The Health Conditions in School Alliance is made of over 30 organisations, including charities, healthcare professionals and trade unions who work collaboratively to make sure children with health conditions get the care they need in school.
The site is here to offer guidance and tools to schools who are looking after children with health conditions. You can download a template medical conditions policy a sample individual healthcare plan and advice on what it should contain, guidance on the legal situation across the UK and a process for making sure children who require education in different settings get the support they need too.
For detailed advice and guidance on supporting children with a specific medical condition please visit the websites of our members. Click the relevant logo to be taken to the schools section of the websites.
Medical conditions policy
All schools should have a medical conditions policy which states how the school will care for any children with medical conditions, the procedures for getting the right care and training in place and who is responsible for making sure the policy is carried out.
The policy should recognise health conditions can be life threatening and that they can also affect how a child learns. Schools must regularly review and audit their policy to make sure the arrangements for children with medical conditions are working. Schools in England are required by law to have a medical conditions policy.
This policy statement should be developed with pupils, parents, school nurse, school staff, governors, the school employer and relevant local health services. This policy statement should be made publicly available on the school's website.
Individual Healthcare Plan (IHP)
Every child with a medical condition will need an IHP. An IHP is an agreement between parents/ guardians, the school and healthcare professionals about what care a child needs and how it will be carried out. Headteachers, school governors and responsible bodies should make sure each child has an IHP and that it is being carried out.
We have created a guide to what should be in an individual healthcare plan as well as a template plan. You can download them below.
Some of our members have created condition specific Individual Healthcare Plans. You can find links to them below.
Supporting children with medical needs in all settings
Some children with a medical condition might need to receive education in a range of settings:
- They may attend school with some support
- If they cannot attend school they may be educated in a medical alternative provision setting or in a hospital school
- They may intermittently attend school and receive education at in a medical alternative provision setting, at hospital or at home.
When a child is receiving education in different settings it is important that their school and local authority work closely together to make sure they receive the right support in whatever setting they are being educated in.
Our campaign on the legal situation in schools
In 2014, the Alliance supported by many parents, successfully campaigned the Government to amend the Children and Families Act 2014 which now includes a duty on schools in England to support children with health conditions.
The duty is accompanied by statutory guidance from the Department of Education which schools in England must now follow.
Our ongoing work
The Alliance continues to work to ensure that children with medical conditions receive the care they deserve at school. The Alliance investigated whether or not schools are complying with the duty. We found that 78% of schools failed to demonstrate that they had a medical condition policy and the 46% of schools that do have a medical conditions policy were not compliant with the legislation. This has led to many children with medical conditions being excluded from school activities and having their health and safety put at risk.
This has prompted the Alliance to call on the Government for a second time. This time to take action to ensure that schools are aware of the new duty and are effectively implementing it. On 26 February 2016, the Alliance wrote to the Minister of State for Children and Families, Edward Timpson MP, urging him to take clear action to implement the duty across schools in England.
On 22 March 2016, the Minister of State for Children and Families, Edward Timpson MP responded to the Alliance’s letter. Alliance members reviewed the letter and concluded that the Minister’s response does not demonstrate a commitment to urgent action. Thus, on 26 April 2016, the Alliance wrote a second time renewing its request for urgent action to be taken. On 17th May 2016, Edward Timpson MP responded a second time, this time inviting members of the Alliance to meet with the Head of the Healthy Pupil Unit on his behalf. A meeting has been scheduled for the 29th of July 2016. See the sequence of letters below.
The Minister and his colleagues in the Department for Education agreed that there was a need to raise awareness of the duty in schools. The Alliance is now working with the Department for Education to develop a plan for raising awareness of the duty in schools.
What is concerning is that the Alliance has evidence of schools achieving a good or outstanding Ofsted inspection result, while failing to provide to meet their statutory duty to provide the necessary support for children with medical conditions. The Alliance has learned of several such cases where a child’s health has been put at real risk, and the child has been excluded from school activities and even school meals. The Alliance sees it as vital that school procedures are checked to make sure children with medical conditions are getting the right support to ensure they stay safe, healthy and fully included in school. The Alliance is therefore asking that the school inspections body, Ofsted, check for evidence that schools are providing the right support for children with medical conditions as part of its routine inspections.
Louise, a parent of a child with a medical condition, Type 1 diabetes, started a petition following an incident which cause her daughter to suffer a dangerous hypo during a school activity. The school did not have a medical conditions policy in place. If they had, the school would have been aware of the support Louise’s daughter needed to stay safe in school and the incident would have been avoided.
If you have any questions or are seeking more advice please send us an email with the form below.