Children with health needs who cannot attend school Policy

Date created – 22/09/2020
Date reviewed by governors – 29/09/2021
Next review date – September 2022

1 Policy Statement and Principles

Co-op Academy Grange aims to support the local authority to ensure that all students who are unable to attend school due to medical needs, and who would not receive suitable education without such provision, continue to have access to as much education as their medical condition allows, to enable them to reach their full potential. Due to the nature of their health needs, some students may be admitted to hospital or placed in alternative forms of education provision. We recognise that, whenever possible, students should receive their education within their school and the aim of the provision will be to reintegrate pupils back into school as soon as they are well enough. We understand that we have a continuing role in a student’s education whilst they are not attending the school and will work with the local authority, healthcare partners and families to ensure that all students with medical needs receive the right level of support to enable them to maintain links with their education. 

2 Legal framework

This policy has due regard to all relevant legislation and statutory guidance

including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Education Act 1996
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Data Protection Act 2018
  • DfE (2013) ‘Ensuring a good education for children who cannot attend school because of health needs’
  • DfE (2015) ‘Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions’

This policy operates in conjunction with the following school policies:

  • Attendance Policy
  • Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
  • Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Policy
  • Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions Policy

3 Local Authority (LA) Duties

  • The LA must arrange suitable full-time education for children of compulsory school age who, because of illness, would not receive suitable education without such provision. The school has a duty to support them in doing so.
  • The LA should provide such education as soon as it is clear that a student will be away from school for 15 days or more, whether consecutive or cumulative, and liaise with the appropriate medical professionals to ensure minimal delay in arranging appropriate provision for the pupil.
  • Ensure the education students receive is of good quality, allows them to take appropriate qualifications, prevents them from falling behind their peers in school, and allows them to reintegrate successfully back into school as soon as possible.
  • Address the needs of individual students in arranging provision.
  • Have a named officer responsible for the education of children with additional health needs and ensure parents know who this is.
  • Have a written, publicly accessible policy statement on their arrangements to comply with their legal duty towards children with additional health needs. 
  • Review the provision offered regularly to ensure that it continues to be appropriate for the child and that it is providing suitable education.
  • Give clear policies on the provision of education for children and young people under and over compulsory school age.

4 Definitions

Students who are unable to attend school as a result of their medical needs may include those with:

  • Physical health issues
  • Physical injuries
  • Mental health problems, including anxiety issues
  • Emotional difficulties or school refusal
  • Progressive conditions
  • Terminal illnesses.
  • Chronic illnesses

Students who are unable to attend mainstream education for health reasons may attend any of the following: 

  • Hospital school – a special school within a hospital setting where education is provided to give continuity whilst the child is receiving treatment. 
  • Home tuition –  many LAs have home tuition services that act as a communication channel between schools and pupils on occasions where pupils are too ill to attend school and are receiving specialist medical treatment.
  • Medical PRUs – these are LA establishments that provide education for children unable to attend their registered school due to their medical needs.

5 Responsibilities

Headteacher

  • The Headteacher is responsible for ensuring compliance with the relevant statutory duties when supporting students with health needs. 
  • Working collaboratively with parents and other professionals to develop arrangements to meet the best interests of children. 
  • Ensuring the arrangements put in place to meet students’ health needs are fully understood by all those involved and acted upon.
  • Appointing a named member of staff who is responsible for students with healthcare needs and liaises with parents, pupils, the LA, key workers and others involved in the pupil’s care. At Grange this will be the Achievement Leader of the year group the student is in. 

Achievement Leaders

  • Achievement Leaders are responsible for ensuring the support put in place focuses on and meets the needs of individual students.
  • Providing teachers who support students with health needs with suitable information relating to a student’s health condition and the possible effect the condition and/or medication taken has on the student.
  • Actively monitoring student progress and reintegration into school.
  • Supplying students’ education providers with information about the child’s capabilities, progress and outcomes.
  • Liaising with the headteacher, education providers and parents to determine students’ programmes of study whilst they are absent from school.
  • Keeping students informed about school events and encouraging communication with their peers.

Teachers and support staff

  • Understanding confidentiality in respect of students’ health needs.
  • Designing lessons and activities in a way that allows those with health needs to participate fully and ensuring students are not excluded from activities that they wish to take part in without a clear evidence-based reason.
  • Understanding their role in supporting students with health needs and ensuring they attend the required training.
  • Ensuring they are aware of the needs of their students through the appropriate and lawful sharing of the individual student’s health needs.
  • Ensuring they are aware of the signs, symptoms and triggers of common life-threatening medical conditions and know what to do in an emergency.
  • Keeping parents informed of how their child’s health needs are affecting them whilst in the school.

