Project information

Returning to school after cancer

Our project aims to gets schools talking. Following formal consultations one of the most common stresses for children with cancer is isolation & exclusion from school friends. The project will address the fears about the difficult questions children ask and suggest coping strategies.

Six months

Charity information

Joss Searchlight

Joss Searchlight logo
  • Need


    One of the most common stresses for children with cancer are feelings of isolation and exclusion from their school friends. Children worry about returning to school after long periods in hospital. They have to learn to adjust to a very different lifestyle.
    From our consultation parents reported:
    27% had no communication with their child's school.
    68% had no contact with peers & friends during their absence
    39% of children were bullied or teased as a result of their altered body image


    We will improve communication between the family and the school and the hospital school. Our project will address the fears about the difficult questions children ask, suggest coping strategies, sibling anxiety and give messages from children about what children and teachers need to know. We will produce 3 support films:
    1. To show primary school children the changes to expect in their friend
    2. To give messages to school children & teachers
    3. To contain ideas for children of how best to help

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Improve communications between Primary Schools, School Hospitals and Families


    » We will seek to raise awareness of good practice in schools, such as encouraging hospital visits, phone calls,Face time and keeping 'in the loop'
    » We'll encourage primary schools to instigate a 'Buddy System' so that the child with cancer has a friend on whom they can rely
    » We'll make short films to inform primary school children of changes to expect in their friend and a film to give messages from children to teachers.

    We'll ask parents if they felt informed and empowered and ask children if they have a buddy to carry their lunch tray, books and if teachers have addressed their fears.

    Aim 2

    Raise awareness


    » We will campaign to ensure children receive the support they need in education

    Currently additional funded support for children seems to be a post code lottery. We will seek to influence the Children and Family Bill to raise awareness of needs.

  • Impact


    Good communication allows for a smoother transition when children return to school and helps parents to be informed & empowered.
    We plan to:
    Highlight what works well and help to make changes where things aren't working
    Create awareness of the challenges children face
    Propose adjustments so that a child with cancer is not disadvantaged
    Empower parents with information about their child's rights and how best to access them.
    We'll discuss progress with parents, schools & health professionals.


    1. Nervous teachers may shy away from talking about cancer. We'll need to persuade them that lack of communication is worse as it creates exclusion.
    2. Children with cancer and their siblings are vulnerable. We'll consult with parents about how they would like their child's illness to be communicated to other school children and parents.
    3. Some young children may find talking about cancer distressing. We'll ask teachers to advise if any children of which we are not aware have been affected.


    Through our bi-annual newsletter

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £8,770

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,150 school visits expenses to visit schools to give talks
      £3,120 marketing leaflets and promotional materials
      £4,500 support films production costs
  • Background


    We wish to run the project across Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire & Wales


    Children with cancer and their families in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire & Wales

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We run an online support group with over 1,000 members of parents of children with cancer. We have also held formal consultation sessions with parents affected by a child's cancer diagnosis, with children with cancer and with health professionals. Returning to school following cancer treatment is one of the biggest stresses.
    Joss Searchlight is one of the very few charities giving support to parents of children with cancer

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dianne Parkes

    Services Support Manager. She talks with distressed parents via our helpline and offers home visits. She spent 6 yrs caring for her child with cancer

    Dr Emily Grossman

    Emily is a cancer expert and presenter

    Dr Debbie Ford

    Debbie, a volunteer, is a psychotherapist & presenter

"My school friends asked me so many questions, mainly the same question again and again. I'd like someone to explain to other children at my school about cancer"

a 9 yr old with cancer