Manchester Evening News: The parents of a British girl who died suddenly two months ago have been sent a letter from her school demanding she improves her attendance.
Her parents Mark and Margaret said they were `floored' by the letter from Macclesfield High. Megan, 15, was found dead in her bedroom on January 19 at the family home. The letter -- dated March 16 -- said 'students must have at least 92 percent attendance and Megan's is currently 60.4 percent.'
Mrs. Gillan, who works 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 anymore. 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." The letter carried the signature of deputy head G. White. Headteacher Ged Ward has now apologized for the 'software error.'
Mr. Ward said: "Clearly that letter should not have gone out. I want to make my apology to Megan's parents and can only apologize for the distress that it has caused. The letter was sent out to all year 11 parents regarding the school prom. We didn't think to check it. With hindsight we would have checked all 150 of them. The problem is a software problem."
But the family say they could never forgive the mistake. Mr. Gillan, 53, a civic attendant for Macclesfield Borough council, found Megan in her bedroom. He said: "To send a letter to her family when you are trying to come to terms with her death is just not right." Mr. Ward said the school uses the software SIMS (School Information Management Systems) which is produced by Capita.
He said: "Unknown to the school, Megan's 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. 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. Capita has acknowledged to the school that there is a problem with this part of its software and is working to remedy it, because they realize that it could affect other schools. Capita has asked the school to convey their apologies to Mr. and Mrs. Gillan."
Phil Neal, managing director of Capita Children's Services, said: "What has happened is absolutely tragic and our thoughts are with Megan's family. Capita Children's Services supply a software system known as SIMS to Macclesfield High School. Among many other tasks, the software keeps track of pupils' attendance at the school and the school is able to produce letters to parents based on this information. 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."
The cause of Megan's death is still not known and an inquest is expected in the next few months. Megan, the youngest of four sisters, would have turned 16 next month.
Following her death, Megan's parents spoke of their shock at losing their 'beautiful and bright' daughter. She was thought to have been having problems at school. Friends set up a special site, 'R.i.p Megan Gillan x1993-2009x' on social networking site bebo -- which has been visited more than 3,000 times.
At the time of her death, headteacher Mr. Ward led tributes to Megan. He said: "Megan was a popular, bright girl, with a promising future ahead of her. She will be missed by everyone. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to her parents and family."
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