Understanding the impact of a diagnosis of childhood cancer on school attainment and attendance.

We want to understand the impact of a diagnosis of childhood cancer on school attainment and attendance. We also want to find out whether childhood cancer survivors are more likely than other children to have further health conditions when they get older. 

This research project is jointly funded by Cancer Research UK and Children with Cancer UK.

Project Details

  • Project Title

    Understanding the impact of a diagnosis of childhood cancer on school attainment and attendance.

  • Lead Researcher

    Katie Harron

  • Research Centre


  • City & Institution Postcode


  • Start Date

    1 July 2024

  • Duration

    24 months

  • Grant Amount


Katie Harron researcher


Due to improvements in diagnosis and treatment over recent decades, children who have cancer are more likely to survive. There are a growing number of children and adults who survived cancer in childhood. However, the experience of cancer and its treatment or complications, can mean that survivors of childhood cancer face barriers to learning and do not fulfil their potential in school. We need to know more about their quality of life during childhood and young adulthood, including their school experiences, in order to further improve their treatment and minimise disruption to education. We plan to use linked national administrative data from schools and hospitals for all children, together with cancer data to understand how a cancer diagnosis, its treatment and complications, affect participation in education and attainment at school  relationship with risk of relapse. 


Information about school test results, absences and other information such as Special Educational Needs are routinely collected by schools, but are kept separately from high quality information on cancer diagnosis and treatment. In this study, we will use existing data from hospitals and schools using a database called ECHILD. We will bring this together with high quality information on cancer diagnosis and treatment. This process is called data linkage. The linkage will allow us to gain a better understanding of the changes in hospital contacts and school absences, attainment and Special Educational Needs provision, before, during and after cancer diagnosis, into adulthood. We will look at a range of childhood cancers, including leukaemia and brain cancer.

What difference will this project make?

By adding to the evidence on outcomes for childhood cancer survivors, this will enable us to make decisions about how best to support children with cancer. For example, this could mean increased support in school. 

Evidence about longer-term outcomes will also inform decisions about different treatment options. We will also enhance the ECHILD database with cancer registration data for childhood cancer so that many more questions can be answered by UK researchers. 

About the Research Team

Team information to follow soon. 

Other stories

Newsletter icon
Newsletter icon

Sign up to our e-newsletter today

Sign up to our e-newsletter and receive exclusive stories straight to your inbox. You will also find out about our latest childhood cancer research news along with updates on our fundraising events, charity news and opportunities to support us. Don’t miss out!

By signing up to this newsletter I agree to receive general and financial appeal emails from Children with Cancer UK