For schools and school communities

Missing school

Your child might have to miss some school time during their treatment, and possibly at other times when they are unwell. Apart from missing out on their studies, they are likely to miss their school friends, playtimes and other social aspects of being at school. If it can be arranged, visits from friends, classmates or teachers can be very beneficial for your child.

There are lots of other ways for your child to stay connected with school – talk to the school about what they can do. You can also visit the MissingSchool or Ronald McDonald House Charities websites for tips, or get in touch with the Ronald McDonald Learning Program for some extra help.

If your child misses a lot of school, this may affect their longer-term educational prospects. However, your child will gain valuable experiences from their time away from school, which can be a special bonding time with parents and an opportunity for learning from the other adults who are caring for them. This may also be true for your other children if your family has to relocate for specialist treatment.

Helpful suggestions

  • Talk to the school about ways the staff and students can stay in touch with your child while they're away, and how your child's schoolwork can be accessed when they're well enough.
  • When your child is ready to go back to school, encourage teachers and classmates to treat your child just like they did before, but also discuss any special needs your child might have, such as issues relating to tiredness and risk of infection.
  • Make sure the other students are prepared for how your child might look when they go back to school, how they might feel and what they can do to help your child fit back in to normal school life.
  • Make sure you talk to your child about how they feel about missing school or going back to school, and give them support and encouragement.

For teachers and educators

The effects of a child's cancer can be felt not only within the immediate and extended family, but also by school friends and teachers.

For more information on how the school can support a child and their family, go to:

Cancer in the School Community - A guide for staff members

This resource provides ways for school staff to support a student through all stages of their cancer journey and help classmates understand what is happening. It includes tips on how to help a student return to school after treatment.
www.cancer.org.au - The Cancer Council NSW, 2011

For friends

See previous section - For friends 

published: Sunday, 23 August, 2015