3.5.8 Shepwell Centre Admission Criteria


  1. Introduction
  2. Referral Criteria and Guidance for Admission

1. Introduction

Section 19 of the Education Act 1996 provides that – each local education authority shall make arrangements for the provision of suitable education at school or otherwise than at school for those children of compulsory school age who, by reason of illness, exclusion from school or otherwise, may not for any period receive suitable education unless such arrangements are made for them.

Provision for children and young people with medical needs is the responsibility of all schools and services. Education Walsall provides support and specialist provision for pupils resident in Walsall, who are pregnant, have mental health/ emotional problems resulting in an interruption to school attendance. This is provided through the Shepwell Centre which includes Home and Hospital education.

The Centre is an integrated hospital/home teaching service and pupil referral unit. This ensures a continuum of educational provision.

Education takes place:

  • On the wards and in the education rooms at the Manor Hospital
  • In pupil’s homes within Walsall’s boundaries
  • At the education unit

This policy is a statement of the principles and procedures for the admission of pupils to the Shepwell Centre taking into account Access to Education for Children and Young People with Medical Needs – DFES 0732/2001 and will be reviewed:

  • At regular intervals by the Head of Centre in collaboration with Education Walsall and the Management Committee. Additional consultation may occur with colleagues from schools and main referring agencies.
  • Annually with staff.

2. Referral Criteria and Guidance for Admission

2.1 Pregnant Schoolgirls

  • Pregnant Schoolgirls are eligible for admission into the Unit at 24 weeks.
  • The Off-site Manager will work closely with the Attendance Support Worker to support young mothers to return to their home school.
  • Referrals for pregnant schoolgirls are accepted from Education Welfare Officers, Attendance Support Worker and/or medical professionals involved with the pupils.

2.2 Pupils with Medical Needs

The focus of admission, would be identification of the range of medical need. The key to effective intervention is early identification at years 7 and 8. Wherever possible it is the intention to re-integrate the pupil back into mainstream. Pupils in Key Stage 4 who experience medical/mental health issues are also considered for admission. It will be expected that schools will have worked in partnership with service teams and other agencies prior to this referral.

2.3 Dual Registration

Pupils with be dual registered, remaining on the roll of their home school whilst attending the Unit.

2.4 Principles

All Schools and agencies making referrals to the Unit should agree to the following principles: 

  • It is the intention that all pupils will return to mainstream education, although this may not be to their own school.
  • The referring school remains responsible for the attendance records, assessments, etc of the pupil.
  • Prior to admission all the information necessary to ensure continuing education for the pupil should be submitted – including:
  • Reports
  • Baseline Data
  • Curriculum Information
  • For Key Stage 4 Pupils – GCSE coursework and the commitment from the school to mark the coursework.
  • There will be regular liaison with Unit staff and regular contact with the pupil until there is satisfactory re-integration back into mainstream education.
  • It is the intention that all pupils will take Key Stage 3 SAT’s in their named schools; however, for those pupils where this is not possible, schools will agree to enter pupils for SAT’s and make papers available for them to sit the exams at the Centre.
  • The school will in consultation with the PRU and Connexions, be responsible for paying for identified appropriate alternative curriculum courses for pupils (WALCAT, etc.)

Pupils who would be considered for admission might be those pupils who exhibit:

  • A pattern of falling attendance due to school focused anxiety.
  • Attendance that has broken down completely through chronic school phobia.
  • Extenuating difficulties returning to school after attempts by the school and other agencies to re-Integrate
  • The need for the support of a halfway house prior to reintegration into mainstream school after very long periods of illness and time out of school i.e. cancer
  • Mental health problems, which prevent pupils from accessing mainstream education, i.e. those pupils discharged from mental health/ psychiatric units.
  • School refusal due to being out of school for a long period of absence due to their illness/medical/psychiatric conditions – particularly Year 11
  • Medical/mental health problems and are unable to access school but would benefit from being in a small unit to gain access to a broader curriculum and social skills and support for reintegration into mainstream school (Ablewell House).
  • Acute anxiety due to specific medical conditions i.e. alopecia
  • School induced anxiety/emotional distress as victims of perceived or confirmed bullying or harassment.

Referrals will be made in writing to the Off-site Manager:

  • Referrals should have already been fully discussed in the school and with the Education Welfare Officer and Education Psychologist. Other possible referrals could come from Ablewell House – Psychiatry; Greybury House – Clinical Psychology; Area Health – School Doctors; School Nurses; G.P.’s Head of Home Tuition Service.
  • A consultation meeting engaging all relevant agencies may be the appropriate route for most cases.
  • Referral information should include:
  • Nature of the difficulties
  • Substantial evidence of what attempts the school/EWO/EP have made to encourage the child to attend – possibly action plans at school. Action/School Action Plus;
  • Parental involvement at the earlier stages;
  • Current attendance patterns;
  • Attainment data
  • Behaviour/patterns of behaviour
  • If a decision is made to offer a place, the Off-site Manager will arrange a visit to the Centre for the pupil and family prior to admission. Other professionals may be involved in this initial meeting.
  • An appropriate start date will be decided as soon as possible, which will be convenient for all concerned.
  • All pupils will be admitted for a four-week period. During this time a more detailed assessment and the appropriateness of the Centre’s involvement will be undertaken. This may mean the placement will be modified during or at the end of this time at a formal review. It may be decided to extend the initial period further if deemed necessary.
  • At the end of the initial period the pupil and family and the Centre will agree a contract and identify an inclusion plan for re-integration into mainstream. The inclusion plan will be reviewed half termly.

Hospital Education

  • The hospital teacher is informed of new admissions by accessing the ward admission book daily, the accident and emergency admissions or by the medical staff who recommend teaching on the ward or in the education room, dependent upon the pupil’s medical needs. Teaching starts from day one but priority is given to pupils who are long stay (three or more days) and those that have recurrent conditions.
  • In order to provide continuity of provision the hospital teacher will notify the Off-site Manager about pupils who will require home education upon discharge from hospital.

Home Education

  • This includes pupils who have been discharged from hospital and/or those pupils with medical conditions who are unable to attend school for a minimum of four weeks.
  • Once all the necessary paperwork has been received the appropriateness of a placement will be discussed by panel consisting of the Complementary Manager, the Off-site Manager and the On-site Manager.
  • All referrals will be confirmed by the Centre through contact with the appropriate medical personnel.
  • For those pupils who are referred by non-medical personnel, a medical note will be required indicating the length of support required. The Off Site Manager, with the Home Tutor will review the length of support and request up dating wherever necessary.
  • The Off-site Manager will carry out an initial home visit.
  • Pupils will be supported up to a maximum of 10 hours a week.
  • All pupils are offered a supported re-integration package.
  • Pupils away from school due to long term illnesses who find returning to their mainstream school difficult, will have some teaching time at the Centre to support their re-integration into mainstream education.