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Non Attendance Of Children


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I think we probably all have children who are absent from pre-school with no notification and then turn up the next day or a couple of days later with parents saying "he/she wasn't in because ...".

We also have parents who are really good at phoning to let us know their child won't be in for whatever reason.

 

However, I wonder what you all do if a child is suddenly not in, no message received and the abscence continues - how long do you wait before contacting parents, if no response then what??

 

We have a child who attends 5 days and attendance has been really good. The odd day off but back the next day with 'had a cough' or whatever. Then suddenly off for one day which turned into 2 and eventually the whole week - I am really interested to see what if anything you would have done.

 

Then I will finish the tale and tell you what we actually did and the outcome!

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We always say "We reserve the right to charge for non-attendance without notification" and that's in the policy, prospectus and on newsletters, so they see it. Actually mine at the moment are the opposite "No, take it, it's fine"

 

So, depending on how apologetic or whatever I do "reserve the right to charge"

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A very frosty good morning to you all from Kent (no swow here yet).

 

We have a child off at the moment, attends two days a week, and has been off for two weeks. I don't know what to do other than take him off the register, I've phoned both parents phone numbers and each one tells me they cannot connect me and the home number makes a horrid noise, no ringing.

 

What makes this one "odd" is that his mums' friend phoned last week to ask if he was in (didn't give an answer to her though, said we couldn't divugle such info) as she couldn't get hold of them either. Dad is not English so all we can think is something has made them upstick and go abroad.

 

So any suggestions on this one would be appreciated as it seems that this family has just dissappeared, do I report and who would I report it to? No problems with money paid cash each week so its not a build up a debt and do a runner senario.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

BMG

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Intriged to know the outcome :o

So am I xD

 

So, yes, well - I would make contact - probably by email........something along the lines of.......'is everything OK, worried about 'Johnny', please let me know' - that sort of thing.....

 

Hmmm.... if that didn't gain a response, well I would phone......hmmm - what next :(

 

Am I right in sensing a 'child protection' issue here?

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OH BMG thought I would let you know what we did

 

Very similar situation in the not English part. In our case the child was off for a whole week with no contact from parents. On the fourth day off we phoned and left a message but no response. On the 5th day phoned again and left message on mobile and sent a text but again no response.

 

Beginning of the following week child not in again so we referred it to social care. They were brilliant and 'took over' making their own enquiries. They rang back to say they too could not make contact and had referred it to the Police. The following day we had a really nice phone call from the POlice, bringing us up to date with their findings and thanking us for being so professional and 'on the ball' so to speak. I can't give details but it turned out to be a safequarding issue, children safe but no longer in UK.

 

In light of our experience I would say definitely report it. If there is a problem you could possibly be asked at a later date 'why didn't you do anything' so perhaps it's a little bit of 'covering your back' in addition to being concerned about the child of course

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Oh well done for doing the right thing there! Hope that the child in question is going to be OK......

 

Thanks for highlighting this......has made me realise that I actually have no 'back up plan' should I be unable to make contact......

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Oh well done for doing the right thing there! Hope that the child in question is going to be OK......

 

Thanks for highlighting this......has made me realise that I actually have no 'back up plan' should I be unable to make contact......

 

Yes the child is fine :oxD but like you we had no 'back up plan' but then again this was a 'first' for us. Never had a child off for more than a couple of days without a message.

 

To be honest we hesitated about contacting social care as we had no cause for concern other than the unexpected abscence and therefore thought maybe it wasn't appropriate to contact them so it was really a case of phone and see what they say - nothing ventured nothing gained kind of thing!

 

We are now adding a paragraph to our policy but not quite sure what it is going to say yet!!

 

Certainly a lesson learnt for us and just thought I would share :(

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I phone the parents if the child has missed three days with no call....I always want to know they are ok.. :o

and it there is no response to your call do you have a 'follow up' or 'back up' procedure because we didn't but we will have after this event!

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We do a courtesy call after a couple of days just asking if theyre ok, any illness we may need to let parents know to watch for etc.

 

I'm sure this has been brought up here a year or so ago cos I remember thinking gosh... What would we do (being daycare and parents choosing to come, rather than school and a duty to attend)

 

We tend to get this situation when there's a difficulty to pay. They don't turn up, give notice make contact etc (silly when they are still accruing fees)

 

Thanks Geraldine, for saying about this. Am going to flag it up in our welcome pack (it's getting quite hefty now lol) and let parents know - we have the paragraph about non collection procedures so it might sit well in there.

 

Glad to hear little one was fine though :)

 

Edit to correct silly iPhone predictions...really does change the tone of the conversation!!

