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Support for pupils with health needs

The Education Wellbeing Team works closely with schools to support children and young people who might be medically absent to remain learning in their school or to help them to access learning and support reintegration back into school.

The small team of four, see below, come from different disciplines including occupational therapy, social work and teaching and, therefore have considerable experience of understanding the needs of children and young people who are medically absent from school and equally important, have excellent working relationships with partner agencies such as school nurses, CAMHS and paediatricians and other health care professionals.

Schools are able to refer children and young people where they are concerned about their attendance due to health needs by calling the number below.

The Team also offers a whole school approach for secondary settings and they are able to book appointments direct.

Parents can call the team on the number below but can also seek support and advice about special educational needs from DIAS.

The Education Wellbeing Team is term-time only but at other times you can contact Marc Kastner on 01392 380910 who is the named officer responsible for the education of children with additional health needs.

Name Days Phone number Email
Lara Freeman-Gebler – Education Wellbeing Advisor Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 01392 383189
Marc Kastner – LA Named Officer for Children with Medical Needs Monday to Thursday 01392 383189
Claire Johnson – Education Wellbeing Advisor Monday to Thursday 01392 383189
Deborah Edmond – Senior Education Keyworker Monday to Friday 01392 383189

Devon County Council’s roles and responsibilities

Every child should have the best possible start in life through a high-quality education, which allows them to achieve their full potential.

A child who has health needs should have the same opportunities as their peer group, including a broad and balanced curriculum. As far as possible, children with health needs and who are unable to attend school should receive the same range and quality of education as they would have experienced at their home school

The law does not define full-time education but children with health needs should have provision which is equivalent to the education they would receive in school. If they receive one-to-one tuition, for example, the hours of face-to-face provision could be fewer as the provision is more concentrated.

Where full-time education would not be in the best interests of a particular child because of reasons relating to their physical or mental health, we will provide part-time education on a basis we consider to be in the child’s best interests. Full and part-time education should still aim to achieve good academic attainment, particularly in English, maths and science.

Where we have identified that alternative provision is required, we will ensure that it is arranged as quickly as possible and that it appropriately meets the needs of the child.

In order to better understand the needs of the child, and therefore choose the most appropriate provision, we will work closely with medical professionals and the child’s family, and consider the medical evidence.

We will make every effort to minimise the disruption to the child’s education. For example, where specific medical evidence, such as that provided by a medical consultant, is not quickly available, we will 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.

Once parents have provided evidence from a consultant, we will not unnecessarily demand continuing evidence from the consultant without good reason, even if a child has long-term health problems. Evidence of the continuing additional health issues from the child’s GP should usually be sufficient.

In cases where we believe that a consultant’s ongoing opinion is absolutely necessary, we will give parents sufficient time to contact the consultant to obtain the evidence.

For more information read Devon’s policy on education for children with additional health needs, unable to attend school.

Schools applying for a medical place

To apply for a place the following documents must be complete and submitted by a Friday for consideration at the panel the following Wednesday.


Useful websites

  • Qwell – free, safe and anonymous mental wellbeing support for adults across the UK
  • Happymaps (support for your child’s mental health) – a charity offering a range of advice on the best mental health resources for parents, carers and young people
  • Health for teens – advice for teens, parents,carers and professionals.
  • Healthy and active – range of advice on staying healthy and active.
  • Parental minds – exploring pathways to mental health support.
  • Pinpoint Devon – directory of support networks.
  • Live Well – advice, tips and tools to help you make the best choices about your health and wellbeing.
  • NHS News – top NHS doctor issues advice for children going back to school.
  • MindEd – for young people – support for young people’s mental health.
  • MindEd – for professionals and volunteers.
  • Young Devon – nationally recognised offering straightforward support for problems that young people might be facing.
  • CAMHS – NHS mental health services remain available for children and young people
  • Place2be – Improving children’s mental health in schools.
  • Devon Partnership trust – adult mental health