One of the main aims of the Home and Hospital Teaching Service is to make reintegration as easy as possible for our students after convalescence. When it is decided that a student is ready to return to mainstream school, the process is carefully planned with the agencies involved so is often gradual. Health and safety considerations must always take priority.
For those with orthopaedic problems it is usually far easier than for those whose medical conditions are long term or compounded by anxiety. When a student recovering from an orthopaedic injury improves and is weight bearing and/or on crutches, liaison with the Head of Year or Headteacher (Primary) can ascertain whether a return to school is possible, even on a part-time basis, accessing rooms at ground level initially.
Often it is possible for the child to attend if he/she is allowed to arrive late to avoid the ‘crush’, to go to lessons late and leave before the rest of the class. It may be that rota system of friends to accompany the child is necessary and arrangements made for break times.
Long-term illnesses such as ME/PVS/CFS involve long term liaison with the named person in school – usually the Head of Year at Secondary level but occasionally the SENCO. There will have been regular reviews so that preparation can be made when the time is right, for the child to return to school initially on a part-time basis. Sometimes support from the Home and Hospital Teaching Service continues either in school or at home and for ME patients, rest periods in the school sickbay can be built into provisions and advice sent into school for the staff. Each student is an individual so decisions must be made on an individual basis and regularly reviewed until the students is able to return to school regularly. The school is then responsible for the further reintegration of the student.
Preparation of peer-groups and staff is sometimes arranged, e.g. for children suffering from cancer, so that treatment and their effects can be explained before the reintegration process occurs.
Information on other medical conditions and their problems is available from the Home and Hospital Teaching Service for staff to access. Occasionally, students will, initially, be supported in school by their teacher to help build confidence. Close contact is maintained between the family, the mainstream school and the Home and Hospital Teaching Service so that any problems that may arise can be dealt with quickly and effectively. The pace of reintegration is determined by the individual students’ ability to cope.
For some children, referral is necessary for other special educational needs. This is done through reviews in school. Applications such as for assessment of SEN, for transport or for a LSA will then be made by the school and supported by the Home and Hospital Teaching Service with medical evidence. Referrals to other agencies e.g. CAMHS, can be made but this is rare.
The consultants at the Tree House sometimes refer children to the service who are well enough to return to school on a part time basis but, due to anxiety, lack of continuity in the past or problems perceived at school, need support from the service. This necessitates the Educational Key Worker establishing contact with the school and home then providing support in a variety of ways. It could involve providing information to school about the condition, providing extra resources to help the child, suggesting a reduced timetable, setting up regular pastoral support at school or limiting GCSE requirements. It always involves regular contact with the child and parents and liaison with the school to encourage the reintegration process. Rarely does it involve providing teaching time.
Some students, with cancer, heart conditions or conditions that require surgery over several years, will return to the Home and Hospital Teaching Service for support. Whenever possible, the same teacher/s will be allocated to provide continuity. Parent/carers and school are made aware that the Home and Hospital Teaching Service can be contacted for help and advice at any time should future problems arise.
When a student returns to his/her mainstream school, a record of attainment and achievement made whilst being taught by the Home and Hospital Teaching Service will be forwarded to the school. Occasionally, there are problems re-integrating a child due to emotional problems or anxiety. This necessitates a referral to the Pendlebury Centre for further support.
Chronic Illness Register
A chronic illness register has been established for those children and young people meeting the criteria as agreed with the PCT