Admissions and Referral Process
The Children’s Hospital School provides education to children and young people who are either hospital in-patients or pupils unable to return to a mainstream or special school by reason of their medical needs. A placement at The Children’s Hospital School and Outreach Service is normally temporary, time limited, and with an anticipated return to mainstream, special or post-16 provision.
Due to the mixed and complex needs of the pupils at this school, referrals for pupils excluded or in danger of exclusion for presenting aggressive behaviours should be made to agencies other than The Children’s Hospital.
This policy applies to all those pupils who are so medically unfit that they are unable to attend school, those who are physically ill or injured, and those with mental health problems. Particular care is needed to ensure that there is adequate provision for pupils suffering from medically diagnosed mental illness which prevents them from attending school. This includes pupils with mental illness, anxieties, depression, and/or school phobia, including separation anxiety and school refusal associated with clinical depression.
It is essential that a referral to The Children’s Hospital School and Medical Needs Outreach Service is part of an integrated support plan for a pupil which is underpinned by the work of all involved professionals, and which has clear goals or outcomes for a return to school or other provision.
Where referrals to The Children’s Hospital School are made other than by the pupil's own school, the Referrals Team will seek to gain a consensus of all involved agencies, including the school, regarding the planned programme and expected outcome. Acceptance of referrals is dependent upon the pupil's needs meeting the school's referral criteria. If the placement is not utilised, or is deemed inappropriate, the place will be closed. In this event, the referrers and home school will be notified.
Pupils with physical medical problems which prevent school attendance:
Teaching will normally be provided where the pupil's anticipated absence will be of three weeks duration or longer. The type and extent of provision made is at the discretion of the Referral Team.
Pupils with psychiatric or mental health difficulties which prevent school attendance:
Such pupils may include those presenting with eating disorders, anxiety and depression - possibly with actual, or threat of, self-harm, school refusal and obsessive behaviours.
It is expected that referrals of pupils whose main presenting difficulty is psychiatric or mental health difficulty would be supported by:
- Clear evidence of any difficulty experienced.
- Any information regarding work already carried out by the school, family, and other agencies to remedy the problem.
- An indication of consensus amongst involved professionals, including a consultant psychiatrist or psychologist, that a referral to the Children's Hospital School and Medical Needs Outreach Service is likely to be the most effective way forward.
- An agreement to continuing support for the pupil and family by the referring agency, and planned outcomes for the placement.
Assessment placements (part-time or full-time) will be reviewed after 4 or 10 weeks. It must be noted that such placements are time limited, with an expected date for a return to the referring school agreed at the outset, and a risk assessment must be completed.
A child or young person who is unable to attend school because of medical needs should have their educational needs identified and receive educational support quickly and effectively.
Pupils with degenerative medical conditions:
- May require special consideration.
- Some conditions are rapidly progressive – progress runs counter to peer group, and appropriate and accessible activities are needed.
- It is important to maintain educational input.
- Regular and frequent reviews are called for.
- Closer liaison is required owing to greater medical need.
- Are covered by the Disability and Discrimination Act.
Return to school:
- Most pupils who have been in hospital or have a serious illness which requires a period of convalescence return to school without any problem.
- Some children do find it difficult to return to their own school, particularly those children who have had mental health problems. The receiving school should expect to make additional appropriate arrangements to support the transition.
- Forward planning and effective collaboration can facilitate a successful reintegration to school.
- Effective and flexible collaboration between Local Authorities, the child's school, medical personnel, allied health professionals, parents/carers, and other agencies e.g. the Connexions Service, is crucial to the continuity of high educational provision for children and young people with medical needs and successful re-entry into school or college.