Edited by gingerbreadman
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Hi

We are part of a school with an ongoing attendance problem, any ideas for improving on it gratefully received!

so we follow the school policy: parents should phone us before 9:00, if we haven't heard we phone that morning, if we can't contact the parents by phone we leave messages and then we contact social care who have always been very good with advice or follow up , we also have a good relationship with the local police, who are involved with some of our families.

Sadly we have had children go missing because of family violence so I would always err on the side of caution, most of our families are pleased to know that you care enough to call.

Edited by fay
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I have an attendance problem with alot of my children for various reasons, either cultural or lack of thought on parents side. I leave it a week then phone to check child is ok. If nothing else it sets all our minds at ease to know we have done something, so we don't have that what if situation.

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we are a preschool and again non attendance is normally linked to fees, but they still have to pay

 

we have just had one this year off for a week, so phoned to ensure ok, told was ill with virus, off next week and seen running around picking brother up from local school! phoned again but was ignored to passed to admiinistratpr and she popped round with a reminder letter payment plan etc and he returned, was just worry

 

we always ring after a week, or pop round as a small village just to make sure all is ok

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Very interesting post.

Personally, when I was a manager of a setting I would always call after three days if family had not been in contact at all, mainly in case the child was absent due to something contagious and so I could alert other families, especially those who may be pregnant at the time.

Learning about the incident from Geraldine, shows how important it is as part of safeguarding - Surely this is something that should be included in safeguarding training.

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- Surely this is something that should be included in safeguarding training.

 

I kind of agree but I also think there is an issue of 'balance' here. We have parents where the child is off for one or two days and returns with an explanation for the absence. We also have a few who will return with their child and apologise for not phoning - 'I had no credit on my phone so couldn't ring' is one we get alot of.

 

Of course it goes without saying we should do all in our power to safeguard every child in our care but I am not quite sure what 'guidance' could be introduced for the situation I highlighted in my original post.

 

If we are talking safeguarding then waiting 2 or 3 days before contacting parents could be too late. I guess that could be addressed in part by adopting the policy alot of schools have, if children don't turn up we phone. Even then I think phoning on day 1 of absence,getting no response and passing on to social care could be seen to be a bit over the top?

 

Maybe it comes down to knowing our parents and using professional judgement but yet having a policy/procedure in place

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This is a really interesting thread!

 

I've had two situation over the last year or so, which link into this:-

 

1. a child who'd been coming only for about 5 weeks suddenly didn't turn up, we tried to contact mum - no answer - same next day. kept trying all week still no answer. A parent then asked if they were in because mum had not turned up for an appointment..... then we heard that the house was empty! Rumours from neighbour that the family had packed up in the middle of the night and just gone! We then made the decisision to contact social services becuase we also heard that this wasn't the first time they had 'flitted'. We thought that from a child protection view it was quite serious because we also heard that the family also had a CAF (although not for the child attending pre-school). Well social services said that because the child wasn't of statutory age (he was 28 months) then the family are quite entitled to leave and no one needs to know where they have gone! I was absolutely horrified, to say the least - do we learn nothing from previous cases??? Our most vulnerable children given their age and no-one seems to care. In the end we found out where the older child was going to school and contacted the pre-school to check younger child was known/registered. We decided that confidentiality was not an issue as we just needed to make sure child was ok. Don't know if that was right or not but as no one else was interested, what else could we do?

 

2. A regular child didn't come in one morning and we thought maybe they had told us but we had forgotten, it was quite unusual not to hear from family if child was ill or going out, etc. Well it was quite a busy morning and we didn't think anything more until about 11am when the supervisor thought she'd ring mum to find out if child was ill. Mum was hysterical because as far as she knew aunty should have brought child into pre-school! Well it turned out that child had fallen asleep so aunty made the decision to keep him at home. We immediately put in a plan that if a child doesn't turn up by 9.30 and we haven't heard from family then we will make contact. Imagine if aunty had had an accident on way to pre-school and mum had arrived to collect at 1pm to find he wasn't there! Doesn't bear thinking about....

 

There are so many situations where time really is important and to wait 2 or 3 days before making contact could just be too late. At least if you try to make contact on first day of absence then you wouldn't feel so bad if you find something has happened. I actually still feel a bit sick when I think about what this poor mum went through to receive a call asking where her child was when she thought she has been with us for the last 2 hours.

 

And yes, she was absolutely furious with aunty!

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I send a text message initially about half an hour into the session and if there's no response I try phoning at break. I've not had a situation yet when either didn't make contact, but perhaps I need to think about what I'd do if I didn't make contact, in light of the issues raised in this thread.

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