ill or in need of treatment.
Tianc that was my though exactly!
The letter says that if we are unable to attend they would like to take the opportunity to meet with DS in our absence and they will inform us of the outcome. I would not be happy with that - DS has AS and takes things very literally.
I phoned the school today asking for his attendance percentage in years 7, 8 and 9 but was told I'd have to ask the Head of Year, who sent me the stupid letter!
Can I refuse to allow them to meet with DS either?
I can understand why this is irritating, but schools are expected to deal with poor attendance, and nip it in the bud. your son could suddenyl have developed issues over the summer that were causing him problems with school - they don't want to let that go on for long without trying to help.
I think you should go along to the meeting, and say what you've told us here - these days were a virus, these were such-and-such, and there are ongoing dentist appointments.
Then they can tick their box that says they've met you and discussed it, and nobody gets worried.
I would just send them a letter thanking them for picking up on something so important but the situation is thus:
He has had good attendance in years x, x, y but this term, only x weeks in, he has had an unfortunate spate of problems (then list them). You sincerely hope that his attendance will no improve considerably. Also ask if you can calll in to discuss with the school the essential dentistry appointments coming up (where he isn't ill) to minimise the effect on his learning.
Agree with Kez100. I would write a letter, setting out the situation exactly as you have here, including his history of good attendance and the reasons for the dip this term. Also undertake to make sure dentist appointments are scheduled in such a way as to avoid missing a registration (our school encourages people to do this, so that they don't skew the figures).
Conclude the letter by saying "in view of the above, I will assume it is not necessary for us to meet to discuss the matter further."
Although if you are worried about them meeting DS alone and unsettling him, you might not want to leave it without getting some kind of undertaking from them that they won't do that.
Having looked at the DoE's website about new goverment guidance on attendance figures I can see where the school is coming from better, they are only following procedure. The easiest option is to go to the bloody meeting but I don't wish to take a day off work to do so, I've got my attendance to think of!
tell DH to go see if DH is available or consider the letter option.
"The easiest option is to go to the bloody meeting but I don't wish to take a day off work to do so, I've got my attendance to think of!"
Could you offer to "meet" by telephone?
No matter how annoying this might be, don't tell them to fuck off, they are doing their job. Poor attendance has a huge impact on achievement and I have known pupils who had good attendance in early years but then slipped. I am by no mean suggesting it is your case but they seem to be on the ball so good on them! Maybe a quick phone call to the head of year will do the trick.
You thank them for the letter and say you would love to discuss the matter further but would like the appointment rearranged for the begining or the end of the day because you have also to attend work. You then say something like when you send me another letter, please would you include details of DS's attendance during years 7 and 8 so that I can calculate the percentage of his overall absence since starting at the school - perhaps you could do this for me and set out how you work out the figure.
I do look forward to meeting you and perhaps we can also discuss the adjustments you have put in place ot support my DS's AS to ensure he achieves his full potential by the end of Y11.
With thanks for your anticipated attention.
Nothing better than an FU that makes them do the work to realise the idiotic futility of their officiousness.
You are photocopying the dental cards and sending them in with the letter of absence?
Often these letters auto generate.
The percentage goes up and down all year. If your dc went every day from now until say, half term the record would be right up the top gain. The whole thing is ridiculous. I would go and have the meeting, and state about ds only needing an hour out of school for appt and that is classed as a half day. State that percentage was taken over only 21 days.
They will soon see your point.
<< snorts at idiotic futility of their officiousness >> I'm afraid I didn't use this line.
I phoned the HOY today, saying that I was unable to wait until our meeting next week and needed to talk to him before then as DS has an orthodontist appointment this Thursday and I needed to ensure this would not result in another absence.
I was, of course politeness personnified saying I understood how important this was. I said the the absences through sickness were unavoidable but I needed to ensure that his next appointment did not generate another absence, it would have done, as the appointment is 12:15 and KS4 registration is at 12:20! If DS sees HOY before he goes, they'll mark him as present.
Apparently his attendance is now up to 84.5% since they contacted me a week ago - fancy that!
i think that it is only a cause for concern if falls below 83% so you are already out of the danger zone I think. Or it could be 85% in which case another day in school should put paid to that
I think we'll manage that!
HOY, who sounded very nice, is going to have an informal word with DS so hopefully he won't try to skive!
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