Ziezon: Dutch nationwide network for the education of pupils with medical needs
One in ten children suffers from a chronic or long-term illness. This means that, on average, there are two or three children who have a chronic illness in every school class.
Teachers in primary and secondary schools and senior secondary vocational education and training (MBO) in the Netherlands can request assistance from an ESP consultant if they have a sick pupil in their class. An ESP consultant is an Education for Sick Pupils consultant.
ESP consultants advise and support schools, parents and care professionals in relation to education and illness. They answer teachers’ questions, as well as coordinate collaboration between the school, parents and the organisations involved. This support is provided free of charge. The ESP consultants are employed by university teaching hospitals (UMCs) or educational consultancy agencies in the Netherlands.
For the parents of a child suffering from a chronic or long-term illness, it is important to know that the school is responsible for their child’s education. This is also the case if the child is unable to attend school for a prolonged period of time. In the Netherlands, a law on the education of sick pupils (Wet Ondersteuning Onderwijs Zieke Leerlingen; WOOZL) came into effect on 1 August 1999. This law states that the school at which a pupil is enrolled is responsible for the child’s education, even if he or she cannot attend school. Schools can, however, request assistance from an ESP consultant.
Centre of expertise
All ESP consultants are part of a Dutch nationwide network called Ziezon. This network coordinates collaboration between university teaching hospitals (UMCs) and educational consultancy agencies. Ziezon enables and initiates schooling and the exchange of information and expertise. As well as ESP consultants, the network includes interest groups and medical experts. Within Europe, the Netherlands is regarded as one of the leading countries in the field of sickness and education.
The Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (Nederlandse Federatie van Universitair Medische Centra; NFU) represents the eight cooperating UMCs in the Netherlands, as an advocate for and employer of 65,000 people. The objective of the NFU is to ensure that agencies that decide healthcare issues in the Netherlands consider the special role of the academic hospitals (in the past) and the UMCs (presently). For more information, go to www.nfu.nl.
Onderwijsontwikkeling Nederland is the association for education consultancy agencies. Consultants working for education consultancy agencies throughout the Netherlands, advise and support primary schools, secondary schools and senior secondary vocational education and training colleges (MBO) focusing on quality, professionalism and innovation. For more information, go to www.onderwijsontwikkeling.nl.
The Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (Nederlandse Federatie van Universitair Medische Centra) (NFU) represents the eight cooperating UMCs in the Netherlands, as an advocate for and employer of 65,000 people. The objective of the NFU is ensuring that agencies that decide healthcare issues in the Netherlands take into account the special role of the academic hospitals (in the past) and the UMCs (presently). For more information: www.nfu.nl.