SICK Solihull schoolchildren must wait six times as long as their Birmingham classmates to receive hospital tuition, it has been revealed.
Ken Bates, from Solihull, said he was “angered and embarrassed” when he visited Heartlands Hospital only to see almost every other child on the wards offered tuition bar his young granddaughter.
On enquiring, he was told by Birmingham Council’s hospital tuition service, James Brindley School, that his granddaughter could not be taught until she had been in hospital for at least five days.
This was because Solihull Council, unlike the majority of other local authorities, including Birmingham which begin tuition on day one, had decided not to pay for the service until legally required on day six.
Cabinet member for children and young people, Councillor Joe Tildesley said: “Presumably, the decision was made to provide tuition after five days because, in those first few days, the child may be too ill or injured to benefit from it.
“Quite properly, they should settle down and receive their treatment and after five days we can pop our heads round the door and offer tuition.
“Let me stress, children that need to visit hospital on a repeat basis do receive teaching straight away. It’s a service I’m very comfortable with.”
Coun Norman Davies (Lib Dem, Olton) added: “It’s entirely comparable with if a parent keeps their child off school for illness. Teaching doesn’t come into it in those cases.
“I would imagine you’ve also got to ultimately consider what is the value for money.”
A Solihull Council spokesperson said it was down to the school and parent to ensure children did not fall behind during the first five days in hospital but children regularly in and out of hospital would receive teaching from day one.