DfE Guidance on Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions

“In September 2014 a new duty will be introduced for governing bodies to make arrangements to support pupils at school with medical conditions. This guidance is intended to help governing bodies meet their legal responsibilities and sets out the arrangements they will be expected to make, based on good practice. The aim is to ensure that children with medical conditions, in terms of both physical and mental health, are properly supported in school so that they can play a full and active role in school life, remain healthy and achieve their academic potential.

“Parents of children with medical conditions are often concerned that their child’s health will deteriorate when they attend school. This is because pupils with long-term and complex medical conditions may require on-going support, medicines and care while at school to help them manage their condition and keep them well. Others may require interventions in particular emergency circumstances. It is also the case that children’s health needs may change over time, in ways that cannot always be predicted, sometimes resulting in extended absences. It is therefore important that parents feel confident that their child’s medical condition will be supported effectively in school and that they will be safe. In making decisions about the support they provide, it is crucial that schools consider advice from healthcare professionals and listen to and value the views of parents and pupils.

“In addition to the educational impacts, there are social and emotional implications associated with medical conditions. Children may be self-conscious about their condition and some may be bullied or develop emotional disorders such as anxiety or depression around their medical condition. In particular, long-term absences due to health problems affect children’s educational attainment, impact on their ability to integrate with their peers and affect their general wellbeing and emotional health. Reintegration back into school should be properly supported so that children with medical conditions fully engage with learning and do not fall behind when they are unable to attend. Short term absences, including those for medical appointments, (which can often be lengthy), also need to be effectively managed.

“Some children with medical conditions may be disabled. Where this is the case governing bodies must comply with their duties under the Equality Act 2010. Some may also have special educational needs (SEN) and a statement, or Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan which brings together health and social care needs, as well as their special educational provision. For children with SEN, this guidance should be read in conjunction with the SEN code of practice.”

Read the guidance document

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