Discrimination at school?

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Mum2Monkey
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Discrimination at school?

Postby Mum2Monkey » Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:29 pm

My child goes to an academy (state ) school. To encourage attendence, those with 100 percent get a reward - eg a badge, taken out for a picnic or icecream.

My child has a medical condition which means they need the odd full day in hospital or can't attend school - despite being well themselves - because of certain types of contagious illnesses being at school which would be dangerous to be exposed too. The school lets us know if that is the case and sends school work home.

However, the school is unwilling to make allowances for this in terms of calculating attendance and my child has never had the attendance treat. This is now really bothering them and they are asking to go into school on the day or two a year when they really need to be taught at home for their own health reasons. School won't budge.

Can I demand that the school provide a safe environment for my daughter and registers her for that day? Legally, can they discriminate like this? If I did this at work, then I would be discriminating against a protected group (disability ) and breaching employment laws. However I am not sure that discrimination under the equality act can be applied to schools?

Talking to the school again won't help. Does anyone have any ideas on what our rights are, who I escalate this to (academy - not council school) and any legal recourse?

One parent has pulled her child out of the school because of similar issues and around 75 percent do get the attendance treat. Ideally I wouldn't move schools as otherwise it is a very good school (highly rated in Nappyvalley) and she is happy.

Thanks for any advice
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sloaney donkey
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Re: Discrimination at school?

Postby sloaney donkey » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:01 pm

Sounds like the headmaster is being very unfair

If people want to come but cannot because he or she can’t keep the school safe then those people wronged can’t be held responsible

“Headmaster can’t keep the school safe for all and takes it out on kids with disabilities”
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firsttimerSW11
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Re: Discrimination at school?

Postby firsttimerSW11 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:50 pm

Are you suggesting that they remove the attendance incentive or are you saying that your child should be eligible to receive it despite having a less than perfect attendance record?

Like it or not, your child negatively affects the school’s attendance record, a benchmark on which huge importance is placed by OFSTED, despite it being through no fault of her own.

Just because she hasn’t won that prize doesn’t mean she won’t win other prizes/awards. Sometimes life isn’t fair and in this case I don’t think the school is being unreasonable
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chorister
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Re: Discrimination at school?

Postby chorister » Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:46 am

May be teach your daughter that life isn't always fair?  It could be a valuable lesson for later life ........
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rubyonrails
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Re: Discrimination at school?

Postby rubyonrails » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:01 am

I think it seems very unfair. If a child cannot come to school because the environment isn't safe but the child is willing to attend,  then I think that they should be registered as attending if they are doing the work. 

Not sure about the sick days but again if they get a hospital attendance note and it covers the whole day that they are absent then I dont think that they should be penalised.Im not sure such days count as absent days for records in any case.
 
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mummybubble
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Re: Discrimination at school?

Postby mummybubble » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:14 am

You have my sympathies and support. Life is no doubt difficult enough without this to deal with too. It sounds to me like your child is effectively being penalised for having a medical condition. These sorts of incentives that children cannot reach - through no fault of their own -  really bother me (I am a school counsellor in training). Yes good attendance is important, and families should be supported where possible to have their child in school. But this is not a situation where there is a lack of desire to attend.

Those who say 'life isn't fair, teach your child that' seem to me to be completely lacking in empathy and understanding here. This child has a medical condition and she and her family are probably well aware of how unfair life can be on a daily basis. One size does not fit all and the "Every Child matters" government policy is centred on allowing each child to be able to work towards goals in an individualized manner. 

One way to seek further advice may be through - https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/famil ... n-schools/

I see you say you can't take it further with the school but I just wonder if the SENCO/school counsellor or some sympathetic member of staff might advocate on your behalf here? With some persuasion, could the school arrange for some other reward for your child working to the best of her ability - within the constraints of her illness? If they absolutely will not budge and you are otherwise happy with the school, could you arrange a reward for your child yourself (although this may seem galling to have to consider?) I wish you the best of luck and it is clear how hard you are working to support your child here. 
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Titanium
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Re: Discrimination at school?

Postby Titanium » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:36 pm

I agree with mummybubble. Some pupils who can’t participate to this attendance award, which I find ridiculous, as nature is unfair but then there are other pupils who can’t participate to other types of awards, also because of disabilities or conditions, so what to do?
Something else to say:
It is very hard for a child to live with a condition that affects their daily life. But for the child, the worst is when their peers or other people don’t understand it, mock them because of it, exclude them or challenge them to ‘get on with it’.
I believe Mum2monkey is facing quite a lot of distress from her child and has posted to see if there was any advice available, not to be told how to parent her child. Who are you (some posters above) to tell her how to parent her child and comment on the attendance affecting the school’s records? And what sort of good would it do to tell a child in pain such enormity? A child with a medical condition is already much more resilient and has learnt to accept many unpleasant consequences on their life. Don’t you think they deserve more than a ‘get on with it’? Why are you saying such things exactly? Do you have a personal issue with this?
Children with medical conditions regularly face hostility when their needed are being catered because other children often lack the maturity and empathy to understand that this child is not seeking attention, he just has to live with a condition. It is annoying but quite common and hopefully children will develop empathy as they grow. But for adults to talk like this ? It is very worrying.
Last edited by Titanium on Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Titanium
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Re: Discrimination at school?

