Children with ongoing health needs

Education for children who cannot attend school because of health needs.

Children may experience ill health at some point during their time at school and others may have an ongoing medical condition that potentially impairs their ability to access full time education within a school setting.

In the majority of cases, schools are able to support pupils in such circumstances effectively. Schools must have regard to the Department for Education Statutory guidance Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions, and are expected to make reasonable adjustments to support pupils to continue to access education.

There may be occasions, where, despite best endeavours, schools are unable to meet the educational needs of a pupil with a medical need. Additional statutory guidance Ensuring a good education for children who cannot attend school because of health needs outlines how, in more exceptional cases, support must be made available via the Local Authority, in order to minimise disruption to a child’s education, where their needs cannot be met by the school.

This guidance applies to pupils:

  • who are of statutory school age and
  • who are permanently resident in West Sussex (including children who attend schools outside the county) and
  • who are not in school for 15 days or more, whether consecutive or cumulative due to ill health and
  • where the health need and necessity for absence has been validated as necessary by a medical consultant and
  • will not receive a suitable full-time education unless the local authority makes arrangements for this.

The role of the County Council

West Sussex County Council commission medical provision through the West Sussex Alternative Provision College with referrals made via the pupils on-roll school and managed by the Fair Access Team. Referrals must be supported by appropriate medical evidence.

On the rare occasion that a child does not have an on-roll school, relevant parties are able to access support and guidance by emailing the Fair Access Team.

It is evidenced that in the vast majority of cases, access to full time education within a mainstream setting is vital to ensuring children are able to thrive and reach their full potential.

The aim of medical provision, therefore, is short-term intervention to support the pupil towards reintegration back into a mainstream education when they are well enough. This is done at the earliest opportunity, working closely with the pupil, schools, parents/carers and other relevant professionals.

Named officer

The named officer for West Sussex County Council is Helen Johns.

Last updated:
28 November 2022
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