A SCHOOL has come under fire for encouraging parents to give poorly children paracetamol in the morning.

Hanley Castle High School, near Malvern, sent a letter to parents with a list of 'suggested strategies' to boost attendance.

One of the tips was to give youngsters a paracetamol, while another recommended sending pupils to school with a dose of ibuprofen.

Head Lindsey Cooke said: "It wasn't sent out to all parents, it was sent to a targeted group of parents.

"We want to empower parents to win those conversations. Those arguments at home.

"There are certainly situations where we would never advise parents to send children into school.

"If their child has diarrhoea or vomiting the best thing is for the child to be at home."

But Mrs Cooke said there were other situations when a child should be sent into school, such as when girls have period pains.

She said: "If working women stayed at home every time they had a period, that's not an acceptable situation.

"It's part of growing up, that's going to be part of a woman's life and they have to cope."

Ms Cooke added that tackling poor attendance in education has become a government priority.

She said schools across the country have been 'inundated' with official advice on attendance over the last five years.

She said: "Regularly missing school has an impact on GCSE grades.

"A large body of research completed by the government points to the severely detrimental impact staying off school has."

She added that the letter was based on advice from medical professionals.

The letter stated: "It is sometimes easy to slip into a routine of authorising your child to stay off school when they present themselves as being a little 'under the weather'."

The school also suggested laying out clothes - and packing - the night before, ensuring that children have plenty of sleep and removing all electronic items from the child's bedroom.

One parent called the letter 'stupid' and said a paracetamol would not help her child if they had a poorly tummy.

But others backed the school and said the letters were only sent out to parents whose children had poor attendance.

They argued that regularly going to school was key to a child's progression and said teachers had the pupils' best interests at heart.

The Chase School, in Geraldine Road, Malvern, said it had not advised parents to give their children paracetamol in a bid to boost attendance.