Ziezon: nationwide network for the education of sick pupils

One in ten children suffers from a chronic somatic or long term illness. This means that on the average in every school class there are two or three children with a chronic illness.

Teachers in primary and secondary schools and vocational education (mbo) can ask for the assistance of a consultant Education Sick Pupils (ESP) when they have a sick pupil in their class. Consultants ESP advise and support schools, parents and care professionals about education and illness. They can answer questions of teachers, but can also coordinate collaboration between school, parents and organisations involved. This support is free of charge. The consultants ESP are employed at university hospitals or educational advisory agencies.


For parents of a child suffering from a chronic somatic or long term illness it’s important to know that the school is responsible for the education of sick pupils, also when these children are not able to attend school for a prolonged period of time. In the Netherlands, the law on the education of sick pupils (WOOZL) came into force on 1 August 1999. As a result the school where the pupil is enrolled retains responsibility for the continuation of education. Schools can, however, ask for the assistance of a consultant ESP.

Center of expertise

All consultants ESP are part of a nationwide network called Ziezon. This network coordinates collaboration between university hospitals and educational advisory agencies. Ziezon enables and initiates schooling and the exchange of information and expertise. Not only consultants ESP are part of the network, also interest organisations and medical experts have joined forces. In Europe, the Netherlands is being 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 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.


EDventure is the association for education advisory agencies in the Netherlands. About 2000 consultants, working for education advisory agencies throughout the Netherlands, advise and support schools for primary and secondary education and vocational education (MBO), focusing on quality, professionalism and innovation. For more information: www.edventure.nu