keeping my son off school

Hi all you mums and dads out there, I could do with some advice as have kept my son off school this week as the school seem incapable of looking after him.

He is 12 and has just gone into yr 8. He had a care plan in place last year which was only sometimes adhered to. He was rarely told to do peak flows before sport and often forgot to take his inhalers until he really needed them. He has had a number of admissions this year and his resp nurse had advised he shouldn't go into school if his pf is less than 60% as they are so bad at keeping him safe. Both myself and the nurse have tried to contact the school to ensure they know what they are doing this term and that the new teachers understand his asthma but no one has followed up the calls. He went back last week and on the 2nd day needed his inhaler during a lesson and was ignored twice by the teacher when he asked to get his inhaler from the office and even when his friend told her he needed his inhaler she just looked at him and carried on with the lesson. In the end my son just got up and walked out.

I am so angry they have not briefed the new teachers or contacted either the nurse or myself to go through his care plan (which has changed since last year). I refused to let him go in today and have sent an email to the head teacher and the education welfare officer explaining he will not be in until I can have a meeting and sort this out.

Am now paniking as I don't want to get in trouble and for this to be classed as truanting. Has anyone had a similar experience or can offer any advice?

Thanks in advance from a stressed out mum!

19 Replies

  • Hi have had similar problems with my 8 year old son who has difficult and severe asthma, got fed up with the school trying to kill him. 18 months ago he had a teacher who wouldn't help him with his inhalers, it nearly killed him. Last year he missed 3 months off school as I don't trust them and this year it's been 2 months. I will not send him in when his asthma is really bad, they see asthma as a mild infliction like a cold!!I just spoke to the headmaster today and explained we will have to travel 80 miles for treatment now as he's under a specialist, and WILL have to pull my boys out of school at short notice so be prepared, was told not to panic it may not happen! it's not IF more like when.

    I hope your son gets the help he need, my son is dyslexic so he need reminding to take his inhalers, he forgets where everything is and what he is supposed to do. He is fantastic at sport but like your son forgets his inhalers beforehand!

    Stand your ground, they make special allowances for cancer and other life threatening conditions, asthma is just not seen as one of them. Unfortunately until something awful happens we won't be taken seriously but it won't be my son.

    I know how angry you feel. If your son has a consultant he may be prepared to go to the school and explain what they HAVE to do before he goes back, I know ours has done this for other patients. Good luck and don't back down, you are doing the right thing for your son

    Take care

    Rattles x

  • This may sound odd but why at age 12 is his inhaler in the office?

    It may be worth trying to get your son to take responsibility for his asthma as its his life and school is not doing it.

    I would ask for a meeting with the year head as soon as possible. Ask them what the general school asthma policy is and provide your management plan again.

    After my daughters allergic reaction on Friday i had a meeting with the head senco and class teachers yesterday to ensure everyone was happy with the managment plan provided by the hospital. At my daughters Primary school year 4 children and above (so aged 8/9) carry their inhalers with them at all times they are deemed responsible enough. My daughter has dyslexia/dyspraxia and other learning difficulties but she is able to recognise when she needs take her inhaler although she sometimes needs help to actually press it.

    She carries it at all times even PE as it is on a clip.

    Schools are large places and asthma can be deadly and is often not seen as serious. I don't think teachers can be relied on all the time re inhalers which is why mine have been taught to look after their own lungs from age 3.

  • The school sounds like a nightmare!!

    When Sean chnaged schools (yr 7) last year there was a trianing session held by resp nurse from RBH and from local and also pct school nurse. This was attended by 20 + teachers and SEN c- ordinator who then drew up an individual education plan for Seans medical need. The school had total opposite response to your school and were very frightened of Sean's asthma and even a year on are still very very cautious. The end result was he has inhalers and port neb in his bag/blazer and then nebulizer/oxygen/epi pen/peak flow/spare sub cut kit in the office and oxygen/epi pen/iinhaler/peak flow at the PE dept. Sean was given several red laminated cards stating ' Medical emergancy, I need to leave class immediatly' and a lift pass for days when lungs dont like stairs. He has a six page care plan agreed by school, resp con and nurses stating exactly what issues are,what do if Sean unwell, what PF means call me or 999 etc . They run a buddy system so if Sean unwell and needs to leave class he isnt to go alone and he allowed to keep mobile with him so he can call for help if has sudden attack. I do think this is a bit OTT sometimes esp when he running up the rugby pitch looking well but the his med team and I know full well how brittle he can be and the school very quickly realised he can be uncredibaly unstable some days.

