Fact sheetPaediatric rehabilitation: minimum standards and toolkit

Published on 16 Dec 2022

School and paediatric rehabilitation

This fact sheet outlines what school looks like when your child is staying in hospital for rehabilitation. It also outlines what to expect when returning to their regular school.

School when your child is in hospital for rehabilitation

If your child is staying in hospital for rehabilitation, they can often to go to school at the hospital school. Hospital school is a NSW Department of Education school, which is in the hospital. It includes both primary and high school.

Hospital school can be run from a classroom within the hospital, or by the bedside for children who are unable to attend the classroom. The teachers are just like those at your child’s own school, but they are also part of your rehabilitation team. They help your child keep up with what is going on back at their regular school and provide learning matched to their current level of function. They know about your child’s rehabilitation goals and needs, including any supports they may need.

Attendance at hospital school may be part of your child’s rehabilitation program. When and how long your child goes to hospital school is decided with the rehabilitation team, including the teachers, to make sure your child gets the most out of their rehabilitation program.

Going back to school after being in hospital

You and your child may have mixed emotions about going back to school after a long stay in hospital. There are supports in place to help with this process. The minimum standards for coordinated delivery of paediatric rehabilitation in NSW Health outline the need for local school teachers to be involved in the return to school for each child. The rehabilitation team and hospital school work together to decide what supports are needed when returning to your regular school. This may be extra support in class or equipment to access school. In rare instances, some children may not be able to return to their regular school. They may need to attend a more supportive schooling environment.

When going back to your regular school, the rehabilitation team can help. They can tell the school about your child’s needs and what is needed to support your child returning to school. Often members of the rehabilitation team will meet with the teachers and principal and discuss what is needed. This might include talking about your child’s current function and any changes or support the school may need to provide. NSW Department of Education also has personalised learning and support to help with this process.

Often return to school is a gradual process, as your child adjusts to going back to their home and community. To start with, they may attend for less hours or less days per week than before their injury or illness. Time spent at school will slowly increase. Your rehabilitation team can provide advice about what is best for your child and their current needs. This will be different for every child.

Where can I find more information about my hospital school?

Newcastle: hnekidshealth.nsw.gov.au

Randwick: sydchnhos-s.schools.nsw.gov.au

Westmead: childhosp-s.schools.nsw.gov.au

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