Statutory guidance

Education for children with health needs who cannot attend school

How local authorities must meet their duty to ensure children with health needs receive a good education.

Applies to England



This statutory guidance is for local authorities.

It will also be of interest to:

  • all types of schools
  • providers of alternative provision
  • providers of health services
  • parents and carers

It explains what local authorities and others need to do to ensure that children who are too ill to attend school get a good education.

This guidance applies to children:

  • of compulsory school age
  • who are on a school roll or not
  • who cannot attend school or can attend intermittently

This guidance covers:

  • when and how to provide support
  • medical evidence
  • hospital education
  • exams
  • working with other services
  • reintegration into school
  • raising concerns about children’s provision

Separate guidance for pupils with medical conditions who can be supported at school is available.

Published 17 May 2013
Last updated 14 December 2023 + show all updates
  1. Updated 'Ensuring a good education for children who cannot attend school because of health needs' to reflect changes to related policies, including behaviour in schools, and school suspensions and permanent exclusions. There are no changes to the section 19 legislation or alternative provision policy.

  2. First published.