The purpose of this exploratory and descriptive pilot study was to explore the process of school re-entrance for adolescents receiving outpatient treatment for cancers, using grounded theory All adolescents who had received a minimum of 3 weeks’ hospital-based schooling, but had since returned to their own schools, and were booked for an outpatient appointment on a paediatric oncology unit during a specified 2-week period, took part in an audio-tape-recorded, semi-structured interview The sample consisted of five such adolescents Data were analysed using the constant comparison method of grounded theory Certain recognizable trends were noted leading to the development of a core variable to which other categories and their properties related Central categories identified were ‘disruption’, ‘adaptation’ and ‘normality’, with this latter concept considered to be the core variable Findings highlighted problem areas which are discussed and issues requiring further detailed investigation This led to an undertaking of theoretical sampling into hospital-based schooling, as well as suggesting theoretical sampling for future studies