Persistent absentee!


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.


Yours Sincerely

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21 Comments Add yours

  1. Tracey Abrahams says:

    Oh this post makes me so sad. Time and time again I read about kids who are driven to suicidal thoughts because the school system really doesnt adapt itself for any children who do not fit its tightly controlled view of how children need to be taught. Something needs to fundamentally change.

  2. Shridevi says:

    Sorry you had to deal with this insensitive email. I have a daughter who has sensory integration disorder, and know how much stressful and overwhelming it gets for her in certain setups. I really wish schools were more sensitive and could see children as individuals with specific and varied needs, and not have a ‘one rule fits all’ kind of a system.

    1. I completely agree with you!

  3. Oh its so sad to hear about your son, I know it’s very hard for you to deal this, please take good care of him, and just shook off that officer. He doesn’t know how it feels to have huge struggles like this. hope for the best!

  4. So sad. People tend to be egocentric. They only think and act based on their own value. But this shouldn’t be done by school attendance officer. They should have to know about kid’s special needs.

  5. Tara Neale says:

    Home educate? Will enable the travelling more too. The sad truth is that schools CANNOT meet the unique needs of our #neurodivergent little humans. Sometimes even the best of them just are too much for some. I know that #RadiCoolUnschooling PanKwake has been the best thing I have ever done for her. I have loads of 411 on my blog…but am also happy to talk to you personally if you email or message me.

    1. Thankyou Tara! I have moved his school now to a specialist school and there are seven kids in his class and trained staff so he is much happier. Good luck to you, I know a lot of parents who have ended up home educating, it can make children so much happier x

  6. School these days have adopted one solution fits all sort of a system. They need to sensitive to every child’s needs. They are after all responsible for nurturing every child that comes to them. I hope they pay heed to your letter.

  7. Abbigayle @ Her Luxe Travels says:

    you go mom! Schools sometimes only care about their stats and whats best for the school rather than the needs of their students! I’m sorry to hear about your child going through something like this i’m sure it must be a stressful feeling for you.

  8. Elizabeth O says:

    it makes me feel so sad. I know it’s very hard for you to deal with this. it must be very stressful for you. I really wish schools were more sensitive and could see children as individuals with specific and their most need.

  9. I hate automated letters or emails. And this is beyond insensitive given the situation. I hope things get better. Sending you positive vibes.

  10. Mia Alviz says:

    Well done! I suffered severe bulling during my high-school years. Having supportive parents definitely helps! Keep on going, momma!

  11. dawnwairimu says:

    i’m sorry to hear that this happened – some people are really insensitive. but your son is lucky to have you as his mom.

  12. DrKLeeBanks says:

    How sad, ignorant, and insensitive of this school “official.” It’s interesting how many times parents have to “educate the educators,” especially about children with special needs. My youngest daughter has already had to do some of this, and my oldest granddaughter is only 5! She has sensory processing disorder and likely Asperger’s, but no official diagnosis until she’s a bit older. Like you had to explain about your son and his challenges, my daughter has had to likewise explain why my granddaughter has certain reactions and why, and how they could help decrease or eliminate triggers.

  13. I couldn’t agree more very powerful and thought provoking post.

  14. Rosey says:

    Form letters never instill a sense of belonging. They definitely should take circumstances into consideration before sending out letters.

  15. lucicoo says:

    That’s insane that a school would do that to a child that has a disability and it is also crazy that they would fine you. The school should know that he has appointments.

  16. Sin Yee says:

    Thanks for letting more people know about the “bad thing”. The society is still lack of awareness and not aware of the sensitive issue! I hope you are fine now.

  17. Mommy Pehpot says:

    Your reply is on point! I have no idea what your son is going through but he is lucky to have a supportive mom like you.

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