Wakefield Council Guidance on Educating Children with Medical Needs
This guidance sets out what the local authority will do to provide education for children of compulsory school age who, because of illness would otherwise not receive suitable education. The policy applies to all children and young people of compulsory school age who would normally attend mainstream schools, including Academies, Free Schools, independent schools and special schools, or where a child is not on the roll of a school (Electively Home Educated) who live in Wakefield. It applies when a child cannot attend school at all or can only attend intermittently due to their illness or specific needs.
Legal and Statutory guidance
The Local Authority has a duty set out in Section 19 of the Education Act 1996 and in the statutory guidance 2013 - ‘Ensuring a good education for children who cannot attend school because of health needs.’
The Equality Act 2010 is also an important part of the legal framework around children and young people with significant medical needs.
Pupils at school with medical conditions should be properly supported so that they have full access to education, including school trips and physical education.
Governing bodies must ensure that arrangements are in place in schools to support pupils at school with medical conditions.
Governing bodies should ensure that school leaders consult health and social care professionals, pupils and parents/carers to ensure that the needs of children with medical conditions are effectively supported.
It is important that schools are able to offer appropriate support for pupils in order to minimise the impact that their condition has on their school life and be aware and respond to the impact school life has on a pupils’ health. Schools should ensure that pupils with medical conditions have an individual healthcare plan, where this is felt to be appropriate and proportionate to the medical condition.
Schools in Wakefield , as in the rest of the country, (including maintained schools, maintained nursery schools, academies, alternative provision academies) are required by law to make arrangements for supporting pupils at their school with medical conditions.
Under the Children and Families Act 2014 Section 100 schools and education settings have a statutory duty to make arrangements to support pupils with medical conditions.
Statutory guidance was published for the governing bodies of all schools, whether they are maintained by the local authority, academies or free schools. The statutory guidance applies to all education settings for children and young people up to the age of sixteen and is good practice guidance for post-16 settings.
The statutory guidance ‘Supporting pupils with medical conditions’ can be found at:
The statutory guidance is clear that there will be a wide range of circumstances where a child has a medical need but will receive suitable education that meets their needs without the intervention of the local authority. This includes where the child can still attend school with some support or where the school has made arrangements to deliver suitable education outside of school for the child.
Schools must have a policy that sets out the support for pupils at school with medical conditions. (DfE statutory guidance September 2014). However there are some pupils for whom the LA must arrange suitable full time education (or as much education as the pupil’s health condition allows) who cannot attend school due to medical needs.
Wakefield Council are responsible for arranging suitable education for children of compulsory school age who, because of illness, would not receive suitable education without such provision.
The law does not define full-time education but children with medical needs should have provision which is equivalent to the education they would receive in school. Wakefield Council may provide one-to-one tuition, in which case the hours of face-to-face provision could be fewer as the provision is more concentrated.
Where full-time education would not be in the best interests of a child because of reasons relating to their physical or mental health, Wakefield Council will endeavour to provide part-time education on a basis which is considered to be in the child's best interests. This decision will be made with reference to advice from relevant educational and medical professionals.
It is a statutory requirement that local authorities have a named person responsible for the education of children with additional health needs.
Wakefield Council works with Pinderfields Hospital Pupil Referral Unit (PHPRU) to provide education provision for pupils who require this in relation to their medical needs.
In Wakefield the named person is Sue Sharp Service Manager, WISENDSS in partnership with PHPRU.
Referrals can be made directly to the Head teacher of The PHPRU who will liaise with the Local Authority nominated officer to agree if the referral is appropriate.
Helen Mumby, Pinderfields Hospital Pupil Referral Unit, Imperial Avenue, Wrenthorpe, Wakefield WF2 0LW
Referrals can be made where appropriate for pupils of compulsory school age (5-16) who are unable to attend school due to medical needs or injury. Education should be provided as soon as it is clear that the pupil will be away from school for 15 school days or more, whether consecutive or cumulative.
Statutory guidance indicates that medical evidence must be provided by a medical or CAMHS consultant. Where supporting medical evidence is not quickly available due to extensive service assessment waiting times, consideration will be given to other medical professional evidence, such as the child’s GP. GP only referrals will initially be considered as an interim referral in order to avoid delays, but will further require specialist evidence in order for provision/support to continue.
