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Who are we?

Out of School Tuition (OOST) is the service for schools to refer to when they need help to manage the learning of a child who is unable to attend school for medical reasons.

Where a child’s medical needs lead to regular or recurrent short absences, the Local Authority (LA) anticipates that the school will respond to the child’s need without their involvement.

In complex situations, or where absences are longer or more frequent, a referral to OOST may be appropriate.

What do we do?

OOST provides a short period of education with the aim of integrating the child back into the school setting as soon as their health allows.  The child remains the responsibility of the school and the school will provide work to be delivered by the OOST tutor.

If a referral is accepted by OOST then the child will be offered up to 5 hours of 1 to 1 tuition per week from a teacher.  The teacher will liaise closely with school to monitor progress and to support work set for the child.

OOST tuition may take place in the home where an adult must be present or may be arranged in school or at a library.  For some children tuition is online or virtual and there must be an adult present.  The teacher will arrange an Education Planning meeting to involve you, your child, and the relevant staff in school.  The purpose of this meeting is to agree the targets for the teaching and to record yours and your child’s views.  These meetings are arranged every 12 weeks.

What is expected of a school?

The school should refer to the Out of School Tuition team of the local authority as soon as it is known the child will be away from school for 15 days or more. 

However, the guidance 'Ensuring a good education for children who cannot attend school because of health needs' states, "there will be a wide range of circumstances where a child has a health need but will receive suitable education that meets their needs without the intervention of the LA, for example, where the child can still attend school with some support; where the school has made arrangements to deliver suitable education outside of school for the child; or where arrangements have been made for the child to be educated in a hospital by an on-site hospital school."

There is an expectation that the school will provide appropriate curriculum resources and lesson plans for the tutor to use as the basis of their 1 to 1 tuition and will work with OOST to provide appropriate access to online learning and individual study so that the total offer of education is as close to full time as the medical needs of the child will allow.

What is the legal position?

A child unable to attend school because of health needs must not be removed from the school register without parental consent and certification from the school medical officer. 

Local authorities must:

  • Arrange suitable, full time education (or as much as the child's health condition allows) for children of compulsory school age who, because of illness, would otherwise not receive suitable education.
  • "Suitable" means suitable to the child's age, aptitude, ability, and any special education needs that he or she may have. 
  • Full-time - unless the pupil's condition means that full-time provision would not be in his or her interests.
  • "Full Time Education" is not defined in law, but it should equate to what the pupil would normally have in school.

For more information