Parents

  • Ensure the regular and punctual attendance of their child at the school where possible.
  • Work in partnership with the school to ensure the best possible outcomes for their child.
  • Notify the school of the reason for any of their child’s absences without delay. 
  • Provide the school with sufficient and up-to-date information about their child’s medical needs.
  • Attend meetings to discuss how support for their child should be planned.

6 Managing absences

  • Parents are advised to contact the school on the first day their child is unable to attend due to illness.
  • Absences due to illness will be authorised unless the school has genuine cause for concern about the authenticity of the illness.
  • The Achievement Leader will arrange support to students who are absent from school because of illness for a period of less than 15 school days by liaising with the student’s parents to arrange schoolwork as soon as the student is able to cope with it or part-time education at school. The school will give due consideration to which aspects of the curriculum are prioritised in consultation with the student, their family and relevant members of staff.
  • Where absences are anticipated or known in advance, the school will liaise with the LA to enable education provision to be provided from the start of the student’s absence.
  • For hospital admissions, the appointed named member of staff will liaise with the LA regarding the programme that should be followed while the student is in hospital.
  • The school will monitor student attendance and mark registers to ensure it is clear whether a student is, or should be, receiving education otherwise than at school. 
  • A student unable to attend school because of their health needs will not be removed from the school register without parental consent and certification from the Medical Officer, even if the LA has become responsible for the pupil’s education

7 Support for students

  • Where a student has a complex or long-term health issue, the school will discuss the student’s needs and how these may be best met with the LA, relevant medical professionals, parents and, where appropriate, the student.
  • The LA expects the school to support students with health needs to attend full-time education wherever possible, or for the school to make reasonable adjustments to students’ programmes of study where medical evidence supports the need for those adjustments. 
  • The school will make reasonable adjustments under students’ education healthcare plans (EHCPs).
  • Students admitted to hospital will receive education as determined appropriate by the medical professionals and hospital tuition team at the hospital concerned.
  • During a period of absence, the school will work with the provider of the student’s education to establish and maintain regular communication and effective outcomes.
  • Whilst a student is away from school, the school will work using Google classroom and emails, along with phone calls.
  • To help ensure a student with additional health needs is able to attend school following an extended period of absence, the following adaptations will be considered: 
    • A personalised or part-time timetable drafted in consultation with the named staff member 
    • Access to additional support in school 
    • Online access to the curriculum from home via the students Chromebook. 
    • Movement of lessons to more accessible rooms 
    • Places to rest at school 
    • Special exam arrangements to manage anxiety or fatigue.

8 Reintegration

  • When a student is considered well enough to return to school, the school will develop a tailored reintegration plan.
  • The school will work with the LA when reintegration into school is anticipated to plan for consistent provision during and after the period of education outside school.
  • As far as possible, the child will be able to access the curriculum and materials that they would have used in school. 
  • If appropriate, the school nurse will be involved in the development of the student’s reintegration plan and informed of the timeline of the plan by the appointed named member of staff, to ensure they can prepare to offer any appropriate support to the student.
  • The school will consider whether any reasonable adjustments need to be made to provide suitable access to the school and the curriculum for the student.
  • For longer absences, the reintegration plan will be developed near to the student’s likely date of return, to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on an ill student or their parents in the early stages of their absence.
  • The school is aware that some students will need gradual reintegration over a long period of time and will always consult with the student, their parents and key staff about concerns, medical issues, timing and the preferred pace of return.
  • The reintegration plan will include: – The date for planned reintegration, once known. – Details of regular meetings to discuss reintegration. – Details of the named member of staff who has responsibility for the pupil. – Clearly stated responsibilities and the rights of all those involved. – A programme of small goals leading up to reintegration. – Follow up procedures.

9 Record Keeping

In accordance with the Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions Policy, written records will be kept of all medicines administered to students.

10 Training

  • Staff will be trained in a timely manner to assist with a pupil’s return to school. 
  • Once a student’s return date has been confirmed, staff will be provided with relevant training before the student’s anticipated return. 
  • Healthcare professionals should be involved in identifying and agreeing with the school the type and level of training required.
  • Training will be sufficient to ensure staff are confident in their ability to support pupils with additional health needs.
  • Parents of students with additional health needs may provide specific advice but will not be the sole trainer of staff.

11 Examinations and Assessment

  • The named member of staff will liaise with the alternative provision provider over planning and examination course requirements where appropriate.
  • Relevant assessment information will be provided to the alternative provision provider if required. 
  • Awarding bodies may make special arrangements for students with permanent or long-term disabilities and learning difficulties, or temporary disabilities and illnesses. Applications for such arrangements will be submitted by the school.