    I have been very fortunate that Sean has gone back to yr 8 last week and the school have already rung to check for any changes to meds or health. I can go to work knowing the school will do their best to keep him safe ,the almost daily phonecalls for sometimes trivial checks like Sean looks pale or has been quiet reassure me they are keeping an eye on him. The best thing is they are very aware Sean wants to be just like any 13yr old and fit in with crowd so they never make a fuss or make it obvious they worried and ringing me.

    It will be such a shame for Jayden to miss so much time off school but I can understand your worries. Could you make an apt to see the head and take Marcella from RBH? Or maybe ring PCT school nurse or SENCO co-ordinater ? The school have got a responsibility to meet Jaydens needs, maybe you need to qoute a few lines from the inclusion policy for schools and 'Every Child Matters' guidelines !

    Good Luck, let us know how it goes

    J x

  • Thanks for the replies - I didn't go into too much detail in post and after reading it back it seems he only has inhaler in the office.

    Jayden has an Salbutamol accuhaler and Symbicort inhaler with him all the time in his bag. He is allowed as much Ventolin as required and up to an additional 4 puffs of Symbicort. RBH recomended using extra Symbicort instead of silly amounts of Ventolin as he was easily going through around 40 puffs in a school day. He has a spacer and Ventolin and Atrovent + peak flow in the school office. This is kept there as Jay will happily work his way through an MDI and not tell anyone he is struggling as he doesn't want to go home. His care plan is kept with this explaining what to do, when I need to be called and when to call 999. If he goes off site this is all meant to go with him (but rarely does). He is also supposed to do pf's before PE and if not above 70% he is not to participate. This is really frustrating for Jay as he loves PE and often has low pf's so if no one checks he is doing them he doesn't! This has led to him crashing during PE and school freaking out.

    We have had meetings with head of year and head teacher and teaching assistant and resp nurse to clarify what is supposed to happen, make sure everyone is clear they know what they are doing and know how to follow the plan. But within days it's all forgotten about. Both myself and his resp nurse have been trying to contact the school since beginning of last week to make sure all new teaching staff (especially new PE teacher) are aware of Jayden. So far no one has got back to either of us. Jay was supposed to get a medical card last year after he was refused entry to the building during breaktime but was too breathless to talk to explain why he needed to go in - so far we don't have one.

    The most frustrating thing is it is a brand new school which only opened last year. One of the reasons I wanted Jay to attend was it would initially be very small with only 180 kids and not too many teaching staff. I thought this would make managing his asthma easier. Obviously not.

    I am now waiting for head teacher and EWO to reply to my email and arrange another meeting. Resp nurse finally got through to school yesterday to go in with care plans (she has 3 difficult asthma kids in the school) but this is not happening until Friday. Jay is bored silly and every time the phone rings asks 'is school can I go back? ' This is really unfair on him but I feel I have to make a stand as it has been going on for too long now.

    Hope all the kids are OK and enjoying the new term!!

  • Hi Koolkat,

    I just read your post and cannot believe the school are being like that! I'm a teacher and reading things like that just make me so mad. Having said that I had very similar experiences when i was at school with my asthma.

    Im not sure if i can be of any help except to say keep fighting for him... have you thought about approaching ofsted or your local education authority - schools have to have complaints procedures and it sounds like you need to use them! The school and the teachers have a duty of care to your son and sound like they need reminding of it!

    The every child matters website is....

    I've only had a quick google moment so you'd have to look into it further but the local authority should have some provision for him to be classed as being home schooled when he is too sick to go into school - this should sort out any truancy arguements.

    hope this helps and send me a message if i can help!

    midge x

  • Have you had much luck since your last post, i cat believe how bad your sons school are being, in this day and age its disgusting. Chloe has been very lucky so far with her new school and her asthma, she had her first PE lesson yesterday and the teacher made them line up so she could check their feet and at the same time asked tem if they had any medical problems and what meds they are on. They then had to do a x counrty run and only the asthmatics were allowed to walk and when Chloe walked for a bit the teacher ran over to her to check that she and another girl were ok and did they need to take their inhalers. She also made sure than anyone who needed to took their puffer prior to starting the lesson. Chloe has had a cold over the last week and so been coughing alot and was in another lesson and her teacher asked if she needed her inhaler so obviously all teachers have been made aware of chlidren with medical needs which im pleased about.

