Non-attendance because of medical needs

If you have missed 15 or more days of school or college due to a long term medical condition. Your school or college should still be supporting you with your education.                  

Your school or college do not need a formal diagnosis, if your medical condition is unclear, they should seek further medical advice about what support may be needed.                  

Additional support could be through things such as:                  

In your shoes - young person conference

In September 2018, the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust and Leeds City Council held a conference for young people who have a long term conditions called 'In Your Shoes.                  

They wanted to be able to understand the needs of young people and be able to support them better with their attendance.

The 7 outcomes young people felt would make a difference in school were:

  • A link member of staff that understands their condition and needs.
  • An Individual Health Care Plan (IHCP) to support their needs.
  • That the Individual Health Care plan (IHCP) is shared with all relevant staff.
  • All staff to have an awareness and understanding of different medical conditions.
  • Regular two way communication when they are not in school.
  • A more more understanding and supportive approach, e.g. not sending automated texts and letters to parents.
  • To be recognised for their attendance and not to be excluded from attendance rewards.

The education experience of the young people and the changes they feel would make a difference are captured in this video.

What you can do

  • You could ask for a meeting with your school or college to talk about your concerns and ask for more support. You might find our support toolkit helpful.
  • If you do not have an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) you could think about whether an EHC needs assessment would be helpful. You can find out more about this on the your EHCP page.
  • If you do have an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) then it might be helpful to ask for a review of this to see if your needs have changed or if more support can be offered to you. You can find out more about this on the your EHCP page.

Your physical health

It is important to know how to be healthy and how to look after yourself properly.                  


It is important for your body to take regular exercise. Physical activity and sport is good for because:                  

  • Being active can help you to lose weight
  • It lowers the chance of you getting health problems like diabetes and heart disease and helps you live longer
  • It can improve your confidence and help you make new friends
  • You can learn new skills
  • It can help you improve your sleep and memory
  • It can make you healthier and feel good

You do not have to take part in competitions against other people. You could just play a sport for fun at your local sports club or community centre.Physical activity and sport is for everyone and anyone can take part.                 

You should speak to your doctor (GP) before starting any new exercise so they can give you some advice, you can also speak to your doctor(GP)if you are worried about your health.&                  

You can find out more about exercising on the NHS live well website.                  

Healthy eating

Healthy eating is about making choices about the foods you eat. Even though foods like sweets and chocolate and fried food taste good, eating lots of these is not good for your health.                       

Eating lots of unhealthy food can make you put on too much weight, which is not good for your body. You can become ill and feel unhappy about your body.                       

Healthy eating means choosing foods that are healthy most of the time. It does not mean you can never eat unhealthy foods - you can eat them, but not every day. Choose healthy foods you like, eat lots of fruits and vegetables and drink lots of water.                  

You can find out more about healthy eating from the NHS live well website.                  

Annual health check ups

Did you know that you can have an annual health check at your doctors if you are aged 14 or over?                       

This check up gives you the chance to get used to visiting the doctors, or ask any questions you have about your health. The doctor will offer you a physical check and will talk to you about your emotions, well-being, lifestyle and diet. They will also talk to you about any medications that you take and check that any health conditions you have are well managed.                       

You do not have to feel ill or unwell to have an annual health check.                       

You can find out more about annual health checks on the NHS website.                       

Mencap have also made a helpful video about what happens during an annual check up.                     

You can also find out more about having good health on the preparing for adulthood website.                       

Healthy teeth

It is important to look after your mouth and teeth as well as your general health. This is often called your 'oral or dental health                       

Brushing your teeth twice a day (last thing at night before you go to bed and on one other occasion) with fluoride toothpaste and having regular check-ups with a dentist can help to keep your teeth healthy.                       

You can find out more about keeping your teeth health on the NHS live well website.

Mencap have also made a helpful video about what happens at the dentist                     

Did you know that if you can not go to the dentist because of a disability or medical condition, you could ask to be referred to the specialist dental service? This service is usually provided in the community and can include hospitals, specialist health centres, mobile clinics and home visits. You can find out more information about this on the NHS website.                     

Your emotional health and mental well being

As well as your physical health, it is important to look after your emotional or mental health.                       

You can ask for support from your current school or college. They are able to access different resources and services to help them offer you the support that you need.                       

If you need more support than your school or setting can provide, there are some other more specialist services available in Leeds such as:

Cluster support (Mindmate wellbeing)

MindMate Wellbeing is mental health support based in schools/clusters, that can help by providing face-to-face or virtual support for young people as well as access to other useful services within the cluster.                     

A cluster is the local support network that your school or college is a part of.                       

You can access this support by speaking to someone in your school or college or by referring your self to Mindmate SPA.                     

You can find out more about this, including watching a video by visiting the Mindmate wellbeing web page.                     

Mindmate SPA

MindMate SPA (single point of access)are there to help young people in Leeds find help and support with their mental health and wellbeing.                     

It is for all children and young people who have a Leeds GP and are under the age of 18. They work with a variety of services in order to find the right support.                       

Referrals can be made by a health professional (e.g GP), parent/ carer or young person over the age of 13yrs.                     

You can find out more about this service by visiting the Mindmate website.                     


CAMHS stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. It's a specialist service for children and young people under 18 and their families and it is part of the NHS.                     

They have specially trained staff that can help when problems with mental health are stopping you getting on with daily life.                       

Referrals are made by Mindmate SPA, as part of their decision about which service they think would be able to help you the best.                     

You can find out more about this service by visiting the CAMHS website.                       

The Marketplace (Leeds)

The Marketplace are a free and confidential service for 11-25 year olds in Leeds. They offer a range of services including one to one support, counselling, group-work and drop-ins.                       

You can refer yourself to this service.                       

You can find out more about this service, or make a self-referal by visiting The Marketplace website.                     

Young Minds

Young Minds is a national mental health charity that provides up to date information about mental health for young people.                       

They can help you to explore and understand different emotional states and mental health conditions, as well as learn more about possible supports and treatments.                       

You can find out more by visiting the Young Minds website.                       

Rethink Mental Illness

Rethink mental illness work to improve the lives of people severely affected by mental illness. They offer support groups and services and expert information to help those suffering from mental illness to have a good quality of life.                       

You can find out more about this service by visiting the Rethink Mental Illness website.                         

NHS Services and IAPT

The NHS can provide you with information and support on a range of mental health conditions.                       

They also offer a service known as IAPT, which stands for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies. These run in local communities and cities and can offer a range of service such as talking therapies, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), counselling, and guided self-help.                     

Your doctor (GP) can refer you to IAPT, or you could self-refer.                         

You can find out more by visiting the NHS mental health support pages.                       

Moving into adult health services

Young people usually move (transition) from child health teams to adult health teams at age 18, but some transitions can start from age 16.                       

Any health services that you are working with should talk to you about this and help you to plan for the move.                       

If you have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP), it might be helpful to ask any health professionals that work with you to come to your next EHCP annual review.                       

CAMHS have a transition team to support young people that they are working with. You can find more information on their website.                       

More information, advice and support (IAS)

Leeds SENDIASS are not responsible for the content of sites or services offered by third parties.

You can also find more resources on our useful SEND links and tools page.