Sick notes for School Children

Sick notes for School Children

GP's do not have a statutory duty to provide informal sick notes for children.
In normal circumstances when a child has been absent from school the parent should give the child a note to take into school when he/she returns explaining the reason for absence.
If the Education Welfare Service is called in to look into a pupil's absence, their warning letters advise parents to provide and pay for (if necessary), a medical certificate to be given to the head teacher explaining the absence. A GP will only give a medical certificate where they can confirm actual illness.
When the need for a sick note is in connection with a missed exam, there is a process to be followed by the school and the parents, and that does not involve an informal note from the GP. It involves a properly requested report from the GP in support of a formal application to the examination board. This is paid for by the parents or by the school.
When the sick note is in connection with a child performing badly in an exam because s/he was 'feeling poorly', the GP is very unlikely to be able to help, since if the child took the exam whilst s/he was ill, then presumably the GP could not have seen the child at the time in order to verify the illness. A GP cannot provide a sick note unless they are personally able to verify that the individual was actually sick as and when s/he claimed to be. If they can verify the illness, they are entitled to charge a fee for providing a sick note.
Students on Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) grants stand to lose part of those grants if they are absent from their studies without explanation. Mr Derek Sparks, Senior Student Support Officer said, "The responsibility for confirming a student's absence is that of the institution they are attending. This being the case, it will be the school/college that will be requesting sickness certificates from their students to confirm an absence".
EMA students will only require a sickness certificate from their GP if they are absent for eight or more consecutive days. These are private certificates, and the GP should charge the students accordingly.

Dr Ivan Camphor

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