19th May 2000 at 01:00
Sick supervision

WHAT is the appropriate provision for sick children in school?

All schools need to make provision for the care of sick pupils and also for routine medical examinations, conducted by the health authority.

This provision need not be a permanently designated medical room, although many schools find that to be the best solution. Whether exclusively designated or not, such a room should have a bed, washing facilities and a separate toilet. Ideally, it should be situated in a place where it is quiet and private but, at the same time, easily supervised and accessible.

Schools also need to have in place a clear policy on the management of pupils who report sick. This should include a procedure for both pupils and staff and should identify explicitly the person or persons responsible for ensuring that cases are recorded, monitored and supervised. Pupils, staff, including support staff, and parents need to be fully aware of the policy, which might well be included in the school's prospectus and staff handbook.

Pay claim

WHAT is the sick-pay entitlement of a teacher in the first year of service?

This is set out in the "Burgundy Book", the agreement between employers and unions on teachers' conditins of service.

In the first year of service, a teacher is entitled to 25 working days on full pay and 50 working days on half-pay. In all calculations of sick pay, the year is deemed to start on April 1.

A new teacher probably started on September 1 and, in that case, there is a provision that four calendar months of service must be completed before half-pay can be claimed.

File on request

I HAVE had a request from a parent for a copy of her daughter's school file to be forwarded to a solicitor, coupled with a requirement that the student should not be informed. As the girl in question is 17, I feel uncomfortable about this. Must I accede to both of these requests?

There can be no doubt about the legality of the parent's request for access to her daughter's file, although you are entitled to make a charge, not exceeding the actual cost, for making the copy.

On the matter of informing the student, the law is silent. While she herself has the right to see her own file, there is nothing to say that she must know that her parents have requested access. You will have to exercise your judgment on this, but there is no reason why you should not ask the parent why they do not want their daughter to know.

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