Education for children with medical needs

Find out when you can contact the Leicestershire Inclusion service team and when a school should provide work if your child isn't well enough to attend school.

Most children with medical needs continue to successfully access education with the right support in place. Schools can adapt and access support, so that children continue to attend by using support aids, reduced or adapted timetables, or obtaining additional support from wider agencies.

Schools and educational settings follow the advice within the Department for Education (DfE) statutory guidance when they are supporting children with medical needs in schools. It outlines the responsibilities of schools, local authorities and parents, and the legal duty of working together to support children, ensuring they remain healthy and achieve their academic potential.

Part-time education and timetables

In line with the DfE school attendance guidance, all pupils of compulsory school age are entitled to a full-time education.

Schools are permitted to provide less than a full-time education only in very exceptional circumstances. This can be, for example, where a medical condition prevents a pupil from attending full-time education and a part-time timetable is a part of a re-integration package. This shouldn't be treated as a long-term plan and an end-date, when the child will return to school, must be set.

If a pupil has a serious medical condition, where recovery is the priority outcome, these arrangements would be part of a medical plan, agreed between the school and health professionals.

Support for children with medical needs

There are a range of services and resources that offer support and information to children, families, and schools. Services may provide help with various issues, such as health, education, and funding.

Physical and medical needs

Support for children with physical and medical needs in early years to include healthcare training from the Diana Service, other support agencies and transition to school.

Help for children with medical conditions

Applying for help with a child's medical condition outlines the responsibility of schools and the available support to ensure children get the most out of their education.

Specialist Teaching Service

The Specialist Teaching Service provides free support and advice for schools and families about specific areas of SEND including support with hearing, vision, learning, autism and assistive technology for education.

Inclusion forums

The Inclusion forums offer support for schools to enable all children and young people to engage effectively in education and training, including support from Oakfield Short Stay School, Leicestershire Secondary Education and Inclusion Partnerships and other agencies attending the forums.

Inclusion service

The Inclusion service offers support to all children and young people, enabling them to access a good educational environment and supports transition back into learning.

NHS Continuing Healthcare

The NHS Continuing Healthcare offers support with long-term healthcare, provided by the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in west and east Leicestershire and Leicester City, and information about personal health budgets to meet the health needs of the person receiving them.

Continuing care framework

Children and young people's continuing care national framework provides guidance for CCG, young people, parents, and anyone working for NHS, outlining the process of assessing, deciding, and agreeing continuing care for children with complex health needs.

SEND Information Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS)

SENDIASS provides free, impartial, and confidential support to parents and carers of young people aged 0-25 and advises on all matters relating to SEND, such as education, health, and social care issues.

Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

Get help with your child's progress if your child is having difficulty at nursery, school, or college, or has a disability. Ask for an EHCP assessment or advice from SENCO or SENDIASS.

If your child is too unwell to attend school

You must notify the school on the first day of your child's absence or in advance - if a medical appointment or operation is planned. The school will then notify the Inclusion service team if the absence is likely to be 15 days or more.

You may be asked to provide evidence from health professionals by the school. With your permission, they may contact the key health professionals, that support your child, to identify the best way to engage your child in education and re-integration back into school.

If your child can’t go to school because of their medical needs, the school will contact the Inclusion service to seek advice. We'll support the school to make the necessary arrangements, so that your child can still receive an education whilst they are too ill to attend school. The options available could include:

  • School providing work at home
  • Getting education at the hospital if they are in-patient, or

We may arrange education outside school that may include:

  • home tuition
  • access to a hospital school
  • a Virtual School or
  • any combination depending on the needs of your child

Where education is provided outside of school, your family will have access to an education officer. They will keep you informed of the education offer, co-ordinate the education and reviews with the school/health/other agencies and enable support for your child to re-integrate back into school.

There is no charge to parents for receiving this support, as it falls within the statutory entitlement of your child’s education.

Team Around School (TAS) meetings

TAS meetings will be arranged with relevant professionals involved with your child, such as:

  • school
  • family
  • inclusion
  • health
  • social care
  • education effectiveness partners

The aim of these meetings is to explore how your child can be successfully supported to engage with education. They jointly prepare an education and re-integration plan, so that the child can reach their full educational potential. They will also support the review of your child's progress.

Going back to school

Your child will get help to go back to school when they are ready. We'll work with you and your child’s school to plan their return and make sure they get all the help they need. At this point, you may have additional workers that support you, such as the school's pastoral team, support workers within the Inclusion service or other agencies.

Recoupment policy

This policy explains the local authority’s reasons and processes for the recoupment of costs from schools for children who, by reason of illness, are unable to attend school and who are supported by the authority to receive education through an alternative provider.

This policy is applied from 1 January 2019 for all new and existing referrals and contracts held by the council.

Medical needs policy

Many children have medical conditions that significantly affect their school life. Some children and young people miss a lot of school through illness.

Information for schools