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The school attendance system needs an overhaul; just sent poorly DD to school, because if I keep her off I have to get 'medical attention' or she gets an unauthorised absense

(56 Posts)
KatyMac Wed 05-Feb-14 08:34:34

She has a 'virus' eg a bad cold; she needs fluids, paracetamol & rest. It's fairly bad - she has missed 2 nights of dance class

She is grey and looks awful; but because she has asthma and a fairly ropey health record I'm not qualified to judge if she is well enough to go to school or not hmm so I have to send her in

Last May they sent her home too ill to attend on Tuesday & gave her UA for the Wednesday hmm - it was her only one ever!!

This is wrong

Onesleeptillwembley Wed 05-Feb-14 08:41:50

Because she has asthma and isn't well you aren't qualified to judge if she's well enough or not to attend? That doesn't even make sense. What point are you actually attempting to make?

OddBoots Wed 05-Feb-14 08:44:17

I'm not sure I understand. Is it the amount of sickness leave she has already had this year that means the school is asking for a medical note?

Pantone363 Wed 05-Feb-14 08:45:11

I agree. DD was ill yesterday and today with a cold/temp/sore throat. I sent her in whereas previously I'd of kept her off.

No mod toes note (waste of resources) and she'll get an UA. I don't care if she does but then she misses out on all the treats the school gives for 100% attendance.

KatyMac Wed 05-Feb-14 08:45:19

The school's attendance officer thinks I keep her off when she is well enough for school - so the school get to decided if she is ill enough to be off

I just got the call - she is being sent home

VoiceoversSoundSmug Wed 05-Feb-14 08:46:30

My children have complex medical needs, so I sent the school this link, to let them know I know the new rules! wink I was threatened with prison and fines and all sorts by education welfare, the children were not sent work and all sorts. The stress!

BitOutOfPractice Wed 05-Feb-14 08:48:25

It is absolutely bonkers. Box ticking target meeting at it's very worst. Makes my blood boil

Hope your DD is better soon OP

GlitzAndGiggles Wed 05-Feb-14 08:48:54

But won't it still be classed as a UA because she's been sent home? And what about the 48 hour rule?

VoiceoversSoundSmug Wed 05-Feb-14 08:55:14

It seems to me that EWO's seem to think they are demi Gods, after dealing with these individuals myself.

They think they have a right to blanket medical information on a child and they seem to think they have medical degree's and ESP abilities too hmm. The one I dealt with was not the brightest spark and the accent she had didn't help, along with not using correct words, she was the sort to use "was" incorrectly instead of "were", and I would image instead of lending her something, she would ask for a borrow.

TantrumsAndBalloons Wed 05-Feb-14 08:55:26

How on earth does the school have the right to say that you are not qualified to judge if your dd is ill?

Sorry but I'm afraid I'd tell them to stick that up their arse.

There's no way on earth I will be sending my DCs out school for them to decide if they had to go back home again.

MrsBright Wed 05-Feb-14 08:55:29

Is this just your kid because of repeated illness or is the same policy for all kids, all absences?

noblegiraffe Wed 05-Feb-14 09:01:11

On the other hand there are parents who keep their kid home at the first sign of a sniffle, and if the kid were actually sent in they'd be fine. How to tell the difference?

cory Wed 05-Feb-14 09:01:16

I know how you feel. I kept forcing dd to go to school when she wasn't well because I was terrified of what the school could do to us. In the end she started school refusing. She ended up taking an overdose. sad

Thankfully we were by then dealing with a new school who cared more about the welfare of their pupils than about what the EWO might think about them.

Hope your dd feels better soon, Katy.

KatyMac Wed 05-Feb-14 09:09:37

She is 16 - I have a fair idea of when she is ill (usually when she is a revolting colour/struggling to breathe/D&V) rather than when she is pulling a fast one

I think it's anyone at the school with more than 'normal' time off

prh47bridge Wed 05-Feb-14 09:50:55

This isn't a problem with the system. It is a problem with those schools that behave like this. Absence for sickness must be marked as such. It is not unauthorised absence. That is what the law says.

If absence for sickness is excessive or the school has reason to believe it is being used when the pupil is not genuinely sick there is some justification in asking for evidence to confirm sickness. In the circumstances described by the OP I can see no justification whatsoever for the school's behaviour.

KatyMac Wed 05-Feb-14 11:18:37

She does get ill a lot PRH - but there isn't a lot I can do - she is well nourished, she takes her medication & she still gets a lot of infections

It's frustrating but I wish they believed me (esp as keeping her off is awkward)

prh47bridge Wed 05-Feb-14 12:41:25

There seems to be a lack of common sense in the school's approach. Sending your daughter home one day because she is too ill then marking the next as unauthorised absence is just ridiculous.

Have you tried talking to the head? If you aren't happy with the responses you are getting from the head and want to take it further you could refer it to the governors.

KatyMac Wed 05-Feb-14 17:02:06

When I rang to ask why - they explained they didn't know she was still ill & I should have seen a GP

I laughed & pointed out:
a) the UA stats were the schools problems not DD's or mine
b) if it went to court as they had sent her home the day before on the balance of probabilities the court would believe me
c) she is in Yr11 & leaves in the summer

The lady stammered a bit and said "well I suppose......"

KatyMac Wed 05-Feb-14 17:02:35

They employ an attendance officer.......

titchy Wed 05-Feb-14 17:04:03

I think all secondaries employ attendance officers!

KatyMac Wed 05-Feb-14 17:07:48

Do they? They presented it as a new & exciting thing hmm

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 05-Feb-14 17:10:08

It's really not on

She had glandular fever didn't she? My brother had it around the same age & it took a few years to fully regain his health.

KatyMac Wed 05-Feb-14 17:24:35

I think by Easter they had 'downgraded' it to post viral fatigue as she had bounced so well after it.

I think her asthma makes her vulnerable to upper respiratory infections, and makes it easier for them to turn into chest infections plus a 'cough' can cause asthmatic attacks so rather than a restless night (in a child without asthma) you get a totally awake coughing your guts up, struggling for breath and wheezing - which is really hard to go to school after.

She is learning to listen to her body and take it easy when things rear up; as a slow day near the start of a 'cold' can mean the difference between a cold & a chest infection. Because she really pushes her body - she has a good diet,takes her medicine regularly and is very, very fit which helps any infected phlegm from sitting on her chest. When she was younger this wasn't the case so she had much more time off yrs7-9 (at least mid way yr9 then it all changed).

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 05-Feb-14 18:45:05

I totally sympathise. I was like that myself as a child (though I seemed to outgrow it by about 14

Between the ages of 10-12 i pretty much didn't attend school much in the winter.

Up all night wheezing & coughing, every cold turning to a chest infection. Not being able to breathe (& a dr who wouldnt prescribe an inhalor - after ayear of agony the energency dr who came out late at night gave ne one) wouldn't wish it on anyone.

lljkk Wed 05-Feb-14 18:55:29

Katy, I am same LEA as you, unless her school is now an Academy?
This website shows the policy as well as I understand it and it's supposed to apply to all.
And informally I'm hearing it would take a lot worse to trigger fines.
I wouldn't worry about the odd day here and there.

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