Making a Referral for Exceptional Teaching Arrangements

Find out about the referral process.

This referral pathway is for a child or young person who, because of their physical or mental health, are medically unfit to attend school for a period of more than 20 days.  The service also supports school age mothers and will consider other exceptional circumstances where necessary.

Circumstances requiring support due to expulsion or behavioural concerns are dealt with by Primary and Post Primary Behaviour Support & Provisions.

Referred children and young people can access this support with or without a Statement of SEN.

The referral pathway and associated information required is related to the level and complexity of need.   Where there is appropriate medical evidence to meet the criteria for support, school can apply for ETA via the 3-step referral process.

Schools are reminded of the graduated approach to supporting their children and young people with SEN under the new SEN Framework and SEN Code of Practice: Identification, Assessment and Provision by Schools.

When should we make a referral for Exceptional Teaching Arrangements?

If you have a pupil who is too ill for school attendance, who is absent for 20 days or more and where there is appropriate medical information to support a referral, school can apply for ETA via the online 3 step process.

Can we make a referral without supporting evidence?

In the main, no, referrals should only be made when all supporting materials and medical evidence is ready to submit along with the online form. 

If a referral is being made for other exceptional circumstances, then relevant supporting information will also be required.

It is important to ensure that all supporting evidence is submitted as the referral panel not having all available information will delay consideration of the referral.

If you are unsure about whether a referral is appropriate you can contact either your local ETA manager or the head of service who will be happy to discuss your situation. See contact Exceptional Teaching Arrangements section for more information.

Referral Pathway for ETA

1 Complete ETA Information Request Form

Schools must complete the online Information Request Form using only C2K login details.  Complete the form fully with as much supporting information as possible and upload all evidence within the form at the stages of request.

2 ETA Panel and Outcome

ETA Panel will review the referral and the educational setting will be notified of the outcome. 

Referral Process

The Referral Process is a 2 step approach:

Step 1: Complete an online ETA Information Request Forms (IRF)

Complete the appropriate Exceptional Teaching Arrangements (ETA) Information Request Forms which can be found on C2k Exchange under EA Forms or below. Schools must complete the form in full, with as much detail as possible to support the referral. 

ETA IRF Referral Form for Post Primary Pupils 

ETA IRF Referral Form for Primary Pupils 

Step 2: Exceptional Teaching Arrangements Panel and Outcome

The Exceptional Teaching Arrangements Panel meet monthly to consider all referrals made before the deadline.  The Panel is multidisciplinary and includes members from Education Psychology, Special Education, Education Welfare and Exceptional Teaching Arrangements.   

All information provided is considered allowing the panel to arrive at an outcome that is in the best interest of the child. Therefore, it is important to include all supporting evidence at point of referral. 

After the conclusion of the panel the educational setting will be notified of the outcome and it is their responsibility to notify parents, medics and other EA Services of the result. 

Panel Outcome Explanation  
Agreed   This means all appropriate information has been presented and Exceptional Teaching Arrangements are in the best interest of the child and meets the current immediate needs for this pupil.  
Deferred  This means the panel do not have enough information to base their decision on and therefore request further information to support the referral. 

This can be for several reasons, for example:  

  • Referral form incomplete. 
  • No appropriate medical evidence.  
  • The Service is not the most appropriate to support your child’s current needs and another Service should be explored.  

    An outcome letter will be sent to the educational setting with the outcome that has been decided and any individual reasons outlined.   

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Contact the Exceptional Teaching Arrangements Service

The Exceptional Teaching Arrangements Service can be contacted for advice and information specific to children and young people who are unable to attend their educational setting because of physical illness or mental health.