Postby Titanium » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:59 pm

Forgot to say: about the attendance for children with medical conditions, and the need to study from home occasionally, you could speak to your borough’s children services (education) for advice - They are usually very receptive and know that some children can’t fulfil attendance requirements. You can even ask them if you need them to speak to the school.
Perhaps the school needs to comply to certain policies & it could be an admin thing that they need, such as a medical letter? I would bring this up to the head because the child’s welfare is their matter as well as the parents’ and good chances are it will get solved more easily than you think. People in education are usually aware and used to children with medical conditions, but sometimes they need an update to make sure that all is done for your child’s education to continue. Sorry I wrote a lot, but this issue is one that is close to my heart.
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lalectrice
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Re: Discrimination at school?

Postby lalectrice » Tue Sep 17, 2019 6:11 pm

Under the 2010 Equality Act schools are obliged to make 'reasonable adjustments' to cater for pupils with disabilities - this includes SEN and medical conditions. If a pupil feels that they have been the subject of discrimination they have the right to appeal to the school on these legal grounds.
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Liz Sole
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Re: Discrimination at school?

Postby Liz Sole » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:26 am

As lalecrice said schools must make 'reasonable adjustments' otherwise, yes this sounds like discrimination to me.  
I hope your daughter is well and she gets the award she deserves ; )
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Liz Sole
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Re: Discrimination at school?

Postby Liz Sole » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:29 am

Can you also please PM me which school it is so as I can avoid that one, thanks ; )
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Wuzalina
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Re: Discrimination at school?

Postby Wuzalina » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:34 am

Yes this is discrimination against your child. It is abhorrent that any child is not able to qualify for an award because of their medical condition.

Personally I would discuss this with the headteacher and point out that the school is acting against the equalities act. If they counter with the fact that attendance awards are often given in this way just remind them that that does not make it lawful. It would be very easy to make a reasonable adjustment in this case. If that doesn’t work go to the governors.

There was recent case law involving a private school which excluded a child with SEN needs for violence and they were found to be in breach of disability discrimination requirements.

As for the comments above forget many of them. As Titanium says they lack empathy and likely will have no idea whatsoever it is like for a child with a medical condition of SEN needs. Or for their family. I think you do you and ignore any advice that does not place the well-being of your child and your question at the centre of it. Quite apart from anything else to the posted who said “perhaps teach your child that life is not fair” your child already knows that - and is reminded of it with multiple hospital trips.
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Balance
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Re: Discrimination at school?

Postby Balance » Mon Sep 23, 2019 8:42 am

My daughter was sexually assaulted aged 6 by six boys in her class and the year above.  School didn't take that seriously and left her to endure 6 months of gender based violence before putting her in a special needs class. They sought legal action against me for talking to governors.  I took her out of that school and then in the second we endured 18 months of honour violence from a religious family. School did nothing about that either apart from go after me again.  Schools, like the rest of our liberal country, put themselves first.  They are thinking of their ofsted rating and what a pain it would be to have to deal with all the other families that would complain about the unfairness of including your child.  You most certainly could tackle it through their equalities policy ... but be warned ... it will likely ostracise you.
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2009Kat
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Re: Discrimination at school?

Postby 2009Kat » Mon Sep 23, 2019 10:35 am

I'm sorry you're going through this, it is unfair.  I also don't think this is an issue linked to this particular school, I believe it goes on in most schools. There are many children who can't attend for various reasons (esp those with school related anxiety) and this is horrific for them - my own child frequently gets the 100% badge and we do not celebrate it.
While I have the utmost sympathy for your daughter (yes life is unfair but she already has to deal with that given her medical needs so the comments above on that are not helpful), I would also suggest that you consider carefully whether to push the disability discrimination point in terms of the overall relationship with the school.  Its quite a strong point to be making that may not go down well with them.  We've sucked up a lot from my children's school in order to maintain a positive and constructive relationship with them.  However up to you what to do since this is clearly bothering your poor daughter. 
 
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dudette
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Re: Discrimination at school?

Postby dudette » Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:18 pm

I share your outrage, in fact I feel very angry about these ridiculous ‘awards’ for attendance and think they should be banned. Why should your child suffer because another child has come to school when they are ill to improve their attendance record? How many kids are spreading germs unnecessarily because of this? Some kids just are more prone to illness than others (and very much more so in your daughter’s case) - it is totally unfair that they should be penalised for not attending school when they are ill. And as for some people saying you should tell your poor daughter that life is unfair - well yes it is sometimes and you can’t do anything about it, but sometimes it’s unfair and you can - and this is one of those circumstances. You need to stand up and fight (sounds like you are!). I feel very strongly that schools should not be allowed to do this. It’s actually incredibly dangerous - what if a child has something like measles or mumps; what happens to pregnant teachers who are at risk of picking up illnesses that could harm their babies? I suggest you go and visit your MP to ask for advice and get their support in getting these ridiculous awards banned. In the meantime, why don’t you get together with the parents of the other kids who have ‘failed’ and organise something fun for them? Make sure it’s only for the kids who didn’t get the school reward and make sure the school knows about it. Grrrrrrrr.
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