This study was designed to assess the overall morbidity burden of survival from central nervous system (CNS) tumours and its impact on return to a normal lifestyle. School behaviour and health status of 27 children after treatment for CNS tumours, of 25 of their school-aged siblings, plus age- and sex-matched controls is reported. Spinetta school behaviour, Lansky play-performance and Health Utilities Index (mark II and III) assessments have been made. Patients had reduced mobility and increased pain levels. They demonstrated a reluctance to participate in organized physical activities. Impaired cognition, emotion and self-esteem were reported. They worried more than controls but attended school willingly, interacted normally with their peers and viewed the future confidently. Their siblings were reluctant to express openly concern for others or feelings of joy. Teachers were reliable proxies for most attributes, notable exceptions being speech and emotion. This is the first study to have assessed the school behaviour of a cohort solely composed of survivors of childhood CNS tumours. The good social reintegration is reassuring and likely to reflect a high level of psychosocial support. However, the results presented identify these young people as a 'special educational needs' group as defined by the 1981 and 1993 Education Acts.