What to do if your child is unwell
Most schools will have an attendance policy which is aligned to the expectations and guidance of the Isle of Wight local authority, including the specific procedures a parent/carer should follow in the event of their child needing to be absent from school. Parents/carers are advised to refer to the school’s own procedures alongside this guidance.
As a parent/carer you should notify the school on the first day your child is unable to attend due to illness. Generally this is done by telephone and many schools now have an answerphone facility specifically for this purpose. Schools should authorise absences, unless in very rare cases when they have cause for concern about the genuineness of an illness. If this is in doubt, schools can request that medical evidence is provided, such as a prescription or an appointment card; a note from a doctor may not be necessary. Schools can record the absence as unauthorised if they are not satisfied that the illness is genuine but should advise parents/carers if they intend to do so.
You should let the school know:
- the nature of the illness (although you may wish to talk confidentially about this)
- whether your child has seen their GP, or whether an appointment has been made for some other specialist service
- how long you expect your child to be absent from school
- the prognosis for the child’s recovery.
For absences that are expected to last up to 15 school days and that are not part of a pattern of a recurring illness, the parents/carers should discuss with the school whether they are willing to organise for work and homework to be set as soon as the child is able to cope with it. The school should also agree with you how completed work will be collected, marked and returned.
Longer absence through illness, injury or medical condition
If absence is long-term or repeated, schools may request proof that your child is genuinely unwell and unable to attend school as this is a key part of their safeguarding duties. Keep copies of any appointment letters or medical reports.
If your child:
- has a long term or chronic condition, and is expected to be absent from school for a longer period
- has intermittent attendance due to an illness (such as epilepsy or sickle cell anaemia)
- is going to be absent from school for a period of therapy or surgery
The school may want to draw up a support plan with you, and consider whether to refer your child to our specialist services.
Education for pupils who are unable to attend school because of medical needs can be provided for in the following ways:
- children who are in-patients of most hospitals will be taught through the in hospital teaching service
- children who are not in-patients, may receive home tutoring organised via the Education Inclusion Service and a local education centre
Children who are admitted to NHS hospitals (including psychiatric units) in other areas will receive education through local hospitals, schools or an education centre.