school attendance

My granddaughter started nursery in September and the school has sent a letter ssaying that her attendance at 79% is seen as too low and she has persistant absense. They ask us to ensure her attendance improves? She has had asthma since she was 12 months old. She has attacks about once a month and has needed a couple of days off with these. She's been in hospital twice during the autumn term. We sent her back after her last time in hospital but they had to send her home as she was struggling at school. My daughter has spoken to the Head Teacher so she is aware of the problem. All the Head said was that places at the nursery are oversubscribed and that she should make sure she attends as she is taking a place which could be given to a child who would have better attendacne. Can they exclude her and give her place to soemone else? Any advice? My daughter is now worried as this is the school she should be attending from next september - can they refuse her a place in reception if her attendance doesn't improve? Any advice - this seems wrong as we want her in school, she enjoys it and has only missed school when she's had an attack! Sorry for the long message but this is worrying us. We had no problem at her sure start nursery but can see real problems as she moves through school!

6 Replies

  • Hey, just read your post and this is disgraceful. I read your post to my father who is the head of governor of a oversubscribed school. He said you should ask the head teacher for the oversubscription policy, as it is very unlikely that good attendance is involved in the criteria to go from nursery into the school especially as it is due to a illness.

    Perhaps you could take a letter from your granddaughter's consultant confirming she has very bad asthma and needs to be off school to recover just as a reminder to the head...

    If you have any further problems I would go to the education authority and ask for their advice. I really hope you get this sorted asap. Alice

  • Hi Grannyb, You dont say if your granddaughter has already been offered a place - presumably she has? Attendance that falls below 80% is flagged up by the school (schools are very twitchy about attendance) and the letter your daughter received would be school procedure.

    It would be a good idea for your daughter to get a letter from GP or consultant explaining the child's ill health - then the school have something official on record (as Ally18 said).

    I have quite a lot of experience in this field as my son has had a poor attendance all his school life because of bad asthma, so feel free to PM me.

  • attendance


    I was very interested to read your post. My son started nursery in Sept and had 3 inpatient admissions last half term, so his attendance has not been great. He gets asthma with a cold and bugs which needs nebulisers and he had 8 admissions last year in total. He's just picking everything up.

    I felt the school secretary wasn't very sympathetic, so I asked for the number of the school nurse and she was a lot nicer. She suggested sending a letter to the head teacher, which I've now done, outlining everything about his condition.

    I also think it would be a good idea to get doctors involved, writing letters. Like you, I would like my child to go to the school attached to the nursery and I don't want him blacklisted for poor health!

    I've mentioned in my letter to the head that if we have another bad winter, like this one, I'll liaise with his teacher to make sure he catches up on any missed school work.

    However, if you're in the catchment area, they can't justify not offering you a place. If this happens, go straight to your MP.

  • Janecassi - Things have come to a pretty pass when schools make us feel guilty about the ill-health of our children! Before I joined the forum I thought I was alone in this predicament but now I know I'm not. My son's attendance was 60% in his first year of secondary school and we had a terrible time of it with the school. They are still unsympathetic, even the so-called 'Matron'.

    What I have come to realise is that they want everything documented for the child's file, so that when low attendance is picked up by the local education authority (they check attendance records regularly) there is evidence on file that the ill health is genuine. So I got an explanatory letter from my GP, I also send the school copies of the consultant's reports, and when my son is off sick, I put it in writing (typed so I have a copy on computer) which GP we saw, on what date, and what GP said.

    The school had asked for a GPs letter for every absence initially, but GP wrote to school saying he would only do it for absences of 3 days or more. The matron recently told me not to worry about letters from GP because they know it is all genuine.

    The root of it all is that the school wants to cover itself and follow the correct procedure. Obviously they dont know us as the good parents we are when our children first attend their school or nursery, and they are quite correct to check out prolonged absences. School refusal (where child doesnt want to go to school and parents collude in this) is a problem and the educational authorities are on the lookout for this. That is why it is so important parents have documentary evidence of ill health.

    Having said all this, there is no real excuse for unsympathetic secretaries or teachers - I now just put it down to ignorance of what a nasty disease asthma is. Like in most things, it's the luck of the draw who you end up dealing with. Even doctors etc can be brusque, as we know!

    Sorry for the long post. We have been through such a lot with my son's education, that I am very keen to support other parents going through similar.

  • letters

    Dear Angievere

    This is great advice. Once you know why the school is stressed about absence it's a lot easier to keep them happy.

    I shall start sending them copies of hospital discharge letters, as we bypass the GP and go straight to the children's ward for nebs when my son's unwell.

    I guess they also think a child with asthma might drag down their exam results if they miss a lot of school. They can always catch up at home though.

    By the way grannyb, my son's only attended about 50% of the time, so less than your grandaughter. And I've not had a warning yet.

  • Relief!

    Can I just say a big thanks to all who responded. Not only has it given us some ideas of how to go forward with this problem, it has also helped us to see that we are not alone!!! This is the first time I have joined a forum - wish I'd joined before!! You;ll all know how stressfulit is when your child is illwithout all this extra worry - I suppose now we're on the school road we'll meet more but it great to hear others experiences and have practical suggestions!! Many thanks!!

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