problems with school

My son was diagnosed last year at the age of 4 and whilst in nursery at his school was ok but has now moved up into reception and due to absences from asthmas attacks etc i have been reported by the school to the child welfare and education officer! During my 'interview' i was told that in future he must take in a documented note from the doctor every time he is ill and off school and i felt like i was being punished because my child is ill and bringing down the schools attendance record! Has anyone else had any problems with their childs school???

6 Replies

  • I had quite a lot of experience of Education Welfare when my daughter was younger. She was ill with ME and off school for 3 years in the end. We found that Education Welfare did not have my daughter's best interests at heart, but were just interested in ""bums on seats"" despite the fact that we had letters from her paediatrician. We finally got the help we needed from the school doctor. We arranged a meeting with the senco, Education Welfare, her teacher and the school doctor. He was so lovely and said categorically ""this child is too ill to come to school!"" I could have hugged him. They were then obliged to listen. After that she had home tuition.

    It was a very stressful time with lots of pressure put on us - the senco even wanted to take our daughter off the school roll. I quoted the DFES own policies at him which I had got from the website and he backed off.

    In the end we had a happy outcome, but I wouldn't want to go through it again.

    One other bit of advice, If at all possible, don't go to meetings on your own. It really helps if you have your partner or a friend with you. I would also suggest you discuss this with your child's GP and asthma nurse and see what they have to say. I very much doubt whether your GP would think he should be providing written documentation of every episode of sickness.

    Best wishes

  • I have every sympathy with you regarding the way it makes you feel struggling with illness without having to worry about school, I too had problems when I was at secondary school and was actually recorded as permenantly excluded for poor attendance (seriously dodgy head teacher, not a worry in the real world). At the same time though, working now as a teacher, schools don't have any choice about report to EWO when absence hits a certain level and please remember that they are not a part of the school. I am sure your son's school would be devastated if they knoew you had been made to feel this way when you clearly have genuine reasons and significant problems. Have you had a meeting at school with his teacher, head/deputy head, SENCO or home school link worker?

    I would hate to think that any of my parents were feeling like this when I could help.

    Best of luck


  • We had exactly the same issue 2 yrs ago with my son's secondary school. His attendance was 60% and as it was his first year there the school didnt know him (or us) at all. The GP had written a letter to the school explaining about his severe asthma but somehow the letter got lost. We had a meeting with EWO, head of his year and the deputy head, and I handed over another letter from GP and photocopies of all the consultant's reports. Once EWO saw it was all genuine she wasnt interested and I've never heard from them again!

    I was told initially that I must get a GP letter every time my son is off sick, but they dropped this after the meeting. To cover myself now I always say (in sick note) we've been to the doctor when he's ill and I mention the doctor's name and what was said and what meds prescribed. I ask GP for a note if son is off for 3 days or more. I also send the school a copy of the consultant's report after an appointment (2-3 times a year).

    When we had difficulties with the PE dept (insisting our son take part when he wasnt fit) we made an appointment to see the Headteacher. We didnt like complaining but it worked. Do go and see the Headteacher if you arent happy with things. And dont take it personally about the EWO - they are there to help and to make sure non attendance is genuine. Once the school gets to know you and your son and realise you are doing your best to get him to school and that you are not keeping him off unnecessarily, they will be ok.

    Sorry for long post. We've had a lot of experience in this area and I know how you feel. Feel free to PM me anytime.

  • Unable to pm you back due to settings. You are right I do look at it slightly differently as a teacher but only in so much as I can not understand why anyone would go into teaching if they didn't have every child's best interests at heart, I am sure it does happen but Ijust don't know how these people do it. First and foremost though I did respond as someone who had struggles at school too and as I said was ultimately excluded for absence due to hospitilisation.

    I would just hope that there is someone in the school that does have an understanding and is able to start breaking through for you. I find even in my school where my partner teacher, DH, head, admin staff an many others have great understanding and support me there are one or two who still add the odd comment such as 'it's just asthma''.

    I find this is because of a lack of understanding and because we do have so many children with asthma who are uninhibited by their symptoms and do tend to just have a blue inhaler that sits in their teacher's drawer until the end of the summer term when their parents forget it is even there!

    Would your son's asthma nurse be willing to contact the school and ask to go in and do an hour at their next inset day, we have these for specific children quite often and really drums home a child's individual action plan when it comes from medical professional and brings ALL members of staff on board.

    Hope things do start to get better for you and him

  • I'm not a parent, but I had issues with school, had a chest infection which really flared my asthma up, ended up having a couple of attacks, was out of school about 2weeks with it. They wanted proof of it, got in the day they'd said it, had mum telling them the same thing , still wouldn't believe her so had her go in, with my dad & take all my medication in, including old inhalers/empty boxes/antibiotics, ect.. they seemed to believe it after mum had said I'd been unwell with my chest & they saw some proof. It is stupid though when u need to prove it or whatever. I don't think most people would keep their kid off school for ""asthma"" if it wasn't actually asthma.

    Sorry, kinda gone on a rant on it.

  • I am aso a primary school teacher, and a severe brittle asthmatic. I have had trouble with school as an employee not understanding the impact of severe asthma, I also have in my year 1 class a severe asthmatic child, he has had time off throughout the year, in hospital and at home. His parents came in and told us when he started school that he had the condition and that he would have time off, as a teacher I send work home for him, just reading or something related to our topic work, I don't think there has ever been a problem with his time off. However I do have a child in my class that has only attended 85 days out of 2 years at that is a real issue, she has no medical condition. As a school we found it hard to get EWO involved even in this case, it seems to be LEA's have different cut off points. I would recommend talking to head teacher and children with medical conditions can be given extra support and it is not fair to be penalised whether a child or an adult for being ill. Hope that you get it sorted...

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