Meetings the Needs of Pupils with Medical Needs

In September 2014 the DfE published statutory guidance regarding the Support of Pupils with Medical Conditions in School.

The ‘Supporting Pupils at School with Medical Conditions’ guidance applies to governing bodies of maintained schools and the proprietors of academies and Alternative Provision Academies (APAs).

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Early years settings should continue to apply the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage.

The aim of the legislation* and guidance is to ensure that: 

  • pupils with medical conditions, in terms of both physical and mental health, are properly supported in school so that they can:
    • remain healthy
    • play a full and active role in school life, including taking part in physical education and school trips 
    • achieve their academic potential
  • school leaders consult health and social care professionals, pupils and parents/carers in order to effectively meet the needs of children with medical conditions. 

Governing bodies and proprietors of academies should* ensure that they have a policy for supporting pupils with medical conditions, which is reviewed regularly and is readily accessible to parents/carers and school staff.

* Where statutory guidance states that policies and procedures should be in place they must be unless it can be demonstrated that there is a good reason not to have them.

The policy should include: 

  • a named person who has overall responsibility for policy implementation
  • the procedures to be followed whenever a school is notified that a pupil has a medical condition
  • the role of individual healthcare plans, and who is responsible for their development
  • the roles and responsibilities of all those involved in the arrangements they make to support pupils at school with medical conditions
  • how staff will be supported in carrying out their roles regarding pupils with medical conditions
  • arrangements for whole school awareness training so that all staff are aware of the school’s policy for supporting pupils with medical conditions and their role in implementing that policy
  • arrangements for condition specific training to enable staff to support pupils
  • arrangements for children who are competent in managing their own health needs and medicines
  • the procedures to be followed for managing medicines
  • what should happen in an emergency situation
  • arrangements that actively support pupils to participate in school trips/visits and sporting activities
  • explicit guidance about what practice is not acceptable. See page 19 of ’Supporting Pupils at School with Medical Conditions’ for examples
  • the details of the school’s insurance arrangements which cover staff providing support to pupils with medical conditions
  • how complaints may be made and will be handled concerning the support provided to pupils with medical conditions

Individual healthcare plans: 

  • may be initiated, in consultation with the parent/carer, by a member of school staff or a healthcare professional involved in providing care to the child
  • should be drawn up in partnership between the school, parents, and a relevant healthcare professional, e.g. school, specialist or children’s community nurse, who can best advise on the particular needs of the child
  • should involve the child/young person whenever it is appropriate
  • should capture the steps which a school should take to help the child manage their condition and overcome any potential barriers to getting the most from their education
  • show who will take the lead in writing the plan (responsibility for ensuring it is finalised and implemented rests with the school)
  • should be reviewed at least annually or earlier if evidence is presented that the child’s needs have changed

Where the child has a special educational need identified in a statement or EHC plan, the individual healthcare plan should be linked to or become part of that statement or EHC plan. 

Please see pages 9–11 of the school’s guidance for more detailed information about individual healthcare plans.

The guidance includes the model process for developing individual healthcare plans.