Publication - Advice and guidance

Education of children unable to attend school due to ill health: guidance

Published: 19 Jun 2015
Directorate:
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Education
ISBN:
9781785444562

Guidance for education authorities.

23 page PDF

529.7 kB

23 page PDF

529.7 kB

Contents
Education of children unable to attend school due to ill health: guidance
Responsibilities

23 page PDF

529.7 kB

Responsibilities

School or ELCC

25. Most provision is likely to be made within a child's own local authority. In practice, it is likely that responsibility for referral for, and management of, arrangements for education outwith school will lie with child or young person's own school. However, all such referrals and management should be undertaken in close co-operation with the local authority, regardless of whether delivery of education is undertaken by the school or local authority specialist services, or in combination (see paragraph 38 below for children and young people attending independent schools). Through the process of considering a variety of assessments and considering management information to monitor and review children's needs, the school should identify children and young people with health needs and ensure appropriate support arrangements are in place, timeously, if required.

26. Staff within the child's or young person's own school will best understand a child's educational and support requirements. In most instances the school retains the lead role and and where appropriate, works with the education provider in the hospital or outreach service to ensure education provision is appropriate and supports and maintains the child or young person's prior learning. Classroom or subject teachers should record missed work to help ensure effective education outwith school maintain the learner's links with their school and to help reintegration on return as part of broader transition planning. Good practice would include the school routinely providing information for parents about the statutory duties relating to and arrangements for the provision of education of children and young people who are too ill to attend school within their school handbook (or similar, for independent schools and ELCC).

Named Person

27. The named person has a key role for maintaining communication with parents and carers and the child or young person, though it may be that in practice, in more complex or longer term cases, a 'lead professional' is designated as the main point of contact. For children attending ELCC, the named person will normally be a health visitor, whilst for school aged children or young people the named person will normally be the head teacher. In the case of a child or young person normally attending an independent, or grant aided school the named person at the school will be responsible for contacting the child or young person's home local authority to pass on responsibility for the named person service, if the child or young person has formally left the school due to reasons such as ill health.

28. The named person will also work with appropriate professionals to help facilitate the child or young person's return to school, which may take place on a phased basis over a period of time. The named person should ensure that the child's or young person's links to peers, teachers and the wider school community are maintained, which will also help facilitate the return to school.

29. The named person for a child attending an independent school, or for a child who is normally home educated by their the parent, is responsible for communications and requests about special arrangements made in the child home or another local authority area.

Home and host local authorities

30. Where appropriate, the child or young person's home education authority [18] is responsible for establishing communication protocols with other authorities and hospital education providers, as well as for helping the school remain in contact with the child or young person and their parent or carers. In order to provide continuity and smooth transitions, the home local authority should work with the host education authority [19] to ensure that the education received is, taking into account the learner's circumstances, broadly comparable with prior learning, building from that where possible. The host local authority should ensure clear lines of communication with the child or young person's home local authority before education commences. Home local authorities are also responsible for managing and agreeing funding arrangements with the host local authority if the child or young person is being educated or treated within another authority area. These discussions should also include the setting of clear expectations of the services that are to be delivered.

31. There may be circumstances where it becomes apparent to a home education authority that a pupil who is normally educated in an educational establishment not under its management is unable to attend or it is unreasonable to expect the pupil to attend that establishment due to the pupil's prolonged ill health. In this situation, where arrangements have not otherwise been made for the pupil to receive education, the home education authority should make special arrangements for the pupil to receive education elsewhere than at that educational establishment. However, home education authorities should only be required to make such arrangements after the circumstances described above become apparent to them.

32. Local authorities are under a range of duties in relation to additional support for learning. This includes the duty to publish information on their arrangements for additional support for learning. Good practice would include the home education authority routinely providing advice and information for parents and carers on the statutory duties relating to and arrangements for the provision of education for children too ill to attend school. Authorities should also ensure that those working in schools and early learning and childcare establishments have access to appropriate training to support the needs of children and young people with health or medical needs and that they are familiar with the authority's agreed policies on administering medication.

33. The Scottish Government encourages local authorities to work together to agree the broad principles of appropriate communication protocols, education provision and funding arrangements so that there is a degree of consistency and understanding across Scotland in how arrangements for children too ill to attend school will be managed.

34. The duties of the Equality Act 2010 [20] require responsible bodies, (education authorities, independent and grant-aided schools), to actively deal with inequality, and to prevent direct disability discrimination, indirect disability discrimination and discrimination arising from disability and harassment or victimisation of pupils on the basis, or a perceived basis, of protected characteristics, including disability and pregnancy. The provisions include

  • prospective pupils
  • pupils at the school
  • in some limited circumstances, former pupils

35. In addition, under the Equality Act 2010 responsible bodies have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils and provide auxiliary aids and services [21] . The duty is 'to take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to avoid the substantial disadvantage' to a disabled person caused by a provision, criterion or practice applied by or on behalf of a school or by the absence of an auxiliary aid or service. This would include where a pupil's disability arises from a medical condition.

Health service

36. The health service where a child or young person is being treated should maintain clear lines of communication with the child or young person's parent or carer, and their named person. The hospital should ensure appropriate accommodation and facilities are provided so that education can be delivered. Where appropriate, hospitals should facilitate involvement of staff from the child or young person's own school or authority, subject to potential constraints imposed by the need for infection control or treatment protocols. Health services should also ensure that relevant staff can access appropriate training, which may include joint training opportunities with education staff. It is particularly important that staff in adult wards, where younger patients comprise a small element of the overall case load, have a clear understanding of their responsibilities in respect of ensuring the young person's educational needs are identified and addressed. Better Health, Better Care: Hospital Services for Young People in Scotland [22] provides guidance and recommendations for NHS Boards and their regional planning partners to ensure that the care they provide for children and young people meets their particular needs.

Parents

37. Parents have responsibility to provide efficient education for their children [23] by sending them to a school under the management of a local authority or through other means. Where a child or young person does not usually attend a local authority school, the parent should inform their local authority as soon as possible if it is apparent that their health or medical needs will have an extended disruptive effect on their child's learning, unless they have already made alternative arrangements for education provision due to ill health.

Independent Schools

38. In circumstances where a pupil at an independent school becomes unable to attend the school due to ill-health, arrangements are normally made by the parent and independent school for that pupil to continue to receive education otherwise than through the child's attendance at the school. These arrangements should be supported by the named person service within the established framework of Getting it Right for Every Child. In exceptional cases, it may not be possible for the parent and independent school to make such arrangements and the decision may be taken by the parent (for example where the pupil is absent for a prolonged duration) that the pupil will cease to be enrolled with the independent school. In these circumstances the parental responsibilities set out at paragraph 36 above will apply and parents may wish to contact the home education authority to seek support in assessment of the pupil's learning and health needs and provision of education. The named person service should also support these discussions.

39. As highlighted above in paragraphs 34 and 35 independent schools are required by the Equality Act 2010 [24] to actively deal with inequality, and to prevent direct disability discrimination, indirect disability discrimination and discrimination arising from disability and harassment or victimisation of pupils on the basis, or a perceived basis, of protected characteristics, including disability

40. In addition, under the Equality Act 2010 responsible bodies have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils and provide auxiliary aids and services [25] . The duty is 'to take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take to avoid the substantial disadvantage' to a disabled person caused by a provision, criterion or practice applied by or on behalf of a school or by the absence of an auxiliary aid or service. This would include where a pupil's disability arises from a medical condition.


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