Education when your child is in hospital

Education when your child is in hospital

Your child's continuing education is important when they are in hospital or sick at home for a long time.

Key messages

  • your child's continuing education is important when they are in hospital or sick at home for a long time

Early childhood education in hospital

Most hospital play specialist services provide early childhood education programmes for children who are patients. Their brothers and sisters can usually participate too. This makes it possible for your young child to continue with their normal early childhood education. There is no charge for these services in hospitals.

Education when your child is ill and can't go to school

If your child usually goes to school and is in hospital for more than 2 weeks, a teacher from one of the 3 regional health schools in New Zealand (in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch) can work with your child.

Check our suggestions for preparing your child for hospital.

Regional health school teachers work with students with high health needs both in hospital and in the community.

Teachers from the health schools can teach your child if they:

  • are sick – it might be a physical illness or related to mental health – and cannot go to their usual school for long periods of time, or
  • are in a health-funded mental health programme, or
  • need support as they return to their usual school after a long time away with illness

To have support from a regional health school, your child needs to:

  • be unable to go to school for 10 or more days in a row because of illness, an ongoing medical condition or accident – they might be in hospital or at home, or
  • have been in hospital 6 times or more in 1 year, or
  • have been, or likely to be, unable to go to school for more than 40 days in 1 year because of illness, or
  • be recovering or rehabilitating at home after being unwell, or
  • have support to return to school after being unwell

If these criteria don't apply to your child, then their teaching remains the responsibility of your child's regular school. You could talk to your child's usual teacher about arranging some work once your child is able to manage this.

If your child is not in hospital, you’ll need a medical certificate that says what your child's condition is, how it's being treated, and how it's stopping your child from going to school.

This page last reviewed 06 December 2017.
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