My feed

to access all these features

Join our Primary Education forum to discuss starting school and helping your child get the most out of it.

Primary education

Lateness at primary school - what can they actually DO to the parent?

92 replies

charliecat · 04/06/2008 18:25

My friends school are hounding her for being late.
They have said the EWO officer will be involved next time.
So if she pretends they are sick for the WHOLE DAY nothing happens and they miss a day at school.
But if they are 5 mins late shes hit on like a ton of bricks...anyway, what can they do about lateness?

OP posts:
nametaken · 04/06/2008 19:43

I was waiting for someone to play the "depressed" card - I've been depressed too, but still managed to get my children to school on time, washed, fed, with correct uniform/sports kit/recorder/school trip money.

This woman has

eldest child
youngest child
her friend, the original poster
her exh

and still doesn't get out of bed in the morning. Her kids must be awake, her partner got out to work, her friend rings her and she has two alarm clocks and is still late for school.

What a sorry excuse for a mother.

harpsichordcarrier · 04/06/2008 19:44

yes well good for your friend LGJ, glad she was able to cope. not everyone can, though.
I know lots of women with PND and lots of them do have lots of difficulty getting out of bed and getting out of the house.
this woman is trying and improving. maybe she deserves a little credit and a little compassion rather than being called a lazy cow.
just possibly.
I dunno, I don't know the woman.
and neither do any of us apart from charliecat

harpsichordcarrier · 04/06/2008 19:46

you were waiting for someone to play the "depressed" card??

blimey, what an unpleasant attitude.
yes you're right all depressed people just need to pull themselves together.
fwiw I am not and have never been depressed. or indeed late for school.

mrz · 04/06/2008 19:46

I have a small group of children who arrive late most mornings and it means that they miss their phonics session and this is reflected in their progress or sever lack of it. I would ask the EWO to visit if children are regularly late and also if they have lots of odd days off "sick".

GordontheGopher · 04/06/2008 19:48

I don't think there is any excuse for lateness, especially when it comes to your child's education. Children turning up late for class is SOOOOOOO disruptive for the class and the teacher. How hard can it be?

mrz · 04/06/2008 19:48

As has already been said the EWO is there to support families not to punish them.

nametaken · 04/06/2008 19:49

Well who said she was depressed anyway.

All the OP said was that she had been depressed in the past but that that had improved now.

posieflump · 04/06/2008 19:50

so in answer to the OP the school won't do anything , the EWO will just support?

SaintGeorge · 04/06/2008 20:07

Regardless of if the EWO gets involved or not, the situation can't continue for the sake of both her children and all the other children in the class.

Keeping them off and saying they are ill, rather than taking them late is not the answer. That will just lead to further investigations as to why they are consistently ill. Might get a bit more complicated than just a chat with the EWO.

She needs to look for answers and strategies.

Why does she sleep late?

Does going to bed earlier help or make no difference? If the length of time she sleeps makes no difference, then maybe there is a medical problem (melatonin levels??)

The 2 alarm clocks, are they set for the same time? Try 3 (or more if need be) and set them all 5 minutes apart, starting with at least 30 minutes before the latest time she needs to be up.

Prepare clothing, bags, lunches etc etc the night before.

Get the kids their own alarm clock and ask them to jumpon wake up mum too.

How old are the kids? Can they take on a certain amount of responsibility themselves for getting ready for school (I still struggle with mornings so DS1 makes breakfast & both kids get ready before waking me).

Sorry, this is long. Will try to think of more stuff that I used to help me when I was at my lowest and needed plans to make sure the kids were sorted.

edam · 04/06/2008 20:17

Your kids sound very helpful, St George! Was about to post something similar - as the child of someone who was NOT (and still isn't) a morning person I helped get my mother up from the age of, ooh, 12 or so? This involved making black coffee and shouting calling gently at regular intervals.

If it isn't laziness, then she should see her doctor to check there's nothing wrong. Otherwise she really should start going to bed earlier to make the mornings better (I really should take my own advice... although I do get to school on time.) Hope the EWO can help.

BreeVanDerCampLGJ · 04/06/2008 20:21


I should have addeed that some days, this was all she achieved. But she always achieved that.

Heated · 04/06/2008 20:34

If she is depressed & it impacts directly on her children so that she can't get the dcs to school on time, then support within the family and from outside agencies is needed imo for them all.

