School and University
Treatment can sometimes prevent you from sitting exams or cause you to miss periods of time at school.
The school can help you with this by providing work and speaking to the exam boards about your diagnosis. Some universities will also consider the effect on your grades when making you an offer, but your school will need to contact the universities that you are applying to and explain any circumstances that lead to a change in your grades.
Returning to education
Returning to school/college can be both an exciting and anxious time for you. Hopefully, before you return to school/college there will be an opportunity for you, your parents and a member of the hospital team to have a meeting with your teachers. This meeting will give you the chance to talk about any worries you may have and it will also be an opportunity to tell the school/ college about your treatment and how it affected you. You might feel unable to attend full time to begin with. The school, college or university will probably be able to accommodate your needs if you speak to your teachers/ student support.
You may have already managed to attend school/college while you were on treatment or maybe you had some home teaching.
If you find that you become very tired as a result of your treatment and this affects your ability to study, you can apply for extenuating circumstances and get extra time and support for assignments or exams.
Visit the student support office at your college or university to enquire about this; you may be asked to provide evidence from your consultant to explain the symptoms that you are experiencing.
How can I get ready for going back to school/college?
You may feel worried that you have missed a lot of school/college and feel there are gaps in what you have managed to learn while you were on treatment. You may be wondering how you will fill the gaps and start working on all the same subjects at the same level as your friends and classmates.
- If you have had home teaching you will have covered a lot of the same work as your classmates but perhaps not all of the subjects
- When you work with a home tutor one-to-one you achieve much more in less time than it would take in a classroom, so you may be ahead in some subjects
- Continuing with extra tutoring at home or at school/college will help you get back on track
- Talking to your parents and teachers about things you are having trouble with will help them come up with a plan that will give you what you need in school/college
- School/colleges are used to helping pupils who have been ill and should be able to set up any extra help you need
There may be some visible signs of your cancer and treatment, while other effects of the cancer are not visible.
Thinking about the things on this list may help you with going back to school/college:
- Would you like a teacher or someone from the hospital to talk to your class/year about your illness, so people know why you look/feel different?
- Do you need to wear a hat or scarf to school/college?
- Are there any activities you cannot take part in?
- If walking is difficult for you, will the teachers allow more time between classes?
- If it’s hard to get around or you are in a wheelchair, will the teachers move the classes around so that you can get to them?
- Do you need to sit in a certain place in the classroom in order to make it easier to hear or see what’s happening?
- Could you go back to school/college part time if you get tired easily and find a full school/college day too much?
Accessing education after 19
At the moment, if you want to re-access education after the age of 19, or past 31st August of that year, you are no longer applicable for free education.
The only exception is if you receive means tested support. For more information on this please contact Connexions.
- Connexions 08080013219
- Wales Careers 0800 100 900
- Scotland Careers 0845 8502 502
Connexions are available to support 13-19 year olds regardless of need and up to 24 year olds with a learning difficulty or disability, to get back into work or education. Calls are free from a landline. If you call from a mobile you will be charged but the Connexions team are happy to call you back.
Any 16+ must inform Connexions or Careers (in Scotland and Wales) if they are not in education and if/when they return.
Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
Students must be in fulltime education to receive this allowance, which is not always possible if you are on treatment or recovering.
To qualify for this you will need to sign a contract with your school, so if your school are happy to amend your learner’s contract so that fulltime was 12 hours and 1 minute and you can manage this, then EMA would still be paid.
You must attend for more than 12hours to qualify and the contract must reflect this.
Please call the National Benefits Helpline on 0800 88 22 00 to set up a meeting and see what option is best for you.
If your school are not being helpful, please contact Teenage Cancer Trust’s Education & Advocacy team, who will be able to speak to your school for you.
Join TCTeeNation and have your say
By joining TCTeeNation you can help young people fight cancer. Whether you are a current or former patient we want to hear what you think about the issues affecting young people with cancer.More