Children who cannot attend school because of health needs

All children have a right to an education. Most childhood illnesses don't stop a child from going to school.  Some illnesses may mean a child misses one or two days of school.

Some school age children may have health issues which mean they can't go to school. These health issues can stop them attending all day, every day like other pupils.

Children who aren't in school because they are ill should be at home and not in a public place.  This is unless they are going to the doctors or hospital.

Most children will be able to go to school when getting help for their medical needs. Sometimes when they are getting treatment it can mean they are unable to go to school.

The Local Authority has a duty to arrange a suitable education.  The school where the child is on roll pays for this.  This may be through Alternative Provision or Becton Outreach education. 

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When it becomes known that there is a risk of the child being unable to attend

The school should speak to their linked Inclusion and Attendance Officer. They should refer to the Schools Own Management of Attendance guidance.  This is to make sure the right support is in place.

The team can be contacted by e-mail on Sheffieldinclusion&

The Policy

Sheffield City Council have an Education for children who cannot attend due to health needs policy. You can download the policy here.

The policy is for when a child’s health needs stop them going to school full time.  This means they need to go on time, every day. If other reasons are stopping a child from going to school, then early help support should be in place.

  • Schools should put good measures in place. These are called reasonable adjustments. This means they need to put things in place to help. This happens before the local authority puts provision in place.  Reasonable adjustment is support and activities that help a child learn.  It helps them make progress and continue learning.
  • The child’s school pays for any alternative provision put in place.
  • Children and their families should expect a plan of support. A plan that includes everyone working together.
  • The local authority okays the decision making on provision and support. This is in line with the statutory duties to arrange provision.
  • Becton Outreach provide the medical alternative provision on behalf of the Local Authority. You may hear the Council call this commissioning a service.
  • The Inclusion and Attendance team will work with Becton Outreach to oversee these children.
  • Any alternative provision a child/young person attends should be short term and looked at on a regular basis. This is alongside any medical treatment the child is getting.  The aim is to get the child back into school.
  • Children attend school wherever possible. Attending school improves their learning and wellbeing.
  • Communication between home and school should be open, honest and timely. All school policies should say who parents can contact if they have a worry.
  • Schools listen to the child's views, wishes and feelings. This helps to understand why they are not in school. It helps see what they need to go back and what reasonable adjustments are needed.
  • Schools make reasonable changes. These should help a child go to school and take part.
  • Professionals work together to make good plans. These help a child take part in education.
  • School leaders speak with health and social care professionals, children and parents. This should happen at the earliest time. This helps to understand and support the child’s needs.
  • Children at school with medical needs should have full access to education. This includes school trips and PE (physical education).
  • School governing bodies and academy trusts must make sure plans are in place. This is to support children with medical needs.

The Department for Education (DfE) statutory guidance

Click on the logo to read the DfE statutory guidance.

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The DfE Equality Act 2010 and Schools guidance

Click on the logo to read the DfE Equality Act and Schools guidance.

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