Medical needs in schools
• Pupils at school with medical conditions should be supported so that they have full access to education, including school trips and physical education.
• School Governing bodies must ensure that plans are in place in schools to support pupils at school with medical conditions and ensure that the needs of children and young people with medical conditions are properly understood and supported.
•The schools governing body should ensure that the school’s policy is clear about the procedures to be followed for managing medicines.
Medical needs, include mental health needs.
Admissions, absences, and access with a health condition
Children and young people with medical conditions are entitled to a full-time education and have the same rights of access and admission to school as other children. This means that no child with a medical condition can be denied admission or prevented from taking up a place in school because arrangements for their medical condition have not been made or accessing their full-time education where it is safe to do so.
Schools should authorise absences due to illness unless they have cause for concern about the authenticity of an illness. Schools can request medical evidence where necessary, this can be prescriptions, appointment cards, etc. rather than doctors’ notes. Where a Child or young person is absent due to a medical need, they should not be sanctioned or have opportunities taken away.
Medication in schools
Staff in schools should receive training from medical staff, be confident and be signed off before they take on responsibility to support children with medical conditions and giving medication.
Schools should only accept prescribed medicines if these are in-date, labelled, provided in the original container as provided by the pharmacist and include instructions for administration, dosage, and storage. The exception to this is insulin, which must still be in date, but will generally be available to schools inside an insulin pen or a pump, rather than in its original container.
Children and young people should know where their medicines are always and be able to access them immediately. Where relevant, they should know who holds the key to the storage facility.
Individual health care plans (IHCP’s)
An IHCP is a plan for children and young people with on-going medical needs. It is used to ensure that schools know how to support your child or young person effectively and clearly explains what needs to be done, when and by who.
- School should have a clear policy on their website for IHCP’s.
- The governing body should ensure that plans are reviewed at least annually, or earlier if the child’s needs have changed.
- Pupils and parents should be involved in individual health care plans and where appropriate relevant health care professionals.
- Where a child is returning to school following a period of hospital education or accessing the Tuition and Medicals needs team due to a health need, schools should develop an IHCP that identifies the support the child will need to return to school.
Involvement of healthcare professionals with medical needs in school
Schools do not need to wait for a formal diagnosis, to provide support to your child. If your child’s medical condition is unclear then the school should seek further medical advice, so that a judgement can be made about what support may be needed.
If you are unsure what school should be putting in place in relation to your child or young person’s health needs, seek advice from your key health professional or team.
Alongside working with healthcare professionals, schools can also get advice and support from local authority teams, such as the physical disability, hearing support and visual support teams.
Schools should not
• Ignore the views of the child or their parents; or ignore medical evidence or opinion (although this may be challenged).
• Assume that every child with the same condition requires the same treatment
• Send children with medical conditions home regularly for reasons to do with their medical condition or normal school activities, including lunch, unless this is specified in their individual healthcare plans.
• Require parents to or make them feel they have to attend school to give medication or provide medical support to their child, including with toileting issues.
What if you child needs a length of time off school
Further Support for children and young people with medical conditions, who are unable to attend school for an extended length of time is available, through a referral from schools where appropriate to the Tuition and medical needs service and more information can be found at the link below.
- Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions (publishing.service.gov.uk).
- School attendance: guidance for schools – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Equality Act 2010: advice for schools – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- SEND Local Offer | Medical conditions in school – SEND Local Offer (northlincslocaloffer.com)
- Promoting and supporting mental health and wellbeing in schools and colleges – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Mental health issues affecting a pupil’s attendance: guidance for schools – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- Education for children with health needs who cannot attend school – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)