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Schools Requesting Certificates for Children's Absences

Updated on 07 March 2019, 1184 views

Schools are under increasing pressure to reduce non-attendance and will make contact with parents/guardians if there is a concern that any missed schooling is not justified. When parents turn up to ask for a letter or certificate about a possible health problem   they may see this  as  a way of avoiding  a conversation  with the school about how the child’s educational needs can best be served. This is unlikely to be an area in which the GP has expertise. Any documents you issue should be confined to the medical facts

Occasionally GPs are asked by school staff for certificates to confirm illness in children. This is not usually necessary, and is not part of core services.  We have therefore produced a letter which you may download to send to the school requesting this information.

You should, however, consider the following:

is this a safeguarding issue (is the parent keeping the child home to act as a carer or other role)?
do you consider that your patient has an enduring health problem that would be best helped by involvement of the education authorities (every child has a right to an education)

If so, then sharing information with the school should be done without charge (although you don't necessarily have to provide a written report).  If you are reasonably sure that these two important considerations don't apply, and the parents/guardians would like a letter and you are willing to provide obe, then you may charge a fee.