Children off School – Guidance & Certificates

Please See Guidance Below from the British Medical Association on Doctors Certificates / Letters

It should be noted that GPs do not provide sick notes for schoolchildren

When children are absent from school owing to illness, schools may request a letter from a parent or guardian, and this is no different during an exam period.

However, children who have missed exams due to illness are frequently told by schools that a note from a doctor is required; but this cannot be provided by a GP. 

Aside from the fact that parents/guardians are responsible for excusing their children from school, GPs cannot provide retrospective sickness certification.

 When a child suffers from a long-term condition, any certification will be provided by the responsible specialist.

GPC has sought and received confirmation from the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator that Awarding Organisations make no requirement for pupils to obtain a medical certificate in support of their application for special consideration. 

Students are asked for information in support of their application, but this may take the form of a statement by the school. 

The Joint Council for Qualifications has confirmed that as far as they are concerned, if a student was absent from an examination as a result of illness and has the support of the school or centre to be absent, special consideration will be granted on that basis.  Awarding organisations do not insist that medical proof is provided.

Provision of medical certificates for school children is not part of a GP’s responsibility and a refusal to provide this certification is in accord with the Government policy to reduce GP paperwork and preserve valuable GP time for clinical care. There is no requirement to issue a doctors certificate for students attending school or college as there is no “occupational need”. Our doctors are only required to provide such a statement under NHS and Department of Work and Pensions regulations for illness absences of 7 days or more, for employment related purposes only.

Should a school/college have a particular concern regarding a student’s absence, then the school should send a letter (including the written consent of the student or their parent/guardian) to the GP detailing the reason why they wish a doctor’s report. This private service is not covered by the NHS and therefore may be subject to a fee.

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