Support is available for parents concerned about the impact of long-term medical conditions on their child’s schooling.

Schools may not remove a child unable to attend school because of health from the register without parental consent and a school medical officer’s certificate. This provision has been in place since 2014, with governing bodies responsible for ensuring that all children with medical conditions, whether physical or mental, are properly supported in school so that they can play a full and active role in school life.

Education expert agree that the importance of protecting a pupil’s school place is clear – a child has the confidence of knowing their friends, teachers and surroundings will remain unchanged, which can in turn aid recovery and learning.

How are families supported?

  • Local authorities should discuss a child’s needs with parents and clinicians regarding them attending school or returning to school
  • Education at home should be the aim for local authorities if a child goes home after an extended stay in hospital
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    Missing school for medical appointments can place strain on a child’s emotional and general well being, and educational progress. Schools should support parents whose children are frequently absent in order to limit any disruption caused. Experts also acknowledge the risks associated with falling behind at school or being disconnected from friends – some children may develop anxiety or depression, or even be subjected to bullying by their peers.

    Schools are asked to offer specific support for the pupil’s educational, social and emotional needs, for example setting aside rest periods, help to catch up with lessons or counselling sessions.

    In official guidance on the subject of long-term medical conditions, parents are asked to play a proactive role in sharing all of the latest information about their child’s medical requirements with the school, and to be contactable at all times. Parents play a significant role in the creation of a child’s action plan regarding health and schooling.

    Statutory guidance for governing bodies of maintained schools and proprietors of academies in England is available, here – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-pupils-at-school-with-medical-conditions–3

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