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Told to ignore the 48 hour rule for D&V?

(66 Posts)
CouthyMow Mon 10-Feb-14 03:16:21

My Y7 DS1's attendance is abysmal this year, due to having had flu in December, he was off for two full weeks with it - I got a written warning for that from the EWO as it pushed his attendance below 90%, and my GP refused to write a medical note without me paying £25 that I can't afford, as I'm on benefits and am already paying £40 a week to get my oldest two DC's to school.

My 3yo DS3 brought a particularly nasty tummy bug home from preschool, which has lasted a week for each of us that have had it - vomiting for 4 days, every time you eat, and then diarrhoea for 3 days after. You are in no fit state to leave the house tbh!

DS1 has been off all last week with it, and on the first day, when he threw up, he was so anxious that he was arguing that he needed
to attend school even as he was vomiting.

It turned out that he had been given a 'stern talking to' about his attendance from his HoY, and he was so concerned that he was tearful.

I contacted the school, and told them that they were making my DS1 anxious about his attendance, and that it is unfair to put so much pressure on DC's that have been genuinely ill. I have insisted that any further issues to do with attendance should be directed to me, as I am the person deciding whether he is well enough for school or not, and the level of anxiety they are causing my DS1 is unreasonable.

I then told them that he would be in when he had been 48 hours from the last incidence of D&V. They the. Told me, in no uncertain terms, that they do NOT want children away from school for 48 hours, and he should be sent to school as soon as he has stopped vomiting, EVEN if he still feels sick.

And they have said that if he is off for ANYTHING else this school year, I will be expected to provide a doctor's note.

But the GP refused to SEE DS1 for the D&V, as he was keeping water down, and diyoralyte, so therefore wasn't dehydrated, he just couldn't keep food down (or in...)

The school said to send him in, even if he feels like he will be sick, and if he's sick, they will send him home. The issue with that is that I cannot drive, and DS1 travels quite a long journey to school (moved right across the large town AFTER secondary allocations, no choice where I was moved to as Social Housing). He would have a 10 minute walk from the school to the bus stop, a 45 minute bus ride, and then a 15 minute walk to get home. How can he manage that if he has vomited at school?!

I DON'T keep my DC's off school for spurious reasons, for Y7, Y8 and Y9 my DD had 100% attendance. DS1 had lower attendance last year too - but that was because he had acute appendicitis and had an appendectomy, and had to recover from the surgery.

If I can't get a GP's appointment, I can't afford £25 for a doctors note, and the school keep saying to send him in even if he is likely to vomit, they will just 'send him home', what do I do about the EWO?

Why are the school (Now an Academy) allowed to tell parents to ignore the basic H&S requirement of 48 hours off after the last incidence of D&V?!

And why also are they allowed to insist upon doctors notes for every period of illness, when the doctor's note will cost £25?

Neither of these things are pointed out on their website or in their prospectus, and as I have a DC in Y11 at the same school, I can assure you that these policies have NOT been in place until the start of this school year. We weren't told of the change in policy, either as prospective parents of pupils joining Y7 OR as parents of existing pupils in higher year groups.

CouthyMow Mon 10-Feb-14 03:16:48

God, sorry it's so long! If you made it through that, thank you!! thanks

TerribleMother Mon 10-Feb-14 03:25:54

Sounds ridiculous to me. Can you speak with someone at the lea? If school force him to attend, and he is sick, would you have a friend/relative who could collect him? It seems bizarre that they want to risk other pupils getting the d&v, not to mention cruel to force your son to attend while still feeling unwell.

I think I would present the school and lea with any info you can get from nhs web site re 48hr rule, in writing, and ask them to give their reasons in writing for disregarding it. Would also put in writing all other aspects, and request that they pay for dr cert.

So will the dr charge for writing one only if you don't have an appt, or would they charge for writing one during an appt? I've never bed charged for a cert but have always got one during an appt.

Hope you all feel better soon.

Thumbwitch Mon 10-Feb-14 03:26:28

Poor you, and poor your DS! What a shocking state of affairs it is when children's health comes secondary to stupid attendance rates. angry

As it's an Academy, I can only assume financial pressures are involved to "maintain performance" - and it might be possible that they would suspend or even expel (whatever the current term around exclusion is) your DS for poor attendance as it woudl reflect badly on their overall figures.

