Written evidence submitted by a member of the public



We are a 261 pupil Primary in a semi-rural town in [county] with low diversity and lower than average pupil premium and Free School Meals but high levels of SEND.


In my opinion the majority of our absence is due to low parental resilience and “wrapping children up in cotton wool.” 


Term time holidays are not authorised and are historically <1% although requests  have risen slightly  over the last 15 months due to Co-Vid related reallocation of dates and parents being honest about not being ablole to afford holiday prices. The penalty notice is usually less than the amount saved by going on holiday in term time so is little deterrent.  The everlasting number of hoops that need jumping through to avoid getting a penalty notice overturned are not worth the time and effort school staff have to spend doing this. 


The majority of our absence is due to “illness” and “medical” which includes hospital appointments which for children with SEND can be more frequent than for other children.  It is very difficult not to authorise these for other children and we do ask for medical evidence such as appointment cards if we are in doubt but since a lot of GP advice is now by telephone, parents can legitimately argue that they have no evidence.


        Sometimes children have longer off school than we would do when unwell.  We have a lot of families where at least one parent either does not work or works from home and I think having a child at home has become more manageable since Covid.

        There are no longer any school nurses to “check” if pupils have seen a GP/give advice to parents about when their child should return. We worked very closely with our last school nurse and were effective at this.

        Parents often send photos to our office staff eg rashes and tonsils etc expecting us to diagnose as they are unable to get GP appointments.

        A few parents keep their child off school for a day or two if their child is upset or if they do not like something a member of staff has said.  This is not authroised but there is no consequence for the parent.

        When we have a duty to inform parents of cases in school ie Covid previously and Scarlet Fever and Strp A recently, other children are absent for the following days and we are told they are unwell but suspect it is to avoid contact.



January 2023