Assessing whether a child is unable to attend due to their health needs

The council have a responsibility to arrange suitable provision:

  • when the child’s health needs become too complex to manage in school. Other professionals will have worked with the school too.
  • when school are recording the absence as illness.

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When a child is unable to attend for a longer period, and early help support has not helped the child back into school

The school should:

  • meet with parents, and where appropriate the child
  • liaise with the GP or Health Professional to consider what they feel the child can engage with.
  • put in place a support plan. This looks at what the child needs to continue to go to school.  Any reasonable adjustments will be part of this plan.  For children with physical health needs this should include a referral to the health needs in education team.
  • consult with their linked attendance and inclusion officer. This is to discuss support.  It also includes whether Emotionally Based School Avoidance (EBSA) support, graded exposure and/or mentoring could help with going to school.
  • invite other professionals to meet with the child. Only where their support can be meaningful to the outcomes of the child.

Click on the drop down options below to find out more about what can be put in place to help.

An Individual Healthcare Plan (IHCP) is for all children who have a medical need who need health care support. The IHCP will say what reasonable adjustments need to be in place that will meet the child’s medical or health need.  It should say how any treatment and support is provided. This is so children get the medical/health information they need and will keep them safe.

IHCPs should be used when writing a support plan. Schools should review a support plan in-line with a child’s expected improvement or progress, or where there is decline. During this review they should look at any other reasonable adjustments if needed.  These could be what they have identified or other professionals have advised.  They would then change the plan with agreed outcomes linked to the child’s attendance.

Please see the statutory information by clicking on the below logo.

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Schools are expected to continue to provide a full-time education even if a child has a health need.

Where full time education in school is not in the child’s best interests, a reduced timetable may be put in place.  This should only be short-term. Reduced timetables must be reviewed regularly.  A plan for increasing hours should be in place.  This is in line with the treatment plan, individual health care plan (IHCP) or support plan.

If medical needs become more complex and the child is unable to attend school at all, the school must arrange a Team around the Family meeting.  This is with the linked Inclusion and Attendance Team officer.  Those in the meeting will look at the support plans already tried.  They will look at next steps. For many children this will be in place before it gets to this point.

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