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The Education Support for Medical Absence (ESMA) team is a teaching service for students who are unable to attend school for medical reasons.

We help pupils continue their education around their needs and work towards getting them back into school life as soon as possible.

Who do we support?

We support:

  • pupils of statutory school age (5 - 16 years old) who have medical evidence that they are unable to attend school
  • pupils who are Hertfordshire residents with medical evidence for non-attendance 
  • a pupil who is pregnant from 29 weeks, or young mothers whose physical or mental health issues are affecting attendance.

What can I expect from the service?

We work with schools and students to offer additional support alongside the education provided by schools in the core subjects (English, Maths and Science).  We aim to support your child in going back into school, as soon as they are well enough to do so.

ESMA Teaching Service uses a variety of tools to support students including:

  • online face-to-face teaching by the ESMA Teacher (the number of hours will depend on your child's health needs)
  • online face-to-face 1:1 tuition by the ESMA Teacher (the number of hours will depend on your child's health needs)
  • education support by the ESMA Teaching Assistant

How to refer

Referrals are made by the schools via the Hertfordshire Service Request form, along with the ISL baseline information form, to the relevant ISL area email address on the form.    The referral should include:

  • Signed parental consent
  • Copy of school reduced timetable, in line with HCC guidance on reduced timetables
  • Copy of the Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle
  • Copy of the current treatment plan and the named medical contact
  • For pupils receiving additional funding (through either EHCP or Local High Needs Funding and/or Pupil Premium Grant) the school should state in the re-integration plan how this funding is being used

What happens after the referral is submitted?

We discuss referrals on a weekly basis, and inform the school of our decision within 5 days. 

Once support has been identified, the ESMA Teaching Service will attend a planning meeting with pupil, family, school and health professionals. 

Your child will have a Holistic Support Plan - a plan of support agreed with family, school, health and ESMA.  As part of the plan, your child's progress will be discussed and targets and next steps will be identified.  Regular reviews of the Holistic Support Plan are held during the period of support with pupil, family, school and health professionals.  

Independent organisations who can help

We work with many support agencies in Hertfordshire, including School Health, Families First, specialist nurses and the Services for Young People's  'Support You' Programme.

If you would like to seek some support yourself, there are some organisations you can try.

Provide impartial and confidential information, advice and support to parents and carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Free and independent legally based information, advice and support to help get the right education for children and young people with all kinds of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

A website which offers support for both young people and parents on issues of mental health in Hertfordshire.

A 10 week programme for young people aged 13 - 17 who are beginning to show very early signs of distress due to anxiety or low mood who are not receiving support elsewhere.

Page was last updated on: 18/10/2021 13:48:37

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