Education of Sick Children
I’t is vitally important to the well being and to the future of each child that when they are absent from school because of illness or injury they continue to have access to education. This applies equally to those pupils who are expected to recover quickly and to be reintegrated ,who have chronic illness which may keep them out of school for a number of months or even years. It does not follow that because a pupil is unable to attend school, because of a medical condition, that he or she is unable to learn for at least some of that period. Education should be provided as soon as the child is well enough to cope with it. Educational regression, even for a short period, can have a lasting effect on a child’s life chances. Education also plays an important part in recovery of health, providing normality, motivation and hope for children who are coping with serious illness. It is a lifeline for children who suffer long-term ill-health. In any given year there are some 100,000 children who require education outside school because of illness or injury. In addition, there is a significant number of children who experience clinically defined mental health problems. The situations of these children will vary widely but they all run the risk of a reduction in self-confidence and educational achievement.The primary aim of educating children who are ill is to minimise, as far as possible, the interruption of and disruption to a child’s normal schooling by continuing education as normally as the incapacity allows. Sick or injured children can suffer educationally from the time spent in hospital or convalescing at home, and away from normal schooling, and also from the reaction to the trauma or illness or hospitalisation itself. It is part of the role of the teacher to continue the learning process and to keep education alive in the child’s life, and where possible maintain progress. The emphasis on continuing learning applies equally to children with lifethreatening or terminal illnesses, who also have a right to education suited to their age, ability, needs and health at the time. We believe that the following key principles should underpin such provision: • Access to education
• Clear policies, procedures and standards ofprovision
• Early identification and intervention
• Continuity of educational provision
• Working together
• Successful reintegration into mainstream school
• Partnership with parents and pupils
• High quality educational provision
The Government now seeks to build on that advice and add to the continuum of existing effective and efficient services, in order to deliver the optimum educational provision for every sick child. Access to education.
Section 19 of the Education Act 1996 provides that, “Each local education authority shall make arrangements for the provision of suitable education at school or otherwise than at school for those children of compulsory school age who, by reason of illness, exclusion from school or otherwise, may not for any period receive suitable education unless such arrangements are made for them.” Local education authorities also have the power to provide suitable education otherwise than at school for young people over compulsory school age but under the age of 19. Suitable education is defined as efficient education suitable to the age, ability, aptitude and to any special educational needs the child (or young person) may have. In determining what arrangements to make under subsections 19(1) or (4) in the case of any child or pupil, a local education authority must have regard to guidance given from time to time by the Secretary of State. Although arrangements under section 19 may amount to part-time education, what matters more is the quality of the arrangements made and whether they make suitable provision. It is not possible to lay down a fixed amount of education per child per week because each child’s case is unique and...
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