attendance plan meeting

My son is 5 and in year 1. He always gets Ill with asthma in winter but improved in January. I told them this when he started school. His attendance in reception was 88%. Now in year 1 its 77% but he got chicken pox in Dec. I even said I would home educate as he will never reach 95% attendance but school talked me out of it.

Now I've got an attendance plan meeting with educational welfare officer and seems I have to explain why he has had time off when I rang up on days he was off sick so its been authorised.

What is this meeting and interference? Have other members had this happen. Thank you as I'm worried.

8 Replies

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  • Hi,

    Sorry to hear you are going through this worry on top of the worry of your sons asthma and health.

    Are the school supportive generally?? Are you able to talk to the head/class teacher/senco regarding your sons health needs??

    The school should have a system in place to support your son and indeed you with regards to his educationally needs surrounding his health and subsequently his attendance.

    The EWO is contacted if a child's attendance drops below a certain percentage (I think differs throughout the country) but the school should have a system to over ride or at least justify the causes behind the attendance.

    I think you need to speak to the head/ senco prior to the meeting. Ask for an individual plan to be put in place for your child to meet his needs. In addition, ask for a doctors letter or indeed a consultants letter if he is under consultant care. This should outline his symptoms and also triggers and periods in which cause your son to need time off school.

    The EWO is often called to these meetings to establish the nature behind attendance, not always to take it further.

    Let us know how you get on

  • Hi. I don't even know who or if they have a senco at infant school. They all know he has asthma. He has inhalers at school. Why I have to explain myself to an ewo like I'm on trial when I've done nothing wrong. I don't know. The child is 5. He caught chicken pox which made his attendance go low.

    I've left a message on answering machine. Its quite clear mainstream school does not cater for children with illnesses and requires 95% attendance which he will never attain. As he catches everything in school and if we are then going to be penalised for it, then home schooling is the only option as they clearly discriminate against unwell children.

    Thanks for your reply.

  • Hi Moira,

    All schools should have a SENCo who is responsible for children with extra needs (medical or educational). I don't know your exact circumstances but the school has a duty of care towards your son and the meeting is likely to be a supportive one. The EWO will be involved in all cases where attendance is an issue but it is unlikely they will be challenging you either. I have attended several of these meetings as a professional and although they may ask you the reasons your son has been off, they are also likely to ask how they can support you and him. For example, are there times when he is not in school where some extra work would be appropriate? I'm not saying the school would but they might be prepared to send a pack home for extended absenses or look at ways they can support him when he returns to school. It would also be a good time to address anything else about his medical needs you feel could be improved. Are there any triggers in school which could be avoided with a bit of extra effort? The law around supporting children with additional needs changed in September and have a larger focus on children with healthcare needs as well as individualised plans. Depending on when your son turned 5, attendance in the foundation stage is also slightly different.

    I know it can be frustrating and I am in a similar position at work where I am feeling I am having to justify everything to occupational health but If you can, make it a positive way to support your son. I hope this helps from a professional point of view.

    Take care

  • Thank you

    Yes the head said similar on the phone this morning. My son is 6 next month. How has law changed then please on healthcare needs.

  • Hi

    My son is almost 5 and in reception. He has an Individual Healthcare plan in school and his attendance hasn't actually been bought up yet. There is no way he attendance can be greater than 80% but we have had meetings with the SENCO and they understand that we are doing our best as he does have a chronic condition.

    can your GP write to back up thto absences?

    I really feel that this is happening to you, it's something we worry about. X

  • ""The law around supporting children with additional needs changed in September and have a larger focus on children with healthcare needs as well as individualised plans""

    Could you tell me more about this please? I've never been told about senco.GP has written me a letter to present to meeting.

    I'm still worried. He had a temp of 40 last night and he's had 2 days off school so more time off! Took him to the GP today. I'm going to cover his absences now.

  • Hi

    Every school should have a SENCo who coordinates the provision for children with additional needs. They should be identified in the prospectus or on the website but the school should tell you if not.

    The guidance around send (special educational needs and dissabilities) have changed in the way additional support if identified and managed. In my experience, schools are working much more closely with GP and other healthcare professionals to make plans. How your child will be supported depends upon whether he has a learning need as well as a medical condition but at the very least, they will probably want to create an Individual Health Care Plan.

    You can find more specific information under the 0-25 SEND code of practice (sep 2014). There is also the Children and Families Act 2014 and the Equality Act 2010 which is the legislation underpinning it. There is also a booklet called supporting pupils at school with medical conditions which may be useful in explaining IHPs. These are all about ing supporting children with medical needs rather than absences in particular but it should be useful in the meeting.

    I hope this helps. Let us know how the meeting goes or if you would like any more information.

  • I can understand your frustration but I must reiterate that you don't have to 'explain yourself to the EWO', you just merely need to say the reasons your son hasn't managed a higher attendance. As I said in a previous post, the EWO is there to establish the attendance issues and not always to take it further.

    Kayla has been fab in providing information and as she said, the EWO is there to see how they can support your son and yourself in providing education with limited gaps, be it taking work home if need be.

    My daughters attendance is 60%. She has full support from her consultant in writing. The school's head, senco and health representatives work together and communicate to find the best outcome. They aren't there to 'catch the parent out', they are there to see the child is met with holistic care.

    Your son probably won't need to attend full time school til the term after his 6th birthday so I'm presuming that's after Easter.

    Having a child with a health condition can feel like a huge battle. Believe me, I can empathise entirely. We've had a terrible time with Maddies health since she was a baby. Along with tiredness, mental and emotional exhaustion coupled with any outside barriers that pop up, it can feel like an uphill battle.

    My advice is to reach out for support rather than shut the doors on the standard educational provision available. With a suitable healthcare plan and understanding from school, it can certainly feel a less isolated place to be.

    I hope things can settle soon. Let us know how you get on

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