6 July 2011
Another question about the education of children with CFS/M.E. received a written answer in the House of Lords, 5 July.
Parliamentary monitor DeHavilland alerted us to the following extract from Hansard.
Question asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool: “To ask Her Majesty's Government in the light of evidence linking school absences for long-term illness with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, what guidance they currently issue to schools and parents about the illness and a child's right to education outside the classroom; and what plans, if any, they have to extend this guidance.”
Lord Hill of Oareford, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools: “We are committed to ensuring that children with long-term illnesses receive as normal an education as possible.
“Statutory guidance published jointly with the Department of Health in 2001 sets out the national minimum standards for the education of children who are unable to attend school because of medical needs. It also sets out the roles and responsibilities of mainstream schools in meeting the needs of children who are on their roll but are away from school due to illness. We do not publish separate guidance on managing specific illnesses and health conditions.
“Further guidance for schools on Managing Medicines in Schools and Early Years was published in 2005. This recommended, among other things, that there should be a clear policy in each school, an individual healthcare plan for any child with medical needs, and training for staff.
“The Government will commence, from this September, the provisions in Section 3 of the Children, Schools and Families Act 2010. This will place a duty on local authorities to provide full-time education for all children who they place in alternative provision. The only exemption will be where, for reasons which relate to the physical or mental health of the child, it would not be in the child's best interests to be in full-time education.
“Current guidance will be amended to reflect this change in legislation.”
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