HC Deb 25 June 2002 vol 387 cc829-30W
Mr. Paul Marsden

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what educational assistance is given to pupils with myalgic encephalomyelitis who miss schooling through illness. [63144]

Mr. Stephen Twigg

In November last year, the Department for Education and Skills jointly with the Department of Health published statutory guidance "Access to education for children and young people with Medical needs". The guidance sets out minimum standards of education for all children who are unable to attend school due to their medical needs, including those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME).

Local Education Authorities' responsibilities towards pupils who are unable to attend school because of their medical needs should ensure that pupils are not at home without education for more than 15 working days and that children educated at home receive a minimum of five hours home tuition a week. The nature of the provision must be responsive to the demands of what can be a changing medical condition.

The Chief Medical Officer's report on Children and Young People with ME was published by the Department of Health in January this year, taking into account the recommendations of an independent working group. The report proposes ways in which clinicians and the National Health Service might improve the health and social care of those affected by CFS/ME. It also includes references to education provision.