Staff sickness can be a real problem for schools, having to arrange PPA cover among other worries, but should schools be being so demanding for sick notes when it comes to pupil absence?
According to GPs, no they shouldn’t. In fact, according to The Times, GPs are begging schools to stop asking parent’s for sick notes for their children’s minor illnesses. This arguably unnecessary bureaucracy is taking time away for appointments needed by patients who are seriously ill, as well as elderly patients,
Now, GPs have been told they are well within their rights to refuse sick notes by local medical committees, despite schools’ now strict approach to recording sicknesses and absences at schools.
Parents can now be fined for taking their child out of school in term time for unapproved periods of time, and the strict requests for sick notes are to stop parents using sickness as a cover for holiday.
A spokesman for the Londonwide Local Medical Committees said that by providing a letter template, parents could self-certify for short-term illnesses: “Providing sick notes to children who have been off school for fewer than seven days is not part of a GP’s NHS contractual requirements, nor is there any legal obligation for schools to ask for such letters,” he said.
The template letter explains that for many of these sicknesses, a doctor’s visit would not be required if it was not for want of a sick note, and that this was pushing the concept of dependence on the health service to children of a young age.