    The only negative issue i have had is when i took her epi-pens in I wasnt asked for any protocol or why and when she made need them which was a bit worrying so as soon as I got home i typed up and laminated her treatment protocol and when i handed it in the next day they were very grateful. I have suggested they have some kind of form to cover this and they are now looking into it.

  • Thanks for all the support

    After hearing nothing for a few days I finally spoke with the EWO who was really understanding and wanted to help get Jay back to school. She has arranged a meeting for Monday with head of year, myself, Jayden and his resp nurse. Resp nurse is so fed up with the school she is coming in on her day off rather than delay any longer by re-arranging.

    I have asked Jayden to be there as there seem to some discrepancies between what I told EWO and what school have said. According to school Jay has been issued with emergency cards but chooses not to use them - Jay said NO WAY I have never even seen one! Apparently head of year did not return my calls re staffing as she was still waiting for it to be finalised. I find this hard to believe as kids were already back at school, I am sure the teachers know by then who they are teaching!!!She also tried to blame the lack of communication as she was 'chasing up health professionals' meaning Jays resp nurse and said her calls were not returned. Resp nurse is fuming over this as it has been the other way around.

    I am appalled the head of yr 8 is trying to blame everyone else for this problem which is why Jay and resp nurse are attending meeting as well as EWO.

    An email was sent to all teachers stating "" Jayden has severe asthma (frequently hospitalised) if he says he needs his inhaler he really does need it"" Is it just me or does this make it sound that other children who say they need their inhaler DON'T really need it?

    Roll on Monday - just want to get this sorted out. As I said to EWO don't know why everyone at school is trying to cover their backs as I havan't made a complaint about any one, I just need to know they are able to meet his needs. It is turing into a case of 'he said, she said' with the EWO stuck in the middle. So I am not a happy mummy right now.

    Will post on Monday and hopefully can say Jay is back and all is well.

  • Good Luck for Monday, I'll be thinking of you . really hope you get a resolve and Jay can get back to school and his mates.

    I rang Seans school this morning and said he unwell maybe in later, when I mentioned what his PF was she said oh no thanks you can keep him today lol.

  • Re kids and inhalers and message sent round teachers unfortunately some of them do say they need their inhaler when they don't to get out of class, I should know I used to be one of them!

    I admit my daughter also has used her asthma as an excuse not to do cross country in rain, said she needed her inhaler to get out of hockey, PE etc and as a Brownie leader i have had several children say i can't do something because of my asthma when later have spoken to their mum to find they are perfectly fine they just didn't want to.

    In an ideal world they'd all be little darlings who behaved perfectly all the time but some don't and do use their asthma as an excuse not to do things. It must be very hard as a teacher having to allow them to go when you think they are faking but even worse if you didn't and they needed help.

  • Glad I'm Not The only One Having This Problem

    My 4 year old son started school on Monday. As a servere asthmatic who has on average 10-15 hospital admissions a year I repeatedly advised the school of his situation and provided medication with a spacer. He had PE on Tuesday and I was surprised to find no one had given him his ventolin before he took part although I had requested they did, and not one of the teachers/assistants were made aware of his condition. When I collected him from school today at 3.30 he could barely talk or walk, he was very wheezy. The teacher advised she had given him 2 puffs of Ventolin at 1.15 but did not give him any more becasue he did not ask for it - he's 4!! (she also just stuck the inhaler in his mouth rather than use the spacer). I ended up taking him to the local surgery where he was given a neb and then sent to hospital where he received another 3 nebs over a 4 hour period. Not sure what to do. Starting school has been hard enough but I don't fell safe leaving him there!

