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From time to time, MissingSchool participates in forums and consultations, and makes formal representations on the matter of keeping critically and chronically ill kids connected to their schools. We publish our contribution to these in this space, in the interest of sharing the progress being made, and how MissingSchool contributes to that.

Commonwealth Senate Inquiry

MissingSchool submits to Senate Inquiry into current levels of access and attainment for students with disability in the school system, and the impact on students and families associated with inadequate support – October 2016.

Expert Panel On Complex Needs In ACT Schools

MissingSchool submits to Expert Panel appointed to review policy and practice for supporting and teaching students with complex needs and challenging behaviour in ACT schools – July 2015.

NSW Select Committee Inquiry into Home Schooling

MissingSchool submits to the NSW Select Committee Inquiry into Home Schooling – August 2014.

 ACT Council of Parents & Citizens Associations

MissingSchool congratulates the ACT Council of Parents & Citizens Associations on receiving the ACT Chief Minister’s award for excellence for work on raising disability

Earlier in 2013, the ACT P&C Council developed a draft policy on “Students absent from school for lengthy periods” and sought input from MissingSchool. We were delighted that our work had attracted the attention and support of the Council, and noted that our engagement with parties in the ACT was a first step towards engaging all states and territories. We thus welcomed the Council’s proposal to take the draft to the national level.

MissingSchool offered the following specific comments on the Council’s draft policy :

  • while the P&C policy refers to “lengthy” absence from school and specifically mentions immunosuppressive treatment such as chemotherapy, there are numerous different health issues and patterns of absenteeism which might be addressed by any policy or intervention.
  • the draft policy does not recognise the existing legislative basis, and current access and equity provisions. We note that although appropriate legislation is in place in some states, this has not necessarily been implemented, and so systemic practical change must be sought.
  • because of the wide variety of circumstances, it is difficult to define or recommend the specific measures which are necessary or required by any individual student or school. Flexibility and individual responsiveness are key.
  • we are aware of “pilot programs” already underway in the ACT (with involvement of the ETD) and elsewhere. While we support such trials, we are of the firm view that it will be necessary to build an evidence base for best practice before formalising pathways for intervention.
  • we reassert here that the views and experiences of sick kids and their families and carers are paramount in finding a way forward. Sustainable change comes about when the people whose lives are affected by the decisions made by government departments participate in the decision-making process.
  • MissingSchool’s role is to assist kids, families and schools towards that participation. We do not expect to be a point of referral for the Education and Training Directorate, and would prefer not to be listed in this context in the P&C Council policy.

MissingSchool looks forward to continuing our association with the Council at the local and national level.

Meeting Complex Healthcare Needs in ACT Schools

In November 2011, MissingSchool participated in a community consultation jointly facilitated by ACT Directorate of Education and Training and ACT Health. The consultation was to inform development of a joint response for providing all students in need in the ACT with access to appropriate health care support in their schools by working in partnership with their schools, families and health professionals. The initiative recognises that the current system lacks equity and sustainability and that there is a need for cross-government funding to staff and resource students’ healthcare needs in schools.

The alliance between ACT Education and Training and ACT Health proposes to support a comprehensive, integrated model that links parents, schools, students, and their health professionals for consistent and clearly defined responses to complex heathcare needs in the school setting.

MissingSchool’s formal submission to the consultation can be found here.

At May 2013, the ACT Government is piloting the Healthcare Access at School (HAAS) program. For further information, contact ACT Health on 13 22 81, or email health care in schools.