Children suffer from the governments school attendance pressure

Children suffer from the governments school attendance pressure

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Louise Wood started this petition to MP Damian Hind and

Have you received the dreaded letter from school displaying the percentage attendance your child has been at school, saying there will be consequences due to their being absent from school, usually due to illness.  Why are the government pressurising schools into penalising children for being ill, having to recover at home and miss school is enough, making them stressed as their attendance percentage drops, giving them less benefits, not being allowed on school trips, not receiving that 100% attendance golden certificate. 'Congratulations you didn't get the flu this year, well done?!'  Parents made to feel guilty for keeping ill children at home and not spreading their germs to the entire class and teachers. Threatening letters sent home from schools to reiterate what bad parents we all are for caring for our sick children, taking time off work to look after them and get them better quickly so they are able to return to school quicker, and able to get back in to learning feeling great again. My son tells me that the organisers of the school trip will be selecting children based on their attendance percentage, so if they haven't been ill they can go. So the message being sent across to parents is what, send you ill child to school and they will benefit from maybe being allowed on a fun, sporty or educational school trip. Children usually get more illness's due to them building their immune systems for the future? This is unavoidable, should they be dragging themselves ill into school to spread their germs, for the benefit of what or who is this for?  There is no benefit and it does not support the child or education that they receive.  The following letter I have sent to our local MP Peter Bottomley, Damian Hinds the minister for education, BBC News and Radio. Please read the sent letter, and sign the petition, go directly to your local MP and pass on your thoughts, strongly, the schools will also be relieved as their job is to teach and they will have a  little more time to do that. 

Dear Madam/Sirs,

As myself a parent and yourselves most likely also, we understand the obvious importance for attendance at schools, the essential years of learning, especially during Secondary school years is vital for our children’s future.

There is a huge issue, and I feel obvious fault in the system regarding the pressure put on schools to keep their numbers of attendance box ticked.  I feel this is not about the welfare of the children as it doesn’t really affect a truancy issue, as this problem can be dealt with directly by the school support system and the pastoral department.

This ticking of boxes is affecting those children off school due to illness, I have had a huge problem with this during primary school also as parents feel angry and upset receiving a quite threatening letter about their child's attendance when their child has had to take a few days off with a genuine illness.  

This I strongly feel this needs readdressing within government as this is adding to the stress children are already under due to their huge workload, during the last couple of secondary school years especially with exams looming.

I feel very strongly about this today as I am at home looking after my 13 year old boy, who has a painful cough and bad cold, feeling terrible and in bed.
He has been quite anxious for the last couple of months with this being the time they select their options, school focussing on them making the right, ‘life choices’.
This anxious, worrying, choice making time has most likely made him slightly run down.. hence the bad cold.
Whether this be the case or not, he is now stressed, unnecessarily, about the fact that being off ill today will affect his ‘attendance', and that the school ski trip he has paid the deposit to go on, where numbers are limited, and the choice of which children will be allowed to go, will be made ‘DUE TO THEIR ATTENDANCE % OVER THE YEAR’, if there are too many children who wish to go that is?!  Which is quite likely as the trip is for 3 school years of pupils for some reason?  (40 something places offered to 450 pupils?)

How on earth is this the right way to support a child’s hard work at school, to penalise them for being ill?
My son enjoys school, works hard and likes going, as I’m sure more children should be given credit for as this is actually often the case.
I have spoken to the school this morning and explained my sons concerns which they are very supportive about, but expressed
the pressure they are under and explained they have no power over this issue.

We need to support our growing next generations and they are under enough pressure in the looming future of employment and being able to create a happy and financially secure life for themselves.

I would like you to address this issue and look into an alternative, I would also like you to give me good reason and an understanding as to why this ‘attendance issue' is in place for schools?  As I am sure it causes more stress than it is worth.
Also how can children be chosen for  a school trip on the basis of whether they have had an illness or not.
‘Sorry you’ve been ill, you can’t go, even though you work really hard at school??!!'

During the first year of my sons school life, we attended a ceremony at school, where he was given a certificate for getting 100% attendance.
This I also found a very strange thing to do.  Being given a certificate for not being ill that year?
’Well done! You didn’t catch the flu!.’

Children who have been ill knowing that they aren’t looked upon in such a bright light as they haven’t got 100% because they caught a cold and had to stay at home due to feeling really bad and not spreading it throughout the entire school and to the teachers, that we need to attend more than the pupils?!
It’s crazy!!

Yours Sincerely,

Louise Wood.


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