If she isn't depressed then I really don't 'get' her unconcerned attitude towards lateness; it isn't fair on her dcs.

cory · 04/06/2008 20:39

Just for added information, it is not true that an EWO won't get involved if she keeps the children off all day. The school doesn't have to believe her.

My dd has a recognised medical condition and both the school doctor and the paediatrician had written to the school to ask them to understand that her medical absences were unavoidable. That didn't stop the EWO from coming round and asking very intrusive questions - her attitude were clearly that any child with a high absence rate must come from a family with social problems. I can't imagine that she would have been less quick off the mark if we had not had the medical letters to show.

So chances are, if your friend cannot improve the situation on her own, the EWO will get involved. But that might not be such a bad thing. Not EWOs are as ...hmmm...looking for a non-libellous term...well, some are probably more experienced than the one we saw. She might be able to work out some sort of solution.

charliecat · 04/06/2008 21:07

Can I just say she really HAS very much so improved the situation, the kids are at school every day now. they WERE not before. She doesnt have a rotten attitude to the EWO, she is worried because they have said One More Time and...I cant remember exactly what was said, but from her words the kids CANNOT be late one more time.
Yesterday she woke up at 8.15 and somehow got them there on time. 925 min walk included)
She IS trying.
I do know the receptionist has said waking up too late is not a good enough excuse and to think of another
I think I will talk to the kids see if they will wake her up.

OP posts:
SpringSunshine · 07/06/2008 22:23

I have every sympathy with lateness - my best friend's children are at diferent schools thanks to the school allocation process so one is always late - nothing she can do

Unsuprprisingly no-one in authority seems to wnat to help her!

micci25 · 07/06/2008 22:40

arrghh, they actually have a body that can fine you for your dc's being late?!!! this is going to cause a lot of probelms for me in sept.

dd1 is rarely at nusery on time. this is because she is a v poor eater and v slow at eating. we live a five min from her nursery. she is on afternoons and has to be there by 12:40. she is woken up ealy in order for her to get and finish breakfast in time to be hungry enough for her lunch at 11:15 yet most of the time we are running down the street while she has half a sandwhich sticking out of her mouth because she still hasnt managed to finish her lunch.

she currently takes about an hour to eat and abut half an hour doing her hair and getting dressed. plus to make matters worse we are moving soon and she will be going to a school that is about a ten minute walk so that means in order to have her there on time we will have to get up at about 6 am just to get there on time!

can they really fine you? poor little dd will be shattered if she has to get up at that time every morning. it would be bed straight after tea and dancing at about 6:30pm with no time for her to chill out/play

cory · 07/06/2008 23:34

Micci, your dd will probably find that she can get dressed and do her hair in less than half an hour if she really has to- or else, you'll have to help her until she is old enough. I used to stuff ds (another slow mover) into his school uniform in 45 seconds flat.

If she can't eat her breakfast in less than an hour, she may just have to eat less breakfast.

Unless your dd has a genuine medical problem, it really would not be fair to disrupt the teacher's class and the other children's learning every morning just so that she can enjoy the luxury of doing things slowly.

It is a life skill to learn to get organised quickly.

MsPontipine · 07/06/2008 23:50

If going in the car means they won't be late that day then why doesn't she drive there on "shit!!!!!!!!!!!" days??

I had many, many of those pre-ds but am very very proud to say we are very very rarely late to school. We only live a 15 min walk away at the most but I have driven a couple of times if it means we can beat that blasted bell!!

Your friend is obviously struggling and doesn't deserve the condemnation from several posters on this thread. Depression is an illness that can affect any one of us in a huge variety of ways. Some sufferers (NOT depression card players) may simply be incapable of waking up as they are mentally unable to face the day before them. It's not being lazy. It's a really understandable defense mechanism but not too handy if you have things you must do like getting the kids to school.

She is showing signs of improvement as, as you say she is actually getting them there, whereas a while ago they were not getting there at all so for this she does deserve some praise, if not congratulation. With more help she is likely to get there. Is she receiving treatment? Councilling or medication?

Unless somebody has knowledge of this (sometimes) debilitating illness either professionally or by first hand experience they can be unlikely to lack empathy for sufferers.

You may find more useful and sympathetic advice in the DEPRESSION section.

One more thng - what about Homestart?? Could they help at all?

