Testimonies from parents: 8. Mother from Hampshire

I am extremely clinically vulnerable and have to shield due to having severe asthma. My steroid medication suppresses my immune system. If I catch Covid, my outcome will be very grave.  Therefore, because the safety measures in schools do not prevent Covid spreading or children catching it, I felt the risk was too high for them to attend school as they could catch it and give it to me. I therefore requested authorised absence. I provided a consultant level medical letter to justify my decision. The Head refused to allow this. 

This led to:
– me being threatened with legal sanctions throughout absence. 
– me being referred to the Absence Legal Panel which I was also forbidden from attending (virtually). 
– personal medical documents being shared by the school to third parties without my consent.
– County refusing to accept the medical letter I submitted. My consultant was also made to retract his advice. 
– the relationship between the school and me fracturing completely – I now cannot trust the school. 
– intense conflict with the school over 3 months causing me high levels of stress and anxiety. 

I have taught my children a full and relevant curriculum throughout the pandemic. From September, the Head refused to share any information about education/the school with me. They even excluded me from receiving information emails/bulletins. The Head refused to provide any education, work or resources for my children (despite having a statutory obligation to do so). Thankfully, I am a fully qualified and experienced teacher so could still provide them with a high quality education. 

This is all so avoidable. There is a deadly disease spreading uncontrollably. Parents, vulnerable or not, should be allowed to choose whether to send their children into school during this time without threat of sanctions. The current laws were not written with a pandemic in mind. The mental health implications for my children would be far more severe should I catch Covid and spend a considerable period in hospital or die, than if they receive their education at home for a few months. 

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