Are You Really Ill?


Today was a very frustrating day for all of us. I was expecting that it would be, but I guess I was hoping for some divine intervention.

We received a letter from our daughters school that showed she had a number of unauthorised absences where she had been under the doctor for being unwell. We were shocked by this and arranged a meeting, thinking that this was an error or an oversight.

My daughter has medical issues and so she suffers from pain and other symptoms. This in turn leads make her more susceptible to infection and illness. Despite all this, she attends school nearly every day and it is only in the most extreme circumstances that she is off school.

When we went into the meeting, we were told that the head teacher has guidelines handed down from the NHS that tell them what illness or other problem needs time off school and which don’t. This means that even though our daughter was on antibiotics for an infection and we had a letter from the GP, it wasn’t on the list of acceptable illnesses.

I have to admit that I was very shocked that schools had such a list and that they were effectively countermanding a GP decision. I know that children need to be in school and i fully support measures against truancy, but in these situations, surely common sense should play a part.

My daughter has emotional issues because she was around during my wife’s cancer treatment and surgery. Despite several pleas for help, the school only offered her counselling for 8 sessions and the NHS said there is a one year waiting list. As a mental health sufferer, this is the reason I do this blog, because there is so little help for those young people who need it.

At my daughters school, there are often sickness bugs and other illnesses that continue to plague the children and teachers because they are pressured to come in. I can’t see how this can be good for the children’s long term learning or health.

I feel so frustrated and impotent about the whole thing. We have always tried so hard to give our daughter the best chance regardless of her problems. But I feel as though the school are more concerned with figures that the physical and emotional needs of the children they care for.

I feel so strongly about it, that I have written a letter to the school governors and I intend to write to the local authority as well.



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