Your GP sounds like a git too - he shouldn't be charging for a sick note for school, FFS!!

Can you contact the EWO yourself and explain the situation? Or is that too risky?

LUKYMUM Mon 10-Feb-14 03:30:21

I would record the conversations you have had with the doctor's surgery and the school in a diary. And then contact your local MP or Lea if things go on as they are. I can't stand when I'm feeling sick let alone travel across town.

CouthyMow Mon 10-Feb-14 04:12:18

Nope, nobody at ALL who could collect him, not even me, as I have lunchtime school runs to do to pick up 3yo DS3 from preschool this side of town and I really DO have no help. Even if I could pick him up, he would still have to do the walk, bus, walk, just with me there too.

GP won't even sign my disability bus pass form without the £25 charge. And that IS perfectly legal. Signing these things do not come under the NHS remit, and are classed as 'Private work' for the GP, so the GP can choose to do it for free, to do it for a charge of up to £25, or to just point blank refuse yo do these things at all.

My. GP surgery is 'missing' a GP right now as they are struggling to get locus to cover long term sick leave of the second GP. My GP is therefore trying to dissuade patients for. Requesting any apricots form filling by putting the maximum charge on it, as he just doesn't have time to do it. And he is perfectly legally allowed to do so.

Which leaves me in a quandary of having to pay £25 each time my DS1 gets an illness. Which is going to happen, as I have an immunocompromised 10yo at Primary and an immunocompromised 3yo at preschool, both bringing home all manner of germs that they so kindly share with the rest of us!

I am currently dealing with the tail end of the same week-long D&V bug courtesy of DS3 whilst ALSO coping with a stinker of a cold courtesy of DS2...

CouthyMow Mon 10-Feb-14 04:17:01

Thumb - they'd be bloody DAFT to expel a student with an IQ of 134 that only just missed out on the local super selective Grammar as he was coming down with appendicitis on the day of the 11+, had his appendix out two days later, and is top of the list for the Grammar...

Just because he has more illnesses than usual, which happens when you have two immunocompromised siblings bringing home twice as many germs as other DC's siblings would (both I.C. DC's have started new educational settings this school year, so are coming across new illnesses IYSWIM), it doesn't mean that it is affecting his grades and ability.

I can't see the school excluding him, as he is their 'star pupil' that they 'poached' from the GS, but they WILL be likely to fine me, which right now, I can afford like a hole in the head...

Ubik1 Mon 10-Feb-14 04:53:48

Right you need to put this writing, can you type a letter? You need to send to school/ attendance person and I would also send a copy to your GP.

Put in it that school is advising you send your child to school even if he is still feeling sick. Ask them for a response.

Keep a copy of letter for yourself.

Thumbwitch Mon 10-Feb-14 05:50:40

Couthy, doesn't look like they're exactly behaving with any level of sense at the moment anyway - just being rigidly jobsworth about the dotted i's and crossed t's, which makes me think that either they're wankers (possible) or they've got something going on in the background.

Maybe go to a Governor's meeting and put forward your case and ask for some kind of assistance, either towards paying for the doctor's certs, or for a more flexible approach to his need for them.

DwellsUndertheSink Mon 10-Feb-14 06:09:51

Keep him home, and ignore the school. When the EWO calls, explain your situation with the younger ones (and also, Y7 kids are always sick too - new batch of germs in secondary) and also about the duty of care for your son should he need to come home - absolutely unrealistic to send a child home on the bus when they are vomiting.

Can you look at moving him to another school that is closer?

MinesAPintOfTea Mon 10-Feb-14 06:15:17

couthy put it in writing, cc the head of governors to ask them to confirm this change in policy.

Also go to your gp when you can and ask about appendicitis lowering the immune system: I lost a job after several stomach bugs in the following year.

ivykaty44 Mon 10-Feb-14 06:18:33

Send him in and if he is sick tell the school you don't have s car to pick up so they will need to get him home, they don't just let them out on there own do they?

I sent dd in feeling dick she was dick in the classroom and low and behold they called me to fetch her. Pity the poor person that has to clear up vomit but this is how the school want it

GiraffesAndButterflies Mon 10-Feb-14 06:35:48

I would mention in your letter that you expect your DS's time off school to increase if they are routinely telling parents to ignore the 48hr rule, as this will inevitably mean that all children are bringing in more D&V bugs.

