PARENTS have reacted angrily after a council launched a campaign to urge them to send their ill kids to school.
The campaign by East Sussex County Council (ESCC), which was launched earlier this month, states: “Putting your foot down isn’t always easy but 100 per cent attendance should be every parent’s goal.
“Unless there’s a genuine reason for your child to be absent, be a pushy parent and get them to school.”
But parents have labelled it as “absolutely disgusting,” “sick” and “awful”.
In a message on its website, the council said: “A minor cough, cold, sore throat, headache, or just feeling tired doesn’t always mean a day off school.
“The school will send your child home if they think they are struggling.”
It added any child would “miss vital hours of learning” if they did not go to school every day.
Lisa Wright wrote on the council’s Facebook page: “Saw this new campaign on a side of a bus today. Shame on ESCC as this new campaign is sick. I home school my child and you wonder why.”
Mark Stevenson added: “This is absolutely disgusting. I suggest everyone makes a complaint to the council. Factually incorrect and dangerous! Things like this directly contribute to the current mental health crisis.
A minor cough, cold, sore throat, headache, or just feeling tired doesn’t always mean a day off school
East Sussex council's 'pushy parent' campaign
Jemima Keys said: “Seriously, who approved this campaign? I saw this on the side of a bus and honestly could not believe it.
“The zoomed in image of crossed arms and implication of conflict…and the language used…could you be any more hostile and unapproachable ESCC??
“Apart from the attempts to intimidate parents (and children) with your choice of imagery, your statement is factually incorrect.
“School IS optional and thank God it is! A more than sufficient education can be provided by a loving parent.
“Don’t tell me how to parent my children, ESCC.”
A spokesman for the council told The Sun Online: “We are very aware of the mixed response we have had to our ‘Be a Pushy Parent’ campaign, but school attendance is an extremely important issue.
“The more days of school a child misses, the less likely they are to achieve the grades they need to be successful in their future academic and professional careers.
“We won’t hesitate to use every option open to us to tackle this issue and to ensure our children get the best possible start in life.
“The campaign is not aimed at children with genuine medical conditions but at the minority of parents who fail to ensure their child regularly attends school without good reason.”
The same council launched a controversial ‘Get a grip’ campaign two years ago which the council claims helped push up school attendance.
It says it prosecuted 168 families in the county for their child’s non-attendance and imposed fines totalling just under £30,000.
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Stuart Gallimore, county council director of children’s services, said: “While the ‘Get a Grip’ campaign was controversial in some quarters, it undoubtedly raised awareness of the issue of school attendance.
“Since it launched, we’ve seen significant improvements at some schools, and an improved picture at primary schools generally, but this is a long-standing issue which can’t be addressed overnight.
“Although the new campaign takes a fresh approach, the underlying message remains that absence from school can adversely affect a child’s education and harm their long-term career prospects.”
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