The inclusion of pupils with a chronic health condition in mainstream school: what does it mean for teachers?

S Mukherjee, P Sloper, J Lightfoot

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This paper reports on a study which investigated the support needs of pupils in mainstream school with a chronic illness or physical disability. The research was carried out in three local education authorities covering both rural and urban areas. In-depth, qualitative data were collected from 33 pupils in secondary school; 58 parents of primary and secondary school pupils; and 34 primary and secondary school teachers. Overall, the data from young people suggest variability in the support offered to pupils by teachers, even by teachers within the same school, and highlights the importance of teachers' awareness and understanding of special health needs. A number of areas where young people need support from teachers were identified, including: dealing with school absence; taking part in school activities; peer relationships; explaining the condition to other pupils; and having someone to talk to about health-related worries. Data from teachers and parents indicate that school staff need assistance with obtaining health-related information; ensuring health-related information is passed between and within schools; providing emotional support; the provision of medical care; and coordinating support for this group of pupils. The implications of the findings for teachers, schools and educational policy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-72
Number of pages14
JournalEducational Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • chronic illness
  • physical disability
  • mainstream school
  • pupils' views
  • teachers' views

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