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Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions at School

In 2015, the Department for Education (DfE) gave guidance and advice for how schools should support pupils with medical conditions

It says that all schools must make sure:

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  • that a pupil with a medical condition will still get their education, go on school trips and do physical education
  • that they have made plans about how they are going to support a pupil with a medical condition
  • They speak to health and social care professionals, pupils and parents to make sure that everyone understands the medical condition and what they must do to support the pupil

When supporting a pupil with medical needs, the school should:

  • Make sure that parents and pupil are confident that the school knows how to support them
  • Make sure that staff are properly trained
  • Have a policy for supporting pupils with medical conditions. It must be reviewed regularly and parents and staff should be able to access it easily
  • Make sure that pupils can access school trips, visits, or sporting activities, and not stop them from doing so.

Some children with medical needs may also have disabilities and/or special educational needs. As in the Equality Act 2010, the school must make reasonable adjustments to make sure that disabled children and young people are not at a substantial disadvantage compared with their peers. This duty is anticipatory which means adjustments must be planned and put in place in advance, to prevent that disadvantage.

  • A Healthcare Plan is a document that has information from health professionals, school nurses, parents, the pupil and other relevant professionals
  • A senior member of school staff must write this document.
  • It should have key information and actions that are needed to support the child in school
  • The healthcare plan should say what the school will do to help the pupil manage their condition and overcome any barriers to get the most from their education
  • The plan must be reviewed at least once a year or earlier if the pupil’s needs have changed
  • It should keep the pupil’s best interests in mind
  • The school must say how they will assess and manage risks to the child’s education, health and social wellbeing

The Healthcare Plan should include:

  • the medical condition, triggers, signs, symptoms and treatments
  • the pupil’s needs, including:
    • medication (dose, side effects and storage) and other treatments
    • facilities
    • equipment
    • testing/exams
    • access to food and drink where this is used to manage their condition,
    • dietary requirements
    • environmental issues, e.g. crowded corridors, travel time between lessons;
  • support for the pupil’s educational, social and emotional needs

(For example, how the school will manage absences; how the school will help the child to take exams; how the school will help the child catch up with their lessons; and how the child can receive counselling)

  • the level of support needed, including in emergencies
  • if the child is in charge of taking their own medication and how this will be checked in school, this should be clearly stated along with how this will be monitored
  • who will provide this support, what training they will have and what they are expected to do
  • which staff are signed off by medical professional to provide the medical support needed
  • who will support the child if the regular support staff are not available
  • who in the school needs to be aware of the child’s condition
  • written permission from parents and the headteacher to  show they agree that medication should be given by a member of staff or that the child can be in charge of taking their own medication
  • show what special arrangements will be made so that the child can take part in extra –curricular activities such as school trips and after school clubs
  • the people that will be allowed to see the plan (for example you may wish the plan to only be seen by senior or named staff if some information is confidential).
  • what to do in an emergency, including whom to contact.

Note: A Healthcare Plan is different to an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP). An EHCP defines outcomes and provision in school for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. A Healthcare Plan defines how to support a pupil’s medical needs whilst in school. For information on EHCPs please visit our ECH Plan web page

  • Provide the school with up-to-date information about your child’s medical needs
  • Parents are key partners and should be involved in the development and review of their child’s individual healthcare plan
  • Carry out any action agreed to as part of the Healthcare Plan, eg provide medicines and equipment
  • Ensure you or another nominated adult are contactable at all times

Guidance, Policies and Templates for Schools

Medical Conditions – Useful links for Schools

  • Anaphalaxis – information from Anaphalaxis Campaign for schools, including resource packs.  Free online training modules for school staff, parents and younger children is also available through AllergyWise
  • Anaphalaxis – Department for Education guidance on use of adrenaline auto-injectors in school
  • Asthma – Department for Education guidance on the use of asthma inhalers at school
  • Asthma – Supporting Children’s Health offers a free 45minute online training module
  • Asthma UK – links, resources, advice for children and young people with Asthma
  • Bowel and Bladder UK and ERIC– example intimate care policies and plans,  resources and advice for educational settings
  • Diabetes – Royal Cornwall Hospital (Treliske) contact details for child and adolescent health
  • Epilepsy Action and Learn Epilepsy have a number of useful resources including online training videos available.  Staff training and e-learning is also available
  • Muscular Dystrophy UK- this website has (free) online training modules for professionals working with children and young people with MD as well as a downloadable Fact Sheets for educational professionals and parents/carers
  • Well at School – website linking medical conditions with advice for schools and associated websites