If you do send him in, tell the poor boy as soon as he feels sick to go up to the teacher to tell them... So hopefully he spreads his bug to the staff and they can learn exactly how bloody stupid this is!

LifeIsBetterInFlipFlops Mon 10-Feb-14 06:48:42

Agree with the poster who said to write all this down and send to school. Also ask for them to pay for doctor's note.
This one size policy for all just doesn't work for you.
You are articulate and rational, so stay calm, keep repeating your circumstances and hopefully you'll make headway.
Good luck.

ivykaty44 Mon 10-Feb-14 06:59:45

I wouldn't ask the school to pay, I would explain that they can pay if they want but you will not be paying and hand them the name and address of gp to contact to arrange payment

CouthyMow Mon 10-Feb-14 07:12:34

Minesapint - now THAT doesn't surprise me, to learn that he has also got issues with his immunity. He was always as healthy as an ox before the appendectomy, yet since then he's caught everything going, and been ill for twice as long as he used to be!

He's well enough today, thank god, to go back, but I dread him getting ill with anything else!

ivykaty44 Mon 10-Feb-14 07:15:45

Make sure you let him know that washing his hands is a major factor in preventing illness and he needs to use soap not just water!

I found dd wasn't using the nasty brown soap at school, but she wasn't aware that water alone was just pointless...

CouthyMow Mon 10-Feb-14 07:17:34

There isn't a closer school with spaces, catchment school is a) Full and b) requires a bus journey anyway. Where I live now is sort of mid way between three Secondaries. That are ALL full.

Ivy, they DO send them home alone. To travel on public transport. Whilst puking. They have already done it once, when he had only been in Y7 for two weeks. He was only off 48hrs for that one.

They've done it once with Y11 DD too.

Can't order a taxi as taxis refuse to pick up sick DC's.

So he's had a tummy bug, flu and a long tummy bug since September.

CouthyMow Mon 10-Feb-14 07:19:06

Ivy - he's actually VERY good at hand washing, he washes his hands like a doctor. Which is what he wants to be...

AuntieStella Mon 10-Feb-14 07:24:51

You definitely need to ask the school to put this in writing.

Also, just visit the GP. If the school asks for sick note, tell them you will supply them with an authorisation to talk to the GP about contact on [specified date only] as you cannot afford to use non-NHS services (ie non-required sick note) and the school cannot demand you buy private services even from your own GP. (Wonders if they'll bother once burden of admin is transferred back to them).

I'm sorry you're going through this when you have so much else going on.

And I do get a bit frothy on threads where people say "just call them in sick" when they want an absence, because this is what tightening up on sick absences following abuse of the system really looks like, and an example of who it really hurts.

ivykaty44 Mon 10-Feb-14 07:27:27

That's good!

Rooners Mon 10-Feb-14 07:34:06

Our GPs also don't do sick notes for children. It's not unusual - I did offer to pay but they still wouldn't do it and I don't blame them

You shouldn't be taking a child with D&V to a surgery anyway as you know - that's me stating the obvious and agreeing with you.

I think in this situation it would be helpful to know if the school can legally do anything if you refuse to comply.

I would be refusing to comply fwiw. I would write to the school, by email, copying in the chair of governors, and the EWO if I had their details (ring and ask for email address maybe) stating that I am complying with the HPA guidelines [link] and that if they have a problem with that they may take it as far as they wish, however sending a sick child to school is likely to cause a lot more absence (among other children and teachers) than it solves.

Some schools have taken the new laws and run with them without using any common sense - they will come down off their high horse in time because they will have to. It's an adjustment period as they get used to them.

They are probably all mouth - the EWO dept will be utterly sick of this crap because it takes their attention off the families who really are a problem.

Good luck. (oh - last time I had a similar issue I rang the EW office myself to make sure they were onside - they were, completely)

ivykaty44 Mon 10-Feb-14 07:41:40

What is ew and ewo?

ivykaty44 Mon 10-Feb-14 07:42:50

What is hpa?

Thank can't find them on mumsnet index?

Rooners Mon 10-Feb-14 07:47:24

Educ welfare office (r)

health prot agency (website has list of illnesses and (self)exclusion times)

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