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Inspection and Advisory Service (HIAS)

What do I do if my child is unwell?

As a parent/carer you may think you can give your child permission to be at home, you cannot. The only person who can give permission for a child to be absent from school is the school’s headteacher. If your child is sick or is absent for other unforeseen reasons, you must notify the school by telephone on the first day of absence and follow this up with a note once the child returns to school. You should let the school know:

  • the nature of the illness (although you may wish to talk confidentially about this)
  • whether your child has seen their GP, or whether an appointment has been made for some other specialist service
  • how long you expect your child to be absent from school
  • the prognosis for the child’s recovery.

The school’s headteacher will decide whether or not to authorise the absence, depending upon the reason given. For absences that are expected to last up to 15 school days and that are not part of a pattern of a recurring illness, the parents/carers should discuss with the school whether they are willing to organise for work and homework to be set as soon as the child is able to cope with it. The school should also agree with you how completed work will be collected, marked and returned.

Longer absence through illness, injury or medical condition

If absence is long-term or repeated schools may request proof that your child is genuinely unwell and unable to attend school as this is a key part of their safeguarding duties. Keep copies of any appointment letters or medical reports.

If your child:

  • has a long term or chronic condition, and is expected to be absent from school for a longer period
  • has intermittent attendance due to an illness (such as epilepsy or sickle cell anaemia)
  • is going to be absent from school for a period of therapy or surgery

the school may want to draw up a support plan, and consider whether to refer your child to our specialist services.

Education for pupils who are unable to attend school because of medical needs, can be provided for in the following ways:

  • children who are in-patients of most hospitals will be taught through the in hospital teaching service
  • children who are not in-patients, may receive home tutoring organised via the Education Inclusion Service and a local education centre

Children who are admitted to NHS hospitals (including psychiatric units) in other areas will receive education through local hospitals, schools or an education centre.