RETURNING TO SCHOOL
Seven things you can do to help a student manage their return to school after a period of absence:
- Meet with the student and family / carer
It is best if you can meet with the student and a family member before they start back so you can discuss their concerns and decide on a plan for their first day. This can alleviate anxiety and also allows time for school to arrange peer support and to inform class and subject teachers of any special arrangements required.
- Welcome the student back
Welcome the student back and ensure that consideration has been given to friendship groups and peer support. Consider the seating arrangements, has the student 'lost' their place at their usual table? This can cause major anxiety and add to the feeling of being isolated or left out.
- Arrange for a member of the medical or hospital school / tuition unit to visit
It may be helpful for a member of the medical or hospital school/tuition unit to come in and talk to staff especially where a students medical or mental health condition requires considerable planning or arrangements for a smooth transition back to school.
- Liaise with the school nurse
Liaise with the school nurse, advisor and named contact to ensure all relevant medical information is updated. Medication may have changed or additional or different medical staff may be involved. Make sure you have the most up to date information.
- Ensure all staff are made aware
If this is a new diagnosis, ensure all staff are made aware of the effects of the medical condition on the student, and who should be contacted if the student falls ill while at school or on a school outing.
- Create a plan for catching up
Discuss a realistic plan for catching up on any missed work. Ensure this is monitored and evaluated after a set period. This is particularly important for those students needing to submit examination course work. Good communication is vital between school, hospital school and home.
- Monitor for changes
Look out for any changes in quality of work and overall behaviour. Consult with parent / carer and student if there are any concerns.