The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has welcomed the news that the Central South Wales Consortium have taken the common sense decision to withdraw the advice leaflet,‘A Parent’s Guide to Managing Sickness Absence from School’.
The leaflet was issued to all parents in the Bridgend area earlier in the year, telling them to send their children to school with conditions such as glandular fever, tonsillitis, slapped cheek and conjunctivitis. However, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health have said that the table used in the leaflet has been taken out of context and is misleading, and had contacted the Consortium to point out the misunderstanding
Mr Black wrote to the Education Minister and the Central South Wales Consortium asking them to withdraw the advice leaflet. He had also questioned the First Minister on the issue. At the time the First Minister said he was unaware of the leaflet.
Mr Black said “I am pleased that this leaflet has finally be withdrawn. I believe that it was wholly irresponsible, suggesting that parents should be sending children to school when they are suffering from illnesses such as glandular fever, and tonsillitis as well as infectious conditions such as conjunctivitis, slapped cheek, and hand foot and mouth.
“There is a danger of passing on these illnesses to otherwise healthy classmates and staff. Some children can be extremely ill, then it is important for a GP to assess and decide how long they should be kept out of school. The advice in the sickness leaflet was causing confusion and consternation amongst both parents and schools.
“Now the First Minister has acquainted himself with the situation, a common sense decision had been made – the leaflet has been withdrawn. I remain concerned though that the consortium that issued the advice appears to be beyond scrutiny and to be unaccountable. Whilst I am aware that improving attendance is a key issue for the consortium, it is not helpful to give parents inaccurate guidance on managing sickness absence.”
Note to Editors: The Consortium leaflet uses ‘Recommended time off school’ as basis of its guidance and claimed it “obtained directly” the advice from Public Health England and RCPCH: