The role of the Local Authority
It is the duty of the Local Authority (LA) to arrange suitable full-time education (or part-time when appropriate for the child’s needs) for children who are unable to attend a mainstream or special school because of their health. This duty applies to all children and young people who would normally attend mainstream schools, including Academies, Free Schools, independent schools and special schools, or where a child is not on the roll of a school. It applies equally whether a child cannot attend school at all or can only attend intermittently.
If a child cannot attend school because of health problems, and would not otherwise receive a suitable full-time education, the LA is responsible for arranging provision.
Merit school is for children between the ages of 5 and 16 whose full time education has been/will be interrupted by illness for a period of at least 15 working days. Referrals to Merit will be made by the student’s home school to the Learning Pathways Hub at Stoke On Trent Local Authority. Learning Pathways will refer students to our school if they believe we can meet their needs, this includes accessing education at Merit school or through Merit's Home Tuition Service.
Merit provides exclusively for students with medical and mental health needs. As a consequence, Merit does not provide for:
As a condition of admission and as part of the school’s responsibility, all students should be dual registered with a mainstream or special school.
With the exception of hospital referrals, all referrals must be made using the Learning Pathways Referral Form provided by the LA . Referrals cannot be made directly to Merit.
All referrals must be accompanied by written medical evidence from a Consultant or medical professional. Evidence from a member of the school nursing team or GP may support an application but are not sufficient evidence alone.
There is no guarantee of the offer of provision at Merit. Merit has 38 full time places and we need to accurately assess a child's needs before we can offer them a place. Some students may be offered a time restricted assessment placement before being fully admitted into the school. Most students referred to Merit are with CAMHS but do not need an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP).