When children and young people are unable to attend school due to medical reasons, there is support available to enable the student to continue to receive education, either within school or in the home or hospital environment, as appropriate.

Section 19 duties

Section 19 of the Education Act 1996 (‘Section 19’) requires local authorities (L.A) to make arrangements to provide "suitable education at school, or otherwise than at school, for those children of compulsory school age who, by reason of illness, exclusion from school or otherwise, may not for any period receive suitable education unless such arrangements are made for them". ‘Suitable education’ is defined as "efficient education suitable to the age, ability, aptitude and to any special educational needs", the child (or young person) may have.

The Department for Education alternative provision statutory guidance (2013) states: ‘Local authorities are responsible for arranging suitable education for permanently excluded pupils, and for other pupils who – because of illness or other reasons – would not receive suitable education without such arrangements being made.’

This applies to all children of compulsory school age resident in the local authority area, whether or not they are on the roll of a school, and whatever type of school they attend. Full-time education for suspended or permanently excluded pupils must begin no later than the sixth day of the exclusion.

Suitable alternative provision is that which appropriately meets the needs of pupils which require its use and enables them to achieve good educational attainment on a par with their mainstream peers.

Bromley have a number of services available to children who are unable to access their education.

Alternative provision

Our commissioned partners providing our alternative provision are Bromley Trust Academy (BTA). They run several sites for different cohorts of pupils.

BTA Hayes

The Secondary pupils referral unit for pupils aged 11 to 16.

BTA Midfield

The Primary pupil referral unit for pupils aged 4 to 11.

BTA Blenheim

A small secondary provision for pupils with mental health conditions.

Sometimes the L.A will approach other alternative provisions if appropriate for the young person. In this instance, details are given to individual families.

Personalised Education Service

When a student’s medical condition (mental and/or physical health) prevents them from attending school, our nurturing and supportive service provides short-term bespoke education, led by qualified teachers. Tuition takes place in a tuition centre, virtually or in some circumstances, in the home. We work with the child, family, and other agencies to support the student’s reintegration back into the mainstream school or alternative setting.

The service supports Bromley residents from year R to year 11 to access suitable education where a medical or other need prevents them from accessing school.  To make sure we offer the right support, it is important for families to seek a medical letter identifying the presenting need. The most effective support from the personalised education service is when it is delivered as part of a medical care plan, which clarifies why a child is unable to attend school.  Support can then be tailored around a future transition process with the aim of ultimately returning to full time mainstream education. As part of the referral process the LA will ask for medical evidence to show why the pupil is unable to attend school. This is to ensure that the education the L.A puts in place is appropriate and gives full consideration to the pupils individual health needs.

The DFE guidance states:

LAs should work closely with medical professionals and the child’s family and consider the medical evidence. LAs should make every effort to minimise the disruption to a child’s education. For example, where specific medical evidence, such as that provided by a medical consultant, is not quickly available, LAs should consider liaising with other medical professionals, such as the child’s GP, and consider looking at other evidence to ensure minimal delay in arranging appropriate provision for the child.

Personalised pathways

Personalised Pathways is a small service which provides an educational package to pupils who have profound and multiple learning difficulties or are on palliative care.

Online education

The L.A has access to immediate online tuition for pupils where appropriate. This requires access to a computer and an internet connection.

Referral route

Referral for alternative provision is through the L.As Gateway Panel.

The panel is a multi-agency meeting that sits every two weeks to consider referrals for alternative provision and in-school support. The following services are represented on the panel:

  • L.A Alternative Provision and Inclusion (Education)
  • L.A SEN (Education)
  • L.A Social Care (Virtual School and Safeguarding)
  • Health (CAMHS)
  • Commissioned Education Partners (Bromley Trust Academy)

Referrals are made via the pupil’s school or through another professional working with the pupil. Parental consent must be gained. The front page of the Education - Gateway Panel referral form provides more information.

More information on the LA’s Section 19 guidance. (need to add link once published)

Early years SEN advisory team

Telephone: 020 8315 4718

SEN and Disabilities Advisory Team (SENDAT)

Special educational needs and disabilities advisory team.

Address: The Phoenix Children's Resource Centre, 40 Masons Hill, Bromley, BR2 9JG