Page last updated at 16:45 GMT, Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Dead girl given truancy warning

Megan Gillan
Megan Gillan was found dead in her bedroom

The parents of a girl who died suddenly have received a school letter demanding she improve her attendance.

Megan Gillan, 15, was found dead in the bedroom of her home in Macclesfield, Cheshire, two months ago.

Her parents say they were "floored" by a Macclesfield High School letter, which threatened to ban Megan from the end of year prom.

The school has apologised for the mistake, which they said was down to an error on the computer database.

She's been dead for two months now so it's not surprising her attendance is low
Margaret Gillan

The letter, dated 16 March, said "students must have at least 92% attendance and Megan's is currently 60.4%".

Mrs Gillan, who works in A&E at Macclesfield Hospital, said: "I screamed when I first saw it. If they want her to attend that much I'll take Megan's remains. It's disgusting.

"Megan doesn't go to that school any more. She's been dead for two months now so it's not surprising her attendance is low.

"I was pulling myself together to go back to work, but receiving the letter has just floored me.

"Megan would have loved going to the prom. She planned to go with a group of friends, she was really looking forward to it."

Computer problem

Cheshire County Council said the school's head teacher Ged Ward has telephoned the family to apologise.

A spokesman said Capita software SIMS (School Information Management Systems) maintained Megan's details.

"Megan's name had been taken off the school roll when she died, and removed from the main school database," the spokeswoman said.

"However, unknown to the school, her details had remained in a different part of the computer system and were called up when the school did a mail merge letter to the parents of all Year 11 students about their prom.

"The letter called up details of each student's attendance for the whole year to date and because Megan had been on roll in September, she was included."

Phil Neal, managing director of SIMS, Capita Children's Services, said changes would be made to the firm's software to make sure the mistake was not repeated.

"When a child is no longer attending a school, for whatever reason, the software will allow the school to continue to produce letters to their parents as occasionally it is necessary to do so.

"It appears that this is what has happened in this case which everyone involved deeply regrets.

"We have all been saddened that this caused so much distress to the family."

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The school has apologised for sending the letter



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