Evidence must clearly state that the pupil is too unwell to attend school and set out the reasons why and where possible the expected time period of the condition and absence from school. The medical evidence should also indicate the number of hours per week the pupil could reasonably be expected to undertake given the current medical need.
If a pupil is under the care of (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) CAMHS, there is an expectation that CAMHS practitioners will form part of the multi-agency plan and support education professionals with advice and guidance and offer relevant timescales for regular medical tuition reviews which they attend and support.
Referrals are generally made by the relevant medical or CAMHS consultant however as indicated there may be instances where referrals come through another route such as GP or through school. In the case of a school, the school must seek and provide medical evidence which confirms why the pupil is unable to attend school and states how long this is likely to be the case.
The purpose of placement at PHPRU is to provide short term education either through attendance on site or through tuition and to support the pupil to reintegrate to school as quickly as possible but retaining a degree of flexibility.
Suitable full time education is the aim (or part time when appropriate according to the pupil’s needs). Although full-time is not defined in law, children with health needs should have provision which is equivalent to the education they would normally receive in school. However, if the child is receiving individual tuition, the hours are likely to be fewer as the provision is more concentrated. The number, frequency and length of sessions will be determined at the planning meeting and reviewed thereafter at half termly reviews.
PHPRU will discuss with the medical professionals and parents/carers the number of hours of education or tuition the pupil can reasonably manage, and how and where this would be best supported.
Once the Referral Form and evidence has been considered and a decision about the referral has been made, the PHPRU Headteacher would notify the referrer.
PHPRU will liaise with the parents and pupil and the medical professional providing the supporting evidence, host school and social care if involved and a half termly review meeting will be held for parents and all professionals involved.
If the referral is not agreed PHPRU will contact the referrer to confirm why the referral does not meet the criteria. Further evidence may be submitted in order that the referral can be reconsidered.
PHPRU role is to:
- To complete an initial home visit and risk assessmen
- Arrange medical tuition suitable to the child’s needs as quickly as possible (home tuition, on site or alternative venue).
- The assistant head will liaise directly with the host school regarding academic data, risk assessments, IEPs etc.
- Be sensitive to the needs of the child and the family and provide flexibility where pos
- Provide a flexible teaching programm
- Provide regular reports on the pupil’s progress, achievements and attendanc
- Provide an opportunity for the pupil to comment on their repo
- Ensure appropriate course work and any other relevant material is sent to the host school when they return.
- Work with the host school and the Education Welfare service where appropriate to ensure good attendance whilst with the provide
The PHPRU and school will devise a reintegration programme following discussion with the child or young person, parent/carer, relevant health professional(s) and other involved agencies as appropriate.
The Host School’s role is to:
- Attend regular review meetings (normally every 6/8 weeks); to review the plan and progress made and identify next ste
- For short term home tuition provide materials for an appropriate programme of work and work plan
- Continue to maintain any plans such as MSP, EHCP, PEPs etc.
- Ensure parents and children are kept informed of school events (social as well as school curriculum meetings and parent interviews) if appropriate.
- Keep the pupil on the roll of the school throughout the period of medical education provision.
- Mark the pupil as D (dual roll) on the school r
The parent’s role is to:
- Ensure the child is up, dressed and ready to engage in learning ether on the identified site or at home.
- Ensure regular attendance (including access and engagement if at home).
- Provide a responsible adult who must always present during home tuition.
- Provide an appropriate work space to allow work to be completed if tutoring at home.
- Commit fully to the reintegration plan and eventual return to sc
- Provide early information to the PHPRU if a problem arise
- Attend meetings and agree to share information regarding the child’s medical
- Sign the tuition agreement form which outlines the expectations around tuition, including an appropriate home environment.
The pupil’s role is to:
- Engage with the PHPRU educational provision.
- Be prepared to communicate their view
- Engage with other agencies as appropriate.
- Prepare for reintegration as soon as possibl
The commissioned programme will be reviewed/amended/withdrawn if any of the following apply:
- The pupil fails to be available on a regular basis without appropriate medical evid
- Medical advice identifies that the child is medically unable to access any education and to do so would not be in the child’s best interes
- Up to date medical advice is not provided for the half termly review.
- The home tuition agreement is not adhered
- There are any other circumstances which mean that the tuition venue does not meet the minimum health and safety standards for the tutor to work in.
- It had been identified that the pupil is no longer medically unfit to attend and therefore a reintegration plan will be put in place.