Having cancer can affect how much you are able to go to school. With some treatments, you may only have to miss a couple of classes a week. Others may take up more time and mean you can only go to school occasionally.

Going into school as often as you can doesn’t only help you keep up with your schoolwork, it also lets you stay in touch with your friends and may make things feel more normal.

At hospital and home

If you are in hospital for a while, your hospital teacher or one of the team caring for you will contact your teachers to plan and get you work to do. Teachers from your school can also arrange to deliver work and textbooks to you, and for finished work to be given back to your teacher for marking. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to get home tuition or be offered online learning.

While you are in hospital or recovering at home, try to keep in touch with your school friends by email, text, phone, FaceTime and Skype. They also may be able to visit you, if you feel up to it.

Returning to school

It’s natural to feel worried about going back to school – especially if you have been off for a while. You may want to talk to friends and teachers in advance about how your health is and how you want to be treated, so that they know what to expect.

Your school may be able to make arrangements to help you settle back in, such as allowing you to go back part-time, changing deadlines, helping with getting between classes and providing one-to-one support to help you catch up.

Taking exams

If you are due to take exams, the exams officer will arrange any help you may need.

You might be able to get special ‘access arrangements’, such as extra time or the use of a laptop or specialist equipment. If you are unwell during the exam period and this affects how you do, your consultant may be able to write a letter for the exam board who will then decide if it is possible to change your marks to take your situation into account.

If you have any problems being back at school, let people know you’re having difficulties in whatever way you feel comfortable. You might want to email teachers, ask your parent, carer or a friend to speak to them for you, or ask your favourite teacher to sort it out.

Updated December 2015, next planned review 2017.