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Illness and Your Child's Education

Serious illness can affect your child's education. Support is available for children who cannot go to school because of a poor health condition.

SCHOOL AND ILLNESS: Your local council and your child’s school both have responsibilities.

This section explains how the authorities handle the educational needs of sick children during their time at school.

Maintained schools, pupil referral units, and the majority of academies have special policies for supporting pupils with medical conditions.

So, where can you get more help on illness and your child’s education? You can request permission to see the school’s policy.

Their policy explains how they support children through schooling days even when they have severe medical conditions.

Children with a Medical Condition

What if your child has health issues or special medical need? You (or a healthcare professional) should inform the school administration staff.

Schools have to make ‘reasonable adjustments‘ for children with a disability. They must ensure children are not discriminated against during their education.

Child Sickness at School

According to the law in the United Kingdom schools must provide an appropriate space for:

  • The treatment of any sick or injured pupils.
  • Applying first aid or to carry out a medical examination.

Note: As a rule, this means having two separate rooms with a sink and access to a toilet in each room.

Children Unable to Attend School

What if your child cannot attend school because of their injury or illness? Schools and regional councils provide support for pupils with a medical condition. Their policies ensure your child’s illness and education does not suffer ‘unnecessarily’.

The Role of Your Child’s School

To address illness and your child’s education the school should:

  • Inform the local council if your child is likely to be away from their education for more than 15 school days.
  • Give your local council clear information about the needs, capabilities, and the programme of work for your child.
  • Help your child reintegrate at school when they return.
  • Ensure your child is kept informed about school events, activities, and clubs.
  • Encourage children with a sickness to stay in contact with other pupils (e.g. through videos or personal visits).

The Role of Your Local Council

The main role of the council is to offer your child as normal a full-time education as possible. This is especially important if they are likely be away from school for a long time. But, depending on the health needs of the child, they can also arrange for part time education. This may include:

  • Arranging a home education program.
  • A hospital school or a teaching service.
  • A combination of home and hospital teaching.

To address illness and children’s education the local council should:

  • Have a senior officer take charge of the arrangements.
  • Have a written policy that explains how they will meet their responsibilities.
  • Ensure the child is not without access to education for more than 15 school days.
  • Arrange education from the beginning of the child’s absence. This applies most when it is clear they will be away from school for long and recurring periods.

Rules for Illness and Your Child’s Education in the United Kingdom