I found an email the other day. It was my reply to a letter from the school attendance officer informing me that my child was a persistent absentee and if his attendance didn’t improve I would be fined. I expect the letter I was sent was a copy that automatically went out to anyone with less than 90% attendance, but I remember being really upset by the insensitivity at the time. Schools really should think about individual circumstances a bit more! Here was my reply, and needless to say I never got an attendance letter again!
Dear …….attendance officer
Thank You for your letter informing me that my son,…… is currently a persistent absentee as his attendance is 90% or less.
As you are aware, ……..is disabled and has many appointments during school hours. He is also seeing a psychologist one day a week due to googling “how to kill myself” whilst at school. Being that the environment that he is in whilst at school is so stressful and his anxiety levels are through the roof, he is unable to attend school at all on that day as he becomes too stressed and overstimulated to talk to the psychologist.
……is completely unable to join in with some of the activities at school due to his disability and the run up to Christmas includes many of these things.
…… is in the wrong educational environment and, despite the school putting a lot of support in place for him, he is constantly stressed, anxious and overstimulated. The work load put on him in the run up to SATS is proving to be incredibly difficult for him and you may have noticed the amount of time he spends in the corridor crying, banging his head on the wall and being generally distressed.
I am in total agreement that …… attendance needs to improve significantly for the remainder of the year and look forward to working with you, and also the CAMHS team in the new year, to put measures in place that enable……. to attend school without being bullied or stressed to the point of having suicidal thoughts.
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