Are there any other parents/carers? Persistent Absentee

Suesime Member Posts: 2
edited 9. Apr 2019, 09:23 in My child has arthritis
Hello, my name is Sue.

I would like to reach out to parents/carers and their children who are at school in the UK who feel they are being pressurised by the school to send their child in when they feel they are still unwell.

Every year since nursery, my child is now in Year 4, I have a showdown with the headteacher. We have provided ample information about their long term illness, viral induced-asthma, hospital visits, consultants and every year we think that we have provided enough information but no, because the child is more than 10% absent they should be sent in sick or we must obtain a medical verification for every absence.

Are there any other parents that have experienced heavy handedness with their child having a long term illness being a persistent absentee or many days off but not considered by the headteacher to have an illness so disbelieving their time off, not willing to authorise etc unless consultant/hospital admissions?

Or any parents with disabled children who believe the school starts to become a nanny state, wanting to get involved with the hospital consultants, school nurse etc and forcing the child back to school when still unwell against the parents' or the child's wishes? I am referring to children with long term illness so e.g., juvenile arthritis, asthma that requires hospital admissions regularly or perhaps ADHD, or other long term illnesses which are considered Special Education Needs (SEN).

Could any parents with experience of these problems please contact me.


  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 3,635
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Sue
    Welcome to the Versus Arthritis forum. I am sure you will find help, advice, support from the members on here who are very friendly and will empathise you.

    There is a very good helpline, who you can ring if you need someone to talk to. Their no. Is 0800 520 0520. Just remember no one on here or on the helpline has a medical background.

    At the top of the page there are buttons which will lead you to the various topics and subjects Versus Arthritis cover. There are some very useful pieces contained there.

    I am one of the moderation team and we all have one or more of the Arthritis "hanger ons" or look after family with the same.

    Looking forward to seeing on the forum again and reading how you are getting.

    Best wishes
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,726
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Sue,

    I'm not the parent of a child with health problems but I did have asthma badly as a child, at a time when there were no inhalers, then I was diagnosed with RA at 15 so it did all impact on my schooldays.

    Back in the '50s, if you were absent from school for any length of time, you had a visit from 'the school board man'. (I thought he was called that because he always carried a clip board on which he wrote :oops: ) The asthma gradually improved but then, at 11, I was laid up for some time with what they then diagnosed as 'rheumatic fever' but what was, almost certainly, retrospectively, the start of my arthritis which really bit when I was 15 and played havoc with my O-levels, A-levels and Finals.

    By then I could decide for myself when I was fit to go to school or not though the docs made the choices for me at times. It was difficult at first. One teacher flatly refused to believe I had arthritis but, to her credit, sought me out to apologise once she realised I was telling the truth.

    It's a difficult balance but, from my own experience, and my times on here, I'm glad everyone made efforts to get me to school because, when you have a disease like arthritis, an education is more important than ever. It gives you the qualifications which open up more areas of work, sometimes more sedentary areas, gentler work, perhaps from home or with flexible hours. We get so many unfortunate people on here who are doing heavy, manual work and have suddenly got a diagnosis of arthritis and don't know how they will pay the bills if they stop as they're not qualified for anything else.

    I'd say work with the teachers as much as you possibly can. I used to get work to take home with me during the bad times and, at uni, the lecturers were great at being accommodating. I had someone to write for me for my finals. If you and the headteacher don't get on, how much longer will your child be at that school? Any chance of moving to another with more congenial staff?
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Leanne1978

    Hi there. Just joined this group and came across your comment. My son is 14 and has Asperger’s syndrome, excessively tight ham strings and JIA. He is a very intelligent boy but has 78% attendance at school. Although the school are quite good they tend to constantly ask questions about his non attendance despite the fact that he has a educational health care plan in place. He has had joint injections and they definitely helped but flare ups are regular and on these days he simply can’t manage school. This is awful to see as his mum and I don’t think the school fully understand the seriousness of the condition.

  • CarolG
    CarolG Member Posts: 26

    Welcome @Leanne1978

    Hello there and welcome to our online community where you will hopefully find useful information, advice and support.

    As you have said although you recognise the school are fairly good, and despite having an education health care plan in place, they are often checking on his attendance record and not possibly fully understanding the impact his health has on his ability to attend school on those days where he has flare ups. I hear how hard this is for you and him.

    Our link above on our website for some general information, please scroll through and have a look.

    We also have further information on our website specifically for information for parents, pleas have a look,

    Thank you for your comments and let us know how you get on,

    Take care,


  • YvonneH
    YvonneH Member Posts: 1,076

    You can also join our 'Young people and families service'

    Here's the link for the England area

    Scroll down until you find the right section. If you live in one of the other countries click here

    and do the same.

    Take care

    Yvonne x