Working collaboratively to keep children with medical conditions safe in school

Coronavirus is having an impact on all our children and young people, including those with health conditions. We’re here to help. Please continue to get in touch using the contact form below with any enquiries and we will get back to you as soon as possible.


Put children and the heart of recovery

We have signed a joint statement calling on the Government to put children at the heart of the Covid-19 recovery process.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been widespread, affecting the lives of every baby, child and young person in the country. This generation of children face unprecedented threats to their childhoods and life chances. They deserve an unprecedented response.

We call on the Prime Minister to announce that children will join health and the economy as the three pillars of the government’s coronavirus response.

About us

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.

Watch and share our safe in school film for tips on putting the right support in place at your school.

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.


Get involved with our Safe in School CampaignSafe in School

Our Safe in School campaign

Since our successful campaign to change the law in 2014, a new duty is now in place in England requiring all schools to have a medical conditions policy. This guides staff on how to support children with long-term conditions in school.

But parents have told us that many schools don’t have these policies in place, and aren’t even aware that by law they need to. Only 1 in 10 schools could prove that they had an appropriate medical conditions policy when we asked in 2017.

This shows that we need action from government and Ofsted. Schools need more support to put the correct policies in place, and parents need to be confident policies will be assessed as part of regular school inspections.

Safe in School in Parliament

Since our successful campaign to change the law in That’s why on 23 October, we took 50 families affected by a range of medical conditions to Parliament. Meeting their MP, parents called on Ministers to do more to keep children with medical conditions Safe in School.

We handed in a petition, with nearly 50,000 signatures, calling for small changes that would help more children with medical conditions stay Safe in School. The petition was started by Louise, a parent of a child with Type 1 diabetes and coeliac, whose life was put in danger due to poor care in school.

Watch our video of the day now to find out about the changes we want, and how you can help.

Louise’s petition has now closed, but you can watch her explain how her own daughter’s terrible experience in a school with no medical conditions policy inspired her to start campaigning on Change.org.

The changes we need

We want to see three simple changes that would make a big difference for all children in school in England living with a medical condition.

  1. We want Ofsted to tell their inspectors to routinely check schools’ medical conditions polices as part of their regular inspections.
  2. We want the Department for Education to change their guidance, so that all schools need to publish their medical conditions polices on their websites.
  3. We want the Department for Education to do more to help schools understand their responsibilities and put together quality medical conditions policies.

How you can help

Ask your MP to meet locally and tell them why this is so important. You can ask for a meeting in your area in just a minute, using our easy online tool. Once you’ve requested your meeting, we’ll send you all the facts, tips and info you’ll need to plan your meeting.

Thank you for your support!


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 that 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 nurses, 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 children receive 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 whichever 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.

Other resources

Fact sheet on Attendance

Children with medical conditions should not be penalised if they are unable to come to school because of their medical condition. If you are facing problems, this fact sheet explains what support is in place and what your rights are.

Download the Attendance Factsheet

Our work

Safe in SchoolThe Alliance continues to work to ensure that children with medical conditions receive the care they deserve at school.

In 2016, the Alliance investigated whether or not schools are complying with the duty. We found that 78 per cent of schools failed to demonstrate that they had a medical conditions policy and the 46 per cent of schools that did have a medical conditions policy were not compliant with the legislation.

When the Alliance asked in early 2017, only 11.5 per cent of schools in England could provide an adequate medical conditions policy that meets statutory guidance. By law, all should have this policy.

72 per cent of schools reported that Ofsted did not ask about their medical conditions policy during their latest inspection. 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 to take action to ensure that schools are aware of the new duty and are effectively implementing it.

Statistics from our 2017 investigation

  • When asked in early 2017, only 11.5 per cent of schools in England could provide an adequate medical conditions policy that meets statutory guidance. All should by law have this policy.
  • 72 per cent of schools report that Ofsted did not ask about their medical conditions policy during their latest inspection.
  • Only 17 per cent of local authorities confirmed that they had a medical conditions policy

Download our full report

On 1 March 2017, Alliance presented evidence from the investigation at a joint meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Diabetes and the APPG for Epilepsy. The audience of over 20 MPs and many parents also heard compelling evidence from experts and several parents who have significant stress and hardship due to schools not having correct procedures and policies in place. The report, which was signed by the majority of MPs who attended, supports the Alliance’s calls to government and Ofsted.

Download the full APPG report

    • 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.
    • 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 did not demonstrate a commitment to urgent action.
    • 29 April 2016
      The Alliance wrote a second time renewing its request for urgent action to be taken.
    • 17 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.
    • 29 July 2016
      A meeting was scheduled between Department for Education representatives and the Alliance. 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.
    • 25 October 2016
      The Alliance met with Nick Caedel, Andrew Hudson and Sally Hollick at the Department for Education to discuss what collaborative awareness raising can be achieved to ensure that schools are aware of their duty to children with medical conditions.
    • 11 November 2016
      Letter to Sir Michael Wilshaw, Chief Inspector at Ofsted, highlighting the issue and the role Ofsted must play in addressing it.
    • 22 November 2016
      Sir Michael Wilshaw responded directing the Alliance’s letter to Sean Harford, National Director of Education who will respond on behalf of Ofsted.
    • 25 November 2016
      Sean Harford’s responded to our letter. He noted his interest in the issues surrounding supporting children with medical conditions in schools and Department for Education’s responsibility to make schools aware of their duty to support children with medical conditions. He highlighted Ofsted’s use of the School inspection handbook, which guides inspectors on how to assess the needs of children with medical conditions. He also mentioned that Ofsted inspections do not have the capacity to compliance check all statutory requirement on schools. But that Ofsted are keen to meet with the Alliance to discuss how the inspection process can support schools on making them aware of the legislation.
    • 10 January 2017
      Alliance responds to Sean Harford’s letter. We agreed that Department for Education need to improve how they make schools aware of statutory guidance. The Alliance accepted the invitation to meet with Ofsted that was arranged for the 30th January 2017.
    • 30 January 2017
      Alliance meets with Joanne Hall, Deputy Director of Schools and John Malyn Principal Officer for Schools to see how Ofsted can support and check schools h have the right processes in place to support children with medical conditions.
    • 2 February 2017
      The Alliance thank Ofsted for the meeting and reiterate the action points discussed.
    • 27 February 2017
      The Alliance met with Nick Caedel and Andrew Hudson to discuss moving forward the collaborative awareness raising communications to schools, regarding he need to implement the duty.
    • 3 April 2017
      The Alliance is yet to have a response to the letter we sent Ofsted in February, so a number of Alliance member CEOs have written to Sean Harford asking for response to the issues raised in the meeting.

What is needed

Schools must be made aware of the need to have a medical conditions policy that meets statutory requirements. The Department for Education and its Minister