And take care of that friend xx

chunkychips · 08/06/2008 00:26

If you can get them there 5 mins late you can get there on time with virtually no more effort. Walk/drive faster.

Scramble · 08/06/2008 00:33

I understand that she may be struggling but her children will suffer if they are constantly late, I can see why hte EWO are hounding her.

There is a brother and sister at my DC's school that are always late, they are wandering in to the shop at 9:05 to buy crisps and juice and have them on the way, I have even seen then cycling back home at 9:20 with milk and stuff so gods knows when they get to school.

Don't get me wrong I am bad at getting up on time and its not the first time I have woke up at 8:30, O think all of us can be excused he occasional late arrival.

Scramble · 08/06/2008 00:43

Ok on a more helpful note as I am def not a morning person and know the shit days only too well, I have progressed from sitting on the sofa all day with my head in my hands.

I think maybe she has to shift her focus and realise it will affect the kids and think about putting them first. I had to do this when I realised my lack of communication with my DS delayed his speach badly.

I struggle to wake up too, so I have a loud alarm set for 7:15 I hit snooze until about 7:50 so I can come too slowly. DS gets up on his own well before me so at 11yrs he gets his own breakfast and gets dressed so he can have time on the PC. DD is more like me so I set her alarm for 7:30 and she can hit snooze until 7:50 too. The TV goes off as soon as she goes downstairs (hence DS goes on PC mostly) as it slows her down too much.

micci25 · 08/06/2008 00:43

sorry cory, i do her hair myself it takes that long because she wont sit still and she does have a genuine medical condition, her weight is v low due to poor eating habits and she is under a peadatrician and dietician for this reason.

i also help her eat and if i fed her any less breakfast she would be having none!! it takes her over an hour to eat a cheese sandwhich at lunch time.

and plus i would dd2 that i would have to feed and dress before we could leave so would need to allow extra time for that.

obv i was intending on trying not to be late and considered putting her in breakfast club as she eats better around other children (sometimes) but i didnt realise till recently you had to pay for it and i wont be able to afford it, nor will i be able to afford paying any fines.

i get up at 6:30 most mornings so wont be much earlier for me but dd doesnt get up till half seven. but i guess she will just have to cope. i was just going to change her getting up to 7 but it would have to be 6:15 at the latest to ensure that she is never late.

cory · 08/06/2008 12:05

I think you'd have to be very unlucky to be looking at fines, Micci- they are an absolute desperate last resort on the part of the LEA; EWOs would be working with your for a long time before it came to that. So I wouldn't worry about this.

What you probably want to do in your situation is to contact the school in advance and discuss your dd's problems. They might have suggestions to make. A breakfast club sounds like it would be a good idea: are there any voucher schemes or anything for parents on low incomes/benefits? Might well be worth investigating.

The hair is different; if she can't sit still, she'll just have to go in scruffy! That won't disrupt the other children's learning as much as having her come in late. Or tell her if she won't sit still, she'll have to have it cut short. (I did this with my dd when she wouldn't let me keep it neat.) This of course assuming your dd doesn't have learning/behavioural difficulties- if she does, again discuss it with the school.

I have had a lot of difficulties with being on time as my dd has chronic pain in the mornings. I find everything works a lot better if I take the school into my confidence and am upfront about my problems. Also, making it clear to dd that having chronic pain is no excuse for fussing about going into school because you haven't prepared for the maths test. Or whatever. In other words, trying to separate medical problems from ordinary fussiness.

Dynamicnanny · 08/06/2008 14:54

I would advise your friend to have everything laid out ready for the morning, then have a generally early night say -10/11pm. if she sets her alarm for 6 and then 6.30 - maybe placing the alarm so thats she has to get out of bed to turn it off.


6 am alarm
6.30 am alarm
7 am GET UP
7 / 7.15 am children up
7.20 am children breakfast
7.45 children go upstairs children dressed
8.00 children downstairs to have hair brushed, find their coats/shoes/book bags
8.15 leave the house

imaginaryfriend · 08/06/2008 20:53

Hello charliecat!! I haven't seen you in ages.

I've got lots of sympathy for someone fighting depression. However if she ends up with the school constantly on her back it won't help her at all will it? Just another thing to feel down about. There must be a way she can wake up that extra half an hour earlier. That's all she needs from the sound of it. Could she go to bed super super early the night before?

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.