Home tuition and hospital teaching services guidance
Section 100 of the Children and Families Act 2014 places a duty on governing bodies of maintained schools, proprietors of academies and management committees of PRUs to make arrangements for supporting pupils at their school with medical conditions. Schools are required to ensure that all children with medical conditions, in terms of both physical and mental health, are properly supported in school so that they can play a full and active role in school life, remain healthy and achieve their academic potential. In meeting this duty schools must have regard to the following statutory guidance: Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions: statutory guidance for governing bodies of maintained schools and proprietors of academies in England (December 2015).
Although schools are required to ensure that all children with medical conditions are properly supported in school, there are situations where children are unable to attend school because of their health needs. The Local Authority has a statutory duty to arrange suitable education for pupils who because of illness would not receive suitable education. This must be full-time education unless the pupil’s health means that full-time education would not be in his or her best interests.
There is no absolute legal deadline by which LAs must have started to provide education for children who cannot attend school because of their health needs. Schools should usually provide support to children who are absent from school because of health needs for a shorter period of time, for example when experiencing chicken pox or influenza. There will also be a wide range of circumstances where a child has a health need that will prevent them from attending school for a longer period of time and they will continue to receive suitable education that meets their needs without the intervention of the LA – for example, where the child can still attend school with some support; where the school has made arrangements to deliver suitable education outside of school for the child; or where arrangements have been made for the child to be educated in a hospital by an on-site hospital school or hospital teaching service. However, LAs should arrange education provision as soon as it is clear that a child will be away from school for 15 days or more (whether consecutive or cumulative across the school year) and where suitable education is not otherwise being arranged.
LAs are required to have regard to the following statutory guidance when arranging suitable full-time education (or part-time when appropriate for the child’s needs), and this statutory guidance applies to all children and young people of statutory school age, regardless of the type of school they would normally attend and it applies equally whether a child cannot attend school at all or can only attend intermittently: Ensuring a good education for children who cannot attend school because of health needs: Statutory guidance for local authorities (January 2013).
This Buckinghamshire guidance document sets out how the LA will arrange suitable education for Buckinghamshire resident children who cannot attend school because of their health needs through the commissioning of the Buckinghamshire Home Tuition Service and the Hospital Teaching Service at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. For the purpose of this guidance, pupils with health needs are defined as:
- pupils who are physically ill, injured or recovering from medical interventions
- pupils with mental health problems
- teenage mothers or mothers-to-be who are unable to access education in their registered school
Some pupils may not be able to attend school because they are deemed to be school refusers. School refusers are eligible for support from the Home Tuition Service; however they will only be eligible when there is clear supporting evidence from a qualified CAMHS practitioner to certify that the child is unable to attend school due to mental health reasons.