  • My sons peakflow down by 30% and it looks like we have a sensible teacher, he has a black eye and cut from a an accident last week and his teacher called me immediately to let me know.She was worried he may have a reaction from the shock!We had a fab teacher a few years back who wrote all his meds taken in the book I sent in and let me know how he had been and I did likewise every am, followed by a teacher hellbent on putting him in hospital, forgot all his meds when asked and refused to help him, her child had asthma too, scary!Last years was good and sent work home when he was ill, but once the trust has gone it's so hard to let go. We nearly lost our son because his inhalers were not given at school, once his asthma goes downhill we have such a hard time getting him well it can take 4 months. I prefer to take the safe route, he misses lots of school but he's still here. I do feel so guilty but even with the asthma nurse showing the school how to deal with my son, they do everything correct for a few weeks then it's all forgotten. I know it's difficult with large class sizes and it must be such a responsibility looking after all those children let alone sick ones. I'm dreading senior school.

    Good luck to all you parents in the same position


  • tbh i finding that the higher the yr group or school the better teachers are

    my son has just moved from yr 2 infants into yr 3 juniors different schools and they are so much better when my daughter was at this junior school i had a few probs but as a rule if they were unsure they rang me i swore a couple of times when they should have called an ambulance but hey they only human and if u havn't had experience on a daily basis of a asthmatic then (i know no excuse) its hard now my daughter is at senior school they have there own nurse and they are good the kids are taught about asthma and as a rule really good the only thing they do tend to send home rather than deal with it but at least i get a call and its sorted

    please bear with these teachers educate em theres a lot of info on this website u can email the schools

    but my best advice is to keep on at em have clear written instructions for them

    there is still alot of ignorant people out there that don't realise that asthma can kill we asthmatics/parents/carers have to educate em

    my kids have frightened there friends having attacks i have frightened my kids by having attacks , my kids have frightened me we deal with it 24 hrs a day these other people don't hense y they need educating

    one teacher waited till i got there and said yr daughter seems in a bad way i not sure wot to do i said if in doubt call an ambulance u don't take chances it turned out her son was asthmatic i really couldn't believe it things have certainly changed on the first aiders front at her school for when the school nurse isn't about or dealing with someone else (thers over 1500 kids in her school)

  • hi ty is 4 her started school today,put becouse he gett's so tried due to this asthma he is only going 4 mornings a week to start with.i told the school about his asthma in may and gave them a cope of his care plan which had been used at pre school.i went thought it with the senco teacher and the head thay say it would be ok.since then both teachers have left and no one knows what is men to be done.we have a new care plan done in june which i gave a cope to the school but thay have ""lost it"",as i found out today thay also have now rules for children with asthma, so thay went on the internet and out a rule have says "" a teachers helper can help a child to have there inhaler but the teachers help is not aloud to push the inhaler down!also the class teacher is not aloud to help in any way!""how the hell can a 4 year old do his inhaler his self!he uses a haler aid so alot of the time he can do it but it says in his care plan that he must be helped to have his inhaler.i can see we pulling ty out of the school before half tearm

  • Hi Tys Mum

    I've been in the same situation as you,my son needed his inhaler every 4 hours and before P.E and play and was told that the teacher cannot push the inhaler down. My son does his own now but when he was smaller he needed help to make sure he was using the spacer correctly, he has dyslexia and forgets the most simple things especially when he's stressed. I told the school he would NOT be going back until he had the help required, they bend over backwards to help with other illnesses and conditions. The school secretary said she would do it, we even both signed a letter stating that anyone could give him the required amount of ventolin needed and couldn't see the problem.When I was at school we had a school nurse and she sorted out my treatment but our school nurse visits the school every three weeks. I know they need to cover themselves in case of problems but it's gone too far.Sometimes I feel that something needs saying to the press or tv companies to bring the problem to light but can't bring myself to put my son through the stress of it. I feel so helpless and get fed up with all the red tape. I find stating my point calmly without getting angry very hard but I've managed it so far!!

    I hope you get everything sorted. I usually end up in tears when they go back to school because I have to trust the school to keep me informed when my son is ill. I never send him in when he's really ill so they've never seen him at his worst

    Good luck


  • aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    hi everyone i feel like crying, i pick ty up from school today thay said that the haler aid did not work very well, so thay just left it!!!so ty did not get the full amont of this inhaler,so by the time i got home he was wizzing,i cant belive thay are making my son ill, all thay have to do i push that F****** button.i have rang the school nures just waiting for her to get back to me, i think i may ring the school head today and tell them that until its sorted he will not be going back, maybe then thay may get there bums moving!!!!HELP

  • Hi

    I hope Ty is feeling better. My 4 yr old has just started reception and even after being admitted into hospital straight from school Fri, the head and his teacher just passed the buck and said he hadn't asked for his inhaler - I agree a 4yr old can't be responsible for this. Luckily got a call today from the school nurse and an asthma co-ordinator who the hospital contacted and we have now put a care plan in place and the nurse went through it with his teacher and how to use the spacer properly. Fingers crossed they ubderstand how serious it is, am feeling a bit better about sending him to school tomorrow.

