Checklist For Returning To School Or Early Learning After Cancer Treatment

Checklist For Returning To School Or Early Learning After Cancer Treatment

There are some things to consider before a student with cancer returns to their school or early learning centre. Find out how parents, caregivers and school staff can make the child or young person's transition as safe and easy as possible for them. 


Why is it a good idea to hold a meeting before a child with cancer returns? 

Before the child or young person returns to school or early learning, it is a good idea to hold a meeting between school staff, parents or caregivers and the child's Regional Health School teacher, if they have one.

Information should be provided by the child or young person's parents or caregivers about:

  • their illness and treatment, including any side effects
  • behaviour changes
  • out-of-classroom activities such as medical appointments and/or further treatments

Before the meeting, it is a good idea for school management to talk with teachers who will be working directly with the child or young person. They may have specific concerns which need to be addressed. Consideration should be given to their understanding on the subject and possible emotional reactions to it. 

What should we talk about in the meeting? 

Suggested topics for the meeting include: 

  • how information will be communicated to school staff who are not at the meeting
  • the child or young person’s specific academic or social needs at the present time 
  • strategies for what school staff can do if the child or young person starts having difficulties in any area
  • the long-term needs of the child, the development of a plan and a review process

Find out more about how to support your student returning to school after cancer treatment

Checklist for returning to school or early learning after cancer treatment

Use this checklist as a guide when a student is about to return to their education setting. 


The child or young person's health professional team and parents or caregivers may have handouts with information about the child or young person's illness and treatment.

These should include basic information on:

  • diagnosis
  • treatments
  • possible physical and emotional side effects 

Medical aids

School staff need to know if a child or young person has been fitted with a central line or any other medical device. 

A central line or portacath is a long plastic tube that is inserted, under anesthetic, into a large vein near the heart. Central lines are used to take blood samples and give blood and medicines.

Emergency phone numbers

This should include whānau and medical emergency numbers, including the child's GP. 

Medical issues

  • medicines to be given at school (these must be in original prescription bottles labelled with directions on how they should be given)
  • information for physical education teachers
  • care of central lines
  • safety measures regarding the danger of the sick child or young person being exposed to infectious diseases such as chicken pox and measles

Practical information

Many schools do not allow students to wear hats in the school building. If a child or young person returns to school and wants to wear a hat because of hair loss, all school stuff must be aware this is acceptable. There may be other changes that need to be made to the school’s dress code due to the child or young person’s circumstances.


It is a good idea for school staff to have access to information about any education the child or young person may have received through their Regional Health School.

Read the Child Cancer Foundation's Checklist for parents/caregivers, whānau and teachers (PDF, 33KB).

Child cancer return to school booklet

Read the Child Cancer Foundation Return To School booklet for parents, whānau and teachers (PDF, 2.42MB).

See more information for educators

See more information for whānau


The information on this page is based on pages 18 and 19 of the Child Cancer Foundation Return To School booklet for parents/caregivers, whānau and teachers. Read the Return To School booklet (PDF, 2.42MB).

This page last reviewed 01 July 2022.

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