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Students who are medically absent or have suffered a brain injury that prohibits them from accessing mainstream education need to have a variety of options to support their education. One option is to offer online learning that can supplement their education so they don’t fall behind.

“Digital technology should be used to complement face-to-face education, rather than be used as sole provision. In some cases, the child’s health needs may make it advisable to only use digital learning for a limited period of time.”

Mark Holme headshot EDClass spoke to Mark Holme who is commercial partnerships manager at the Child Brain Injury Trust (CBIT) on how they support children with brain injuries and those medically absent. Mark liaises with other businesses to raise the profile of the CBIT. The organisation provides effective support for children who have acquired a brain injury or have had a stroke or illness. Mark said:

“We have a team of people spread around the country who we call ABI coordinators. Their role is to support the families and their children in whatever way that family needs help. In the first instance, they work in the hospitals, they’re working alongside clinicians and nursing staff on the wards in the major trauma units and then as the child is discharged from the hospital, they work with other agencies.


We have a free mobile phone app which takes all the information we have from our website and puts it into an easily accessible function. This helps list services that can help those children and help those families.”

There are several options available if a child is medically absent or suffers from a brain injury. Every child deserves to access the best educational experiences and outcomes regardless of their situation.

Finding the best support for a medically absent student

We must find the best solution to accommodate the needs of children who are physically incapable of attending mainstream. This can be done by taking a holistic approach and focusing on their requirements. Mark stated:

“Every child is different. Every child needs a difference. Every child’s situation is different. You have to identify what the child’s needs are. It might be physical, mental health or educational support. But, just because the child has a brain injury doesn’t mean they’re going to be in a wheelchair. They could be walking around looking like every other child in the class, but because they have a brain injury that has diminished their capacity for learning, they might have temperamental issues. We have to support that child and that family to manage their day-to-day life.”

Medical absence has also become a prevalent issue alongside mental health challenges or absenteeism. Mark added:

“40,000 children a year on average suffer an acquired brain injury. That’s a higher number than those diagnosed with autism. That brain injury can lead to other conditions. We currently work with 1500 families and get around 60 referrals a month and 700 a year.”

Solutions are out there, we just need to raise the profile of what is available. Prioritise what a child wants, likes and desires to help them reach their educational potential.

Try an online alternative provision

Online learning, specifically online alternative provision like EDClass, can be beneficial and transformative for medically absent children. The ability to learn from anywhere and one-to-one support from qualified teachers can help raise confidence, knowledge and understanding. Mark said:

“One of the things with having a brain injury or any support in your divergence is that it’s reduced social skills. The child may or may not feel comfortable in a class or going to school. Having an online function is really helpful to keep them at a reasonable level of education. Online support is a growing function anyway, and post-COVID, it’s more usable and more useful. I think for a child with required brain injury, the online services are absolutely key as either a replacement for regular schooling or as a top-up to the regular schooling.”

If you would like to learn more about EDClass as an online alternative provision call 01909 568338, send an email to or enquire for more information here

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