  • I find it really quite scary just how incapable some schools appear to be in managing Asthma. I am really sorry to hear so many people have had problems.

    Well we had the meeting - head of yr 8 seemed a little defensive at meeting trying lay blame on Jayden for most of the problems. I agree he is 12 and should be able to pretty much manage his ASthma himself and is really good at doing this at home...but they have to realise he can manage really well on around 50% lung function and he doesn't always realise he is having problems, which is why his care plan states he is to do peak flows before PE and everylunch time and to follow plan for medication dependant on readings. Plan states Jayden should not be in school if peak flow after meds is less than 50%, I asked for this to be included so I wouldnot have problems with EWO if he is off school but has not attended hospital or docs. Head of yr 8 took this to mean if his pf falls below 175 he has to go home and wants pf's done 3 times a day so they can't be liable for anything going wrong. Resp nurse said it didn't need to be as rigid as that and to look for sighns that Jay is actually struggling before calling me. The reponse was we are not medically trained we are a teaching establishment, if this states 175 we sticking to it. The only good thing to come from this was it appeared they would at least make sure he was ok...................

    ....but not to be. The same lunch time Jay does pf and it's 170, ok borderline but I received no call and care plan was not followed which states give 10 puffs of Ventolin and call mum. If no improvement give a further 10 and call ambulance. At 3.00 pf taken again, now 160, still not given Ventolin but told to go home and not to attend enrichment (Jays school does not end until 4.45 3 days a week). Great they sort of followed plan but didn't notify me he was leaving early.

    Today, did pf at lunch time, was ok to be in school. Took meds and went out to play. 2mins of football and pf down to 110, Jay took 10 puffs as he needed it + 2 symbicort and pf picked up to 220. But no call at any point to let me know.

    It is certainly an improvement on last year and all staff involved with Jay have been sent an email of his care plan. They just seem to be unable to read a pf meter or follow simple instructions if he has a deterioration. Maybe they just need a little time to get on top of things - was a little upset when I was informed other children with health problems in the school are able to manage them themselves without making a big deal out of it. All I asked was could they make sure all teaching staff were informed about him and could they follow the plan! Jayden was even told he should be completely self reliant by year 9, as no one was going to chase him up in college or when he goes to work.

    Hope the rest of you have a little more success and good luck.

  • Just a thought but can you get him a piko little digital peak flow meter. As it has the red yellow and green signs and bleeps if below the set level it may be easier for teachers to understand. For some reason a little bleeping machine is more scarey and provokes more response than a number!

  • Another day another hassle at school, my youngest sons peakflow has dropped 30% so I asked his teacher to give him his inhaler 10 mins before each play and P.E today as he had an asthma attack on the way to school.

    Found out he had another bad one after P.E, he said "" I came first running today and then coughed my guts up"" lovely!! I said you did have your inhaler before"" no it was a different teacher and I was scared to ask him"" came the reply, his teacher didn't even take his inhaler out on the field!There is a large note on the wall on the wall of the classroom and a nebuliser on the side with Mattys name on it. This teacher takes my son for maths as well so must have seen it! Matty has dyslexia and needs help remembering his inhaler, he wears glasses and forgets to put these on too and where he's left them. It can be so frustrating.

    We have no asthma nurse at our surgery or at the hospital, senco comes in 2 afternoons and school nurse every 3 weeks so I'm going to have to educate them somehow!This has been going on 5 years now. My friends daughter has cancer and she asked to speak to the teacher to talk about her daughter, was told to hurry up as he was busy and what was the problem? He had not been informed of her condition starting the new school term!He was really helpful after this and embarrassed he hadn't been informed.Maybe a communications course would be a good place to start.If he's well enough to go in Monday I shall be having words.

    Sorry had my moan, feel oh soooo much better


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