The First Minister has told Welsh Liberal Democrats Regional Assembly Member, Peter Black in the Senedd today that he was not aware of the latest illness absence advice handed out to parents of school-age children in Bridgend from the Central South Consortium, despite having two children at school in the area.
The Consortium, which is a partnership between Bridgend, Cardiff, Vale of Glamorgan, Rhondda Cynon Taf, and Merthyr councils has told parents that they should send their sick children to school when they are suffering from illnesses like glandular fever, and tonsillitis.
Many schools and parents remain concerned by the advice. One contacted Mr. Black’s office today to say that when she kept her child at home last week because of tonsillitis, she had received a visit from the truancy officer. However, when she sent her child to school today, teachers sent her home as they cannot administer antibiotics
Mr Black said: "My concern is that the administration of this advice is inconsistent and is causing confusion and consternation amongst both parents and schools. I also believe that the advice is irresponsible. Not only is there the danger of passing on these illnesses to otherwise healthy classmates and staff, but children can be very poorly with tonsillitis, and glandular fever.
"The leaflet issued to parents says that children with certain conditions should keep away from ‘vulnerable children, and pregnant females’. How is anyone – including the children themselves- to know if a child is vulnerable? Or if a woman is in the early stages of pregnancy?
"The consortium that issued this advice appears to be beyond scrutiny and to be unaccountable. Once the First Minister acquaints himself with the situation I hope that he knocks some commonsense into them."