Getting your child well again is bound to be your main priority at the moment. Yet your child may be in treatment for months, if not years, and it’s important that their education continues. This isn’t just so that your child can keep up with their curriculum. Lots of parents find that schoolwork helps to give their child some much-needed structure and consistency while they go through treatment.
Initially you, or a trusted friend or relative, will need to phone your child’s headteacher to let them know about their diagnosis. Your social worker or an outreach nurse may be able to do this if you prefer. In the coming weeks and months they, and your child’s hospital teachers, can also help you liaise with the school and keep them up to date with what’s happening.
"We have a very good relationship with our son’s school. They sent work for him to do while he was in hospital and his classmates all sent emails and cards."
Most children’s cancer hospitals have education departments, or schools, that can support your child while they are in hospital. The hospital teachers will contact your child’s school to make a plan for your child’s education. The school can set work that allows your child to carry on learning whenever they are well enough. Your child can even take exams in hospital or at home if necessary.
Your local authority may be willing to provide a part-time home tutor if your child is out of hospital but can’t get to school. Your social worker can liaise with the education department about this if you wish.
Staying in touch with friends
The friends your child makes at school or nursery are very important to them. While they are in hospital, encourage your child to stay in touch with friends via cards, letters, texts, emails, phonecalls, Skype and, if they are old enough, social networking sites. Your child’s hospital teachers can support you with this. Encourage visits from school or nursery friends too if your child is well enough.
Going back to school
Provided they feel able, encourage them to do as much schoolwork as they can each day Once they are well enough, encourage your child to attend school as much as they can, even if it’s just for a short time each day. There is further information on our returning to school page.