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Support for children and young people with a medical condition in school

Schools have to make sure that pupils with medical conditions can enjoy the same opportunities as any other pupil. They must arrange support for pupils with medical conditions and have a policy explaning how they will do this. Find out more in the sections below.  

What is a medical condition?

There are many types of medical conditions which can result from illness or injury. These can include physical health needs, such as diabetes, epilepsy, asthma and heart conditions. They can also include mental health needs such as anxiety and depression.

Medical conditions can sometimes affect a child's ability to learn as they might not be well enough to attend school at times.

Medical conditions may also affect a child's confidence or self-esteem or might make it difficult to keep in touch with friends. 

What do schools have to do to support pupils with medical conditions?

By law governing bodies of schools have to make arrangements to support pupils at school with medical conditions so they can:

  • take part in school activities, including school trips and P.E
  • stay healthy
  • do well in their school work
  • enjoy the same opportunities as any other pupil

Schools must arrange support for pupils with medical conditions and must have a written policy explaining how they will do this. 

Schools should decide what help to give by talking to parents or carers and the pupil themselves. They should also talk to medical professionals, such as a doctor or nurse, about how to look after pupils with medical conditions, and make sure they get the right training. 

Schools should develop individual healthcare plans for children with complex medical conditions or health needs.

An individual heathcare plan is a written plan that explains:

  • what medical condition a pupil has
  • what help they receive in school
  • when this needs to happen
  • who provides the help

Medicines

Schools must have permission from a parent or carer before giving medicine to a pupil. 

They must:

  • store medicines safely
  • keep records about when they have given medicine to a pupil

Schools should encourage pupils to look after their own medicines and devices (such as asthma inhalers) where they are old enough and feel comfortable doing so.

School trips

Pupils with medical conditions should be actively supported to participate in school trips and visits, and sporting actvities. 

Teachers should be aware of how a child's medical condition will impact on their participation, but there should be enough flexibility for all children to participate according to their abilities and with any reasonable adjustments.

It is best practice for schools to carry out a risk assessment to make sure that pupils with medical conditions are included in school trips and activities. They should involve parents and pupils in this process and take advice from a relevant medical professional. 

Sometimes a health professional, such as a GP might say it is not possible for pupils to take part in trips and activities. If this happens, the school must follow their advice. 

Services that support schools