Agenda item

Supporting Children with Medical Needs Policy

A report providing a summary of the Supporting Children with Medical Needs Policy, September 2021.


The Executive Director of Children’s Services – Education, Early Help and Social Care, Brighter Futures for Children, submitted a report providing the Committee with a summary of the Supporting Children with Medical Needs Policy.  A copy of the Policy was attached to the report at Appendix 1.

The report explained that there was legal requirement to enable children who were medically unfit and unable to attend school settings to access alternative provision which offered good quality education.  Such support should meet the child’s individual needs, including social and emotional needs and enable them to thrive and prosper in the education system.

The Policy set out how BFfC, on behalf of the Council, would comply with the statutory duty to arrange suitable full time, or when appropriate part time, education for children of compulsory school age who, because of illness, would otherwise not receive suitable education.  There was no legal timescale for the alternative provision to be secured however, DfE guidance recommended after 15 days.  The statutory duty applied to all children and young people of compulsory school age who would normally attend mainstream schools or special schools, including academies, free schools and independent schools, or where a child was not on the roll of such a school. 

The provision for children who were medically unfit to attend school had to ensure the following:

·         Pupils made good progress in their education and did not fall behind their peers, particularly in key subjects;

·         Disruption to learning was minimised and there was a continuity of education provision within the school curriculum;

·         Pupils were able to obtain qualifications as appropriate to their age and abilities;

·         Pupils were able to reintegrate successfully back into school and that this took place as soon as their health permitted;

·         Pupils felt fully part of their school community and were able to stay in contact with classmates;

·         BFfC was committed to providing a recovery focused model that embraced inclusive and Therapeutic Thinking Schools principles with a clear focus on an appropriate and timely return to school based learning.

The Council’s Health and Safety Team had produced a model policy ‘Supporting Pupils at School with Medical Conditions’, which had been updated in June 2020 and which schools had been recommended to adopt.  There was an expectation that most children and young people would make a full or partial recovery from their illness and at that point it was important that their needs for education continued to be met appropriately.  It was understood that most children and young people would transition back to full time mainstream education.

The child’s progress would need to be reviewed at least every six weeks by the schools in liaison with the alternative provider, in consultation with the parent/carer and other relevant services.  Relevant services including Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), General Practitioners, Education Inclusion/Attendance/Improvement Services, educational psychologists and school nurses all had responsibilities to work together to support children who were medically unfit to attendschool.  The expectation was that the schools and alternative providers would make arrangements to reintegrate pupils at the earliest opportunity and as soon as they were well enough.  Each child was expected to be provided with a reintegration plan set out in their Individual Health Care Plan which was reviewed and amended as appropriate.

Resolved –    That the report be noted.

Supporting documents: