Cystic fibrosis at school

Starting school can be an exciting and daunting time for parents, particularly if your child has cystic fibrosis. Whether you’re a parent, or a teacher expecting a new student with CF, we’re here to help make the journey as smooth as possible.

CF shouldn’t stop your child or student from enjoying a full and rewarding school experience. With the right support, good communication and a few minor adjustments, young people with CF can go on to achieve great things.

017 CF Finals

For teachers and schools

Children with CF need to squeeze a lot of treatments into their day. Daily chest physiotherapy, nebulisers and taking pancreatic enzymes and medications, takes up a lot of time each day. Many children need to wake up early to do their treatments before school and need to find time at the end of a busy day to do their treatments before bed.

They usually have regular hospital clinic appointments and the occasional hospital admission.

Even though it sounds like a lot (and it is!) children with CF are also normal kids! By the time they start at your school, most children and their families are experts at juggling the extra demands CF has with living a pretty normal life.

There are some extra challenges with going to school, especially around picking up bugs from other children and from the environment, but with everyone working as a team, children with CF can thrive at school.

We’ve worked with parents and schools to develop a resource for New Zealand primary schools and teachers to give you a better understanding of what CF is, how it impacts on the child and their family and what teachers can do to help the child succeed at school.

This resource will be made available shortly.

For parents

Starting school is a big milestone in every child’s life, and as a parent of a child with CF, it usually comes with a few more challenges and worries.

Good communication with your school and teachers is key to a smooth transition into school life and to ensure your child’s needs are understood by everyone involved.

We recommend organising a meeting with the school and providing them with ‘Starting School – A Guide to Cystic Fibrosis for New Zealand Primary Schools and Teachers’ before your child starts, so there is time to answer any questions the school has or to discuss any individual needs not included in the guide.

We’ve also worked with parents with primary school aged children, schools and teacher to develop a resource for New Zealand parents to help with the transition to school. 


This resource will be made available soon.

Helping young children understand CF

There are two very good short videos available for teaching young children about cystic fibrosis.

The CF Trust in the UK has created the ‘Oli and Nush’ animation that helps children with CF to understand their condition, and is a good tool to explain to other children what CF is.

There is also the animation ‘What is cystic fibrosis?’ from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in the US that is good for helping young children and their friends learn about CF.

Don't forget, our CF field workers are here to help you on this journey. They can talk through your plans, worries or concerns and help you find a positive outcome. Your CF nurse will also be able to advise you. 

Get in touch with your field worker