- Cancer Information
- Schools and teachers
- Cancer in the school community
- When a family member has cancer
- How your school can help
How your school can help
There are many ways your school can assist students after a family member’s cancer diagnosis. With the family’s consent, you might:
|Keep track||Appoint the student wellbeing coordinator or year adviser to provide regular contact with the student, monitor their behaviour, and help keep track of assignments and school events. Offer the student the option of seeing the school counsellor. Special consideration may be needed for examinations and assessments. The student may also need flexibility with their attendance at compulsory sports training or music rehearsals.|
|Notice changes||Ask the teacher to look out for changes in the child’s behaviour, social interactions and academic performance, and keep the family updated.|
|Connect||Put the family in touch with another family in the schoolcommunity who has experienced cancer and is willing to be contacted.|
|Organise a parent team||A group of parent volunteers can be organised privately or by the school’s parent association, such as the P&C or P&F. This group can help the family stay on top of excursions, homework, school events and after-school activities. |
They may also want to help by giving the student lifts to and from school and after-school activities (such as sports training), providing child care or meals. Another way to help is to arrange video recordings of school events so that the family can share them at home.
|Educate||Arrange for a visit from the hospital’s clinical nurse consultant or a local community nurse to conduct an education session about the treatment.|
|Contact Camp Quality||Camp Quality provides innovative programs and services to develop life skills and strengthen the wellbeing of children aged 0–13 growing up with cancer, and their families. They offer a free educational puppet show for primary schools across Australia. |
Their Kids Guide to Cancer app helps younger children learn about cancer in an age-appropriate way. It answers common questions and is particularly aimed at children aged 8–13 who have a loved one diagnosed with cancer.
Camp Quality also organises recreation programs, camps and family experiences to support children and families impacted by cancer. To find out more, call 1300 662 267 or visit Camp Quality.
|Get in touch with CanTeen||CanTeen is an organisation for young people aged 12–25 who are affected by cancer, including siblings and offspring. It offers counselling in person or by phone, email or instant messaging, and can collaborate with school wellbeing staff. |
CanTeen also runs camps, recreation days, seminars and workshops, produces resources to help older children understand how to deal with their parent’s or sibling’s cancer, and provides an online community for young people impacted by cancer. It also offers support to parents, including assistance with navigating the challenges cancer brings to parenting. Call 1800 226 833 or visit CanTeen.
|Contact Young Carers||Help the student connect with the Young Carers Program offered by the Carers Associations in each state and territory. This program offers information and support tailored for people aged under 26 who care for someone in their family with an illness or other problem. |
Call 1800 242 636 or visit Young Carers to find out more. You can also check out the Carer Gateway for local support services, practical information and resources for carers. Call 1800 422 737 or visit Carer Gateway.
|Link with Kids Helpline||Put students in touch with the Kids Helpline. This is a telephone, web and email counselling service with a fun, interactive website for kids, teens and young adults aged 5–25. It offers confidential counselling for anything worrying a child or young adult. Call them on 1800 55 1800 or visit Kids Helpline.|
Podcast: Family Dynamics and Cancer
Claire Tobin, Principal Medical Advisor, Department of Education and Training, VIC; Dr Antoinette Anazodo, Paediatric and Adolescent Oncologist, Sydney Children’s Hospital and Prince of Wales Hospital, Director of The Sydney Youth Cancer Service, and Conjoint Senior Researcher, University of New South Wales, NSW; Lisa Barrow, Clinical Nurse Educator, Children’s Cancer Centre, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, VIC; Margo Bulic, Psychosocial Support Worker, CanTeen, ACT; Amber Copeland, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland; Donna Drew, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Paediatric Oncology/Palliative Care, Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, NSW; Allesha Fecondo, Education Consultant, Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service, and Education Liaison, Ronald McDonald Learning Program, Ronald McDonald House Charities Australia, VIC; John Friedsam, General Manager of Divisions, CanTeen Australia, NSW; Pina Hutcheson, President, Catholic Primary Principals’ Association of WA; Cara Irvine, Year 8 Coordinator, Alfred Deakin High School, ACT; Andrew Long, Assistant Director, Policy and Research, Independent Schools Council of Australia, ACT; Dr Alistair Lum, Post-doctoral Research Fellow – Behavioural Sciences Unit, Sydney Children’s Hospital, University of New South Wales, NSW; Kristine Luszczynski, Learning Program Manager, Quality and Standards, Ronald McDonald House Charities Australia, NSW; Anita Neville, National Manager, Ronald McDonald Learning Program, Ronald McDonald House Charities Australia, VIC; NSW Department of Education, NSW; Mandy Roney, Consumer; Shannon Rush, Primary School Program Manager, Camp Quality, SA; Luke Wade, Education and Career Support Consultant, Redkite, QLD.
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