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Schools require GP's note for pupils to skip PE lessons

Some schools have told pupils they will need a note from a GP to excuse them from PE lessons, a move that has been criticised by GPs.

According to the Mail on Sunday, schools across England are telling pupils that a parent’s note is no longer enough to excuse them from lessons in an attempt to tackle obesity and false sick notes.

For example, the Crispin school in Somerset says on its website that ‘parents/carers are welcome to highlight a particular concern regarding illness or injury that they would like to bring to the PE staff’s attention, although this will not necessarily excuse that pupil from participation.’

It later says: ‘Pupils will only be “excused” from participation where a medical professional has directed so in the form of a medical note.’

The Chalk Hills Academy in Luton confirmed to Pulse that ’unless they have a note from their doctor, we do expect all students to take part in their PE lessons.’

Dr John Cosgrove, RCGP council member and a GP in Birmingham, told Pulse that he questions 'whether I as a GP would be best-placed to make an assessment of whether a child is fit to exercise. If a parent says they are not, I would be inclined to believe them.'

He added: 'With the growing workload in general practice and finite resources, it is imperative that we move towards less professional healthcare involvement in the treatment of self-limiting illnesses.'

Since writing notes for school is not a contractual obligation, GPs would be entitled to charge for this, which ‘has the potential to discriminate against those least able to pay, also likely to be those most likely to be unwell,’ according to Dr Cosgrove.

Readers' comments (23)

  • We send the parent back to ask the school to confirm in writing with the appropriate consent and agreement to pay the private fee. We have not heard back from the school since. Do school nurses still exist? Definitely not part of my job.

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  • That is strange...

    I have not seen any adverts from schools looking to hire their own GPs?

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  • Don't charge, just don't do it.

    Write to the school headteacher and board of governors and tell them that it is inappropriate and that pupils requesting them will be refused.

    We're not here to police parents telling porkies for their kids. If there's a clinical issue then we deal with that but we're not here to say that Mary's bellyache means she can't do cross country.

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  • The local LMC needs to make sure all the local practices agree not to issue these.

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  • This is so trivial. Is it really a news story? This cr*p happens all the time. I had a disagreement with a teacher who insisted I give a child a sick note under the "every child counts," mantra. I reminded her that children must eat to survive too but that I wouldn't be providing dinner either.

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  • I am surprised that this report does not say pupils need a letter from their GP to say they CAN do PE!!
    Further ridiculous medicalisation of day to day life. I am just glad I left last July aged 49yrs and I will not be back in the near future. The NHS is doomed.

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  • Change the schools a medical for this. Then this nonesense will stop. I just hope we have a unified approach to this issue

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  • GP sick notes for kids???? You must be kidding!!!!!!!!!

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  • I hear schools send kids home with conjunctivitis. LOL what's wrong with people??

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  • How about requesting a report from the school about symptoms and behaviour of the child every time they attend the GP?

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