In this section
transitioning to primary or secondary school, or coping with
interrupted schooling can be challenging for any child and their
family. This can be made more difficult when your child has a
health condition. To achieve the best possible educational
outcomes, a child with a chronic health condition needs ongoing and
coordinated support from their family, school and medical
When a child is away from school for a long
time because they have been in hospital, at home recovering or
going to medical appointments, they may find it difficult
There needs to be a
consistent and ongoing approach to supporting the educational needs
of a child with a health condition.
This can best be
achieved if you work very closely with your child's school. It
is important to organise a meeting with the school principal to
work out the expectations and responsibilities of everyone
Decide what and how much
information your child would like to share about their condition with school staff, classmates and the wider
Your child needs adequate care and support
at school, but it is also vital to be aware of your child's right to
confidentiality and privacy.
Decide who will be responsible for sharing
information with who, in what way, and when.
Discuss with the school how a school-based
Student Health Support Plan can be developed. This support plan
should outline how your child's condition will affect their ability to attend school. It should also indicate which
school staff will be responsible for carrying out certain tasks and
what to do in case of emergency.
The health support plan should be made
available to relevant staff (including casual replacement teachers
and other staff who have occasional care of your child). The health
support plan should be reviewed annually or whenever there is any
significant change to your child's condition or
Your child's school can read the
guidelines which help with developing a health support plan via
Victorian Government School Reference Guide.
It's important to regularly inform the school
about how your child is coping at home and at school; academically, socially, physically and emotionally. Work with the
school to organise:
Many children and young people keep in touch
with school and friends via the internet. The Royal Children's
Hospital Education Institute provides filtered and monitored
wireless internet for children and young people at the hospital.
Laptops and notebook computers are available for loan. Children and
young people who bring their own wireless enabled laptop can also
connect to this network.
If you have access to a laptop at home or at school it would be useful to bring it to the hospital for your
child to use.
Please contact the Education Institute for
help in connecting to the internet at the RCH.
Discuss with the school if your child's
condition will need:
There are many support services available to
help schools effectively support students with a chronic health
condition. The school principal is the best person to ask about
accessing these services. Some of these are:
It is the school principal's responsibility
to employ a student support services officer. Student support
services staff visit teachers, education support officers,
psychologists, guidance officers, speech pathologists, social
workers and other allied health professionals.
In Victoria, the Department of Education and Training and the Catholic Education
Office provide a Visiting Teacher service. If your
child attends an independent school, please contact your child's
school principal to discuss additional support.
Visiting teachers may work with visually,
hearing and physically impaired students, as well as students with
a chronic health condition. They provide extra educational help,
advice and support to school-aged children and young people, their
parents, schools and school communities. Your child's school
is responsible for applying to the Visiting Teacher
All school systems have dedicated staff
members who support schools to strengthen a whole-school approach
to the wellbeing of students. These staff members oversee the
development of tailored programs to meet individual needs,
interests and abilities of students who may find ongoing engagement
with education challenging.
Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD) supports the
education of students with disabilities and learning needs in
Victorian government schools by providing schools with extra
resources. This program is specifically for students enrolled in
Victorian government schools.
Your child's school is responsible for
applying for the program by completing an educational needs
questionnaire which will determine if your child meets one of
the following eligibility criteria:
Once a child is accepted into the program for
students with disabilities, the school is responsible for
organising a student support group. The aims of the student support
group are to ensure that shared goals for the student's educational
future are developed and to monitor the progress of the
There is a similar program within the
Catholic and independent school systems called the
Literacy, Numeracy and Special Learning Needs Program.
Discuss with your child's school whether they
are able to provide school staff with professional development
opportunities or information regarding your child's health
condition and the implications for schools.
Department of Education and TrainingCatholic EducationOffice (CEO) MelbourneCatholic
Education Office BallaratCatholic
Education Office SaleCatholic Education
Schools Victoria (ISV)Livewire.org.au
The content for this fact sheet has been
contributed to by the Royal Children's Hospital Education
Institute. First published in May 2007. Updated November