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Sickness absence - secondary school

(9 Posts)
Joolzpip Thu 03-Oct-19 21:14:32

Hi everyone. My very first thread on here so really hope you can give me some advice.
My son has a viral illness and was off school last week. He was very poorly and prescribed an inhaler. As well as reporting the absence daily,I also rang the school office to touch base and explain that the doctor was unsure if my son had asthma but just wanted to make them aware.
He returned to school this week, despite having a terrible cough.
I was contacted by the school on Tuesday to say they'd pulled him out of class for a "back to work/school" type meeting and to encourage 100% attendance. I was absolutely furious. My son is 12 and would hate to be singled out. He was ill,end of. Still isn't feeling great. In fact he's deteriorated this evening, shivering, coughing and no appetite.
How awful that I'm apprehensive about keeping him off tomorrow! I'm a working single parent also so have the added stress of finding childcare as I've just started a new job.
The problem with schools that are now academies,they are run like businesses. My son is just a number and his attendance is just their target.
Has anyone experienced anything similar?
Thank you for listening - J X
Really struggling with

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Nerdcc Thu 03-Oct-19 21:17:52

My DD had a attendance letter after having 2 days off and on one school trip! We just had a meeting with HOL! Wish you and your son the best.

LolaSmiles Thu 03-Oct-19 21:22:02

It's fairly normal to have a chat with a student who has been off for a while. It's unusual to do it by pulling someone out of lesson though.

As a tutor that's a fairly standard part of my role, to have a chat, see how they're feeling, see if there's potentially anything more to the situation (sometimes there's absence masking other issues), encourage them to be in when they can and see if they need me to do anything to support them.

I've always considered it to be a decent tutor.

If he's not well, he's not well and needs to be off. To be honest with a bad viral illness like that I'd have kept him off until he's properly better as sometimes going back at 75%/80% better is the sort of thing that will get them under the weather again

Joolzpip Thu 03-Oct-19 21:27:47

Thank you so much for your replies. Not sure how I reply to each.
But @ Nerdcc thank you for taking the time to respond and can't believe you were pulled up for that,it's insane.

LolaSmiles - That's great to get a tutor's perspective. I appreciate they're there to support him but he was almost bribed into attending, saying he'd get a token at the end of the week for a free drink if he attended! He's no problem with school as I explained to them and doesn't need encouraging. Think I'll have to see how he is in the morning......

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Joolzpip Thu 03-Oct-19 21:30:09

Also that's half the battle too. Wondering if they're well enough to return to school and almost being led by them as our doctor wasn't particularly helpful.

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LolaSmiles Thu 03-Oct-19 21:37:18

An attendance reward doesn't sound too unusual overall, but the individual nature of it is unusual.

On being well enough to go in, I maybe go against the grain in schools on this. Personally, if someone has the sniffles, a cold, run of the mill bad head, is a bit tired etc then they are well enough to go to school, just like an adult would take some paracetamol and then go to work. You don't have to be 100% and the time missing learning is time you don't get back.

If someone has had a virus or has been really unwell then I would take the approach I take for myself if I'm making a decision to be in work: there's a difference between bedridden and unfit for work. Anyone who's had a virus is probably best resting for a day after they feel ok enough and then go back when they stand a good chance of managing. A day in too soon only causes tiredness and the virus to kick back in again (in my anecdotal and not medical opinion).

Sometimes people with good attendance get a spell of nasty illness. Ultimately that's not really the biggest problem as a teacher. The biggest problem for me in terms of attendance are the students who are regularly off for snuffles, lots of 1-2 day absences, patterns of absence etc.

Joolzpip Thu 03-Oct-19 21:45:31

I totally agree with you. And I understand the need for the school to follow it up.
My son has never been off and I did feel that when he was taken out of class he was almost having to justify his absence.
I will see how he is tomorrow and fingers crossed he's ok. Thank you so much for your time and energy. Pretty blown away by the fact there are people out there listening and ready to help. It's much appreciated.

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LolaSmiles Thu 03-Oct-19 22:01:27

It's not a problem. Schools can be weird places at times. They don't always get it right, and at times are baffling.

If he's not well then keep him off. Sometimes the day or so to be better means he'll bounce back. I hope he gets well soon. This term is horrible for germs.

Joolzpip Fri 04-Oct-19 06:05:41

@LolaSmiles - Thank you again. A sleepless night but remaining positive!
There's so much pressure on these kids,but I need to take a step back. He's so worried about missing school but I keep telling him his health is his priority 🤞
Have a great weekend.

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