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Just got a letter from school attendance officer...(8 Posts)
I just got this letter, informing me that DS's attendance has dropped below 93% & that is a cause for concern. My DS, 5 & in reception,has ASD & has had every bug going these last few terms. He has always been prone to tummy bugs, temperatures & the last week he has spent in bed asleep, rarely eating a bite. I don't have a car, so don't think it is worth upsetting my sick, highly sensitive son to drag him & DS 3 to the doctors & back ( waiting for bus in cold etc..) Is this what I should do every time my son has a tummy bug ? I have apologised to his teachers about his attendance, but have explained that I am not allowed to send him in with a tummy bug... The letter said I should have sent a note in upon my son's return to school, but school have not told me this. I will be doing that in future. The last time I called the docs, they were filled up by 8.45 am & I would've had to have gone to next town's drop in center... I feel like a terrible mum, now...My son is waiting to be diagnosed ( private SALT's report in the interim has confirmed he has Social communication disorder) & I wonder would the attendance officer be more understanding of my son's absence, if he knew this. I should add that when my son is ill, I read with him & try to keep up with his learning,as much as he feels up to it. He reads very well( he read 'Beauty & the beast' last night, cover to cover, identifying each punctuation mark !!), can breeze through his 1- 12 times tables & is ploughing is way through a Key stage 1 cd rom, so his school work is not suffering. Should I phone this chap & voice my concerns, or just be more vigilant with making docs appointments, when DS is poorly ?
I'd just ignore it because it isn't aimed at parents with disabled sick reception age children who are engaged with their schooling. It's to protect the less lucky ones.
I think a lot of schools and Local Authorities have letters like this now. To an extent it is a "tick box" response as schools get judged on their absence rates as well as everything else and are expected to be seen to be doing something about "persistent absentees" (anyone whose attendance drops below a certain level) . And so they send these letters out when any dc's attendance falls below this. It's not in any way personal to your situation.
However, in my view, it may be worth putting something in writing to the school just stating that your ds has only been off because he's had a lot of infections and that it wouldn't have benefited him or his classmates if you'd taken him in. Then if there are any attendance problems in the future of any kind you have shown that you have acknowledged the letter and aren't ignoring the issue. But I wouldn't get too worried about it. And I wouldn't be rushing to take a child to the GP to "prove" they were ill unless I had specfic concerns about their health.
You are doing the right thing to not put your son through added stress when he is ill. Unfortunately, schools and loca l authorities do send these knee-jerk letters out to lots of parents. I got one threatening me with "imprisonment" and fines when my Y2 son had 3 weeks off school with pneumonia, about which the school had been clearly informed. I was barely coping at the time and was very distressed so I understand where you're coming from. You could speak to the headmaster or attendance officer, or write a letter I agree. Who knows you may get a nice one . Regardless, stick to your guns. Keep the school informed, in writing. Keep copies. Don't give it any more of your time or energy that you have to <hugs>
Thanks everyone, for the advice. I will write a letter to the school & 'officer' & will keep them well informed in the future.
Soundoftheni' ,that must have been very upsetting, when they threatened you with imprisonment for essentially, taking good care of your son !! Traumatic enough when your DC is ill, but to add that into the equation...
Put the ball in their court.
'Given my son has ASD delay in self-care skills, please could you ensure his toileting and handwashing are properly supervised. Poor hygiene means he is frequently picking up illnesses at school and this is affecting his attendance.'
Thanks MeirAya, that's good thinking. Is it ok to ask things like that, though ? I don't want to get his teacher into trouble ( or to create bad feeling), though. I think I will mention to his teacher to pay extra attention with washing his hands, etc. I stupidly didn't even think of this when my son caught these various bugs !
'Please could you ensure staffing levels are reviewed so that his excellent teacher & TA will have time to...."
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