About

Does your school have a culture of supporting the education of young people with medical conditions?

Would you know what to do in the event that a pupil returns to your school following a hospital stay as an in-patient or prolonged period of absence following illness or medical treatment?

Our team at the Medical Needs in Schools Project draws together professionals from various backgrounds who can help. The relationships between physical and mental health, educational, and social and emotional development is well researched and documented. The bottom line is that young people with long or short term medical conditions will need more time off school than their healthy peers creating a disadvantage in their education. The MNIS project is committed to providing equity for the education of children and young people with medical conditions and eradicating the unfairness of the opportunity gap.

This project was conceived in 2017 and has grown in terms of its reach and resource base each year since. 

Special thanks go to the many contributors to this training site who include:

  • Steve Lowe, Headteacher at the Oxfordshire Hospital School
  • Dr Helen Griffiths, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Daniel Lawrence – SENDCo & DSL at the  Oxfordshire Hospital School
  • Cairo Bailey – Leader of Learning at the  Oxfordshire Hospital School
  • Clinicians working in specialist roles at the at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Clinicians working in specialist roles at the at the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Specialist charities and members of the Health Conditions in Schools Alliance
  • Colleagues from the Education Psychology Service at Oxfordshire County Council

Many others have offered support, advice and guidance and we hope to continue to draw on the expertise of the education and medical world and provide an increasing menu of resources for schools.

As always, feedback is not just welcome but actively encouraged. If there is a need, we will try and support.

From our experience, Oxfordshire emulates the national picture.

  • Government statistics show that 14% percent of children at age 15 had either a long-term illness, disability or medical condition diagnosed by a doctor.
  • Government statistics on school absence rates including persistent absence rates continues to increase.
  • According to DfE data, of the 783,400 children recorded as persistently absent in 2017/18 (absence rate of 10%+), 41.6% missed school due to illness and 4.7% due to medical appointments. Of pupils completing GCSEs in 2017 who met the persistent absence threshold for illness or medical appointment absences in secondary, 15.5% experienced at least one ‘unexplained exit’ (an unplanned change of school).
  • The Centre for Mental Health ‘Making the Grade’ publication found that in an average class of 30, 15 year olds, 3 could have a diagnosis of a mental health condition and 6 could be self-harming.
  • When the Health Conditions in Schools Alliance asked in early 2017:
  • Only 11.5% of schools in England could provide an adequate medical conditions policy that meets statutory guidance. All should by law have this policy.
  • 72% of schools report that Ofsted did not ask about their medical conditions policy during their latest inspection this has led to many children with medical conditions being excluded from school activities and having their health and safety put at risk.
  • Only 17% of local authorities confirmed that they had a medical conditions policy.