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Missing school for medical appointments

Photo: How to cope with missing school for medical appointments

Deaf children often have to miss school for audiology or other medical appointments.
Even though you may ask for your child’s appointments to be out of school hours, this isn’t always possible.

How should my child’s absence be recorded?

Each school day counts as two sessions: morning and afternoon. The register must be taken at least twice a day so that schools can record attendance for each session.

Every absence must be recorded as authorised or unauthorised.

If you’ve given the school advance notice of your child’s absence for a medical appointment, it should be counted as an authorised absence.

Why does it matter?

Your child’s attendance record over any period can be reported as a percentage. If the percentage drops below a certain level, schools have to take action and this can lead to sanctions (on parents) for poor attendance.

Both authorised and unauthorised absences count towards the overall percentage but if your child’s authorised absences have been properly recorded, you can prove that they were justified.

Are 100% attendance reward schemes unfair to deaf children?

Schools are keen to promote good attendance and many have reward schemes to encourage children to achieve 100% attendance and discourage parents from taking their child out of school unnecessarily.

Attendance reward schemes are fine as long as they make reasonable adjustments to make sure they aren’t putting disabled children at a disadvantage.

All children with a permanent hearing loss will meet the definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010 (England, Scotland and Wales) and the Special Educational Needs and Disability (Northern Ireland) Order 2005 (SENDO).

For example, a reasonable adjustment could be to have a policy where a child gets rewarded as long as they have 100% attendance for the time they could reasonably be expected to be in school, i.e. not including medical appointments and any time off because of sickness related to their disability.

For more information about reasonable adjustments and the Equality Act, go to The Equality Act and your child's education

What should I do if I’m concerned about how my child’s absences are being recorded?

Speak to your child’s school or contact our Freephone Helpline.

Where can I find more information?

You could ask your child’s school for a copy of their attendance policy or read the government guidance for your nation:

England

School Attendance

Scotland

A Guide for Parents About School Attendance

Wales

All Wales Attendance Framework

Northern Ireland

Attendance Guidance and Absence Recording by Schools