Tuesday, 7 May 2013

When is a child poorly enough to not got to school?

"I'm really not feeling well..."

All week-end DD2 has been suffering from a cold and saying at bedtime that she felt sick. But it didn't stop her playing outside, enjoying an ice-cream in the sunshine, paddling in water.
So when she got up this morning saying that she 'really felt sick' I must say I took a harsh view on it and told her that she had to go to school anyway.
But it's hard because I believe she might not feel that well. She's prone to tonsillitis and, as a consequence, tends to have a combination of sore throat and sore tummy when she has a cold. Has she not been herself this week-end I might have been swayed. It's happened before that, even without a temperature or being actually sick, she was sleepy and felt cold but not this time.
There is still though, at the back of my mind, the idea that the school could call me any minute to come and pick her up...

Talking of the school... Have any of you known the scheme that was in place the last couple of years? In Hampshire they were giving ice rink tickets to the children who had not missed school during a term. A 'reward' that I foudn utterly outrageous. I remember DD2, then age 6, telling me that she had to do her best not to be poorly. As if she could have helped it! As if it was not sufficient not to feel well, the children had to feel guilty about it and were penalised when other children received the most coveted tickets during Assembly.
This year though the message has changed. Logically the school suffered higher rates of absent children as parents were pushed to send them in class when they were not well, so now the word is to keep them at home... 

One way or another it doesn't make it easier to decide, when is 'poorly' poorly enough to stay at home?!


  1. My mum always made us get up and then see how we felt. My brother said he was not well, was promptly sent to school and was sick before assembly. Mum felt terrible!! I work full time, so am quite bad at pushing the children to school, in the hopes that they will get through the day, or at least most of it. However, I don't bother when they are looking really unwell and are out of character. I guess we do our best.

  2. You're right, we do our best! And even if we can occasionnally get it wrong we know our children well enough to guess when they're really poorly. The tricky part is that it can change so quickly, for better or worse! Most time I was called by the school to collect there was no sign of illness in the morning anyway.

    Thanks for coemmenting. xx

  3. I am always sceptical when the 'illnesses' manifest themselves at bedtime, as my eldest daughter's usually do. Right when it's lights out, she suddenly has a headache, needs a plaster, has an itch....I am SO unsympathetic, that I do feel a bit bad sometimes, but such a ruse!

    So far, not been caught out, but I am sure my time will come.....

    1. We've got things cropping up at bedtime too. My answer is generally "It's because you're tired, go to sleep! You can have some Calpol if you want." Anyway, even if they're coming down with something the best cure is sleep, isn't it?!

  4. This rings so true - for the last few days L has been complaining of a sore throat/tongue at mealtimes and I was convinced it was because we were having food she didn't want to eat, then this morning I checked her tongue and throat and she's got quite a few ulcers, poor thing. However your point about school rings true, as I managed to get her a doctor's appointment and she shrieked she didn't want to go if it meant missing school as then she wouldn't get her 100% attendance badge and certificate! Fortunately the appointment was between two registrations so we managed to wangle it ;-)

    1. I suppose it's a fine line between discouraging unnecessary absences and encouraging attendance when they shouldn't be there! But I don't think it's in the interest of schools to have poorly children within their walls! Especially when it all comes to looking good in front of the Council when they present their overall attendance rates...