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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hospital-education-a-guide-for-health-services/hospital-education-a-guide-for-health-services
In this guidance, the word ‘child’ refers to anyone up to the age of 18.
Definition of hospital education
Hospital education means education provided at a community special school or a foundation special school established in a hospital, or education provider under any arrangements made by the local authority under section 19 of the Education Act 1996 (exceptional provision of education), where the child is being provided with such education by reason of a decision made by a medical practitioner.1 An example is the Children’s Hospital School at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) and University College Hospital (UCH).
Legal responsibility for providing education
Every local authority has a legal responsibility to arrange education for any child they are responsible for whose illness prevents them from attending school. This education must be full time unless the local authority judges that part-time education would be in a child’s best interests because of his or her health needs. The local authority is not generally involved in decisions about admission to hospital – as admission is often as an emergency, the home-base school and local authority may only be notified after admission has occurred.
Providers of hospital education
Hospital education can be provided by a range of providers, including:
- local authority maintained schools
- pupil referral units (also maintained by a local authority)
- alternative provision academies
- special academies
These types of provider are inspected by Ofsted. Other independent providers must be registered with the Department for Education as an independent school if they fulfill 1 of the following criteria:
- they provide full time education to 5 or more children
- they provide full time education to at least 1 child with a Statement of Special Educational Needs or an Education, Health and Care Plan
- they provide full time education to at least 1 looked after child
Most Tier 4 CAMHS inpatient units provide education.
Trusts’ relationship with education providers
To ensure that hospital education provision is effectively planned and funded, NHS trusts and foundation trusts (FTs) should ensure that they know who is providing the education. They should also ensure that the hospital education provider is given information as early as possible (and if necessary, on a confidential basis) on any planned changes to capacity (for example, an increase in paediatric beds), which might impact on them. Any change in the level of funding can then be discussed in advance with the local authority or other organisation funding the provision. Trusts and FTs should endeavour to maintain strategic links with their local providers of hospital education.
Funding for education providers
Hospital education providers that are maintained by a local authority receive funding from that authority from funds distributed by the Education Funding Agency (part of the Department for Education (DfE)). In the case of academies, funding is provided directly by the Education Funding Agency. This funding may be adjusted annually to allow for changes in capacity in the relevant NHS trust or FT which is served by the education provider. The DfE will define the evidence on which such adjustment may be considered.
Separate funding arrangements apply to independent providers of hospital education (other than academies or non-maintained special schools). Where education for an individual child or young person, offered by an independent hospital provider, is commissioned by a local authority (normally the local authority of the area in which the child or young person is resident), then the local authority funds the provision directly. The NHS trust or FT contracting with the independent hospital education provider should advise the provider not to assume that the costs of education provision will be met by the relevant local authority unless prior contact with the authority has confirmed that the authority has agreed to commission the education, and has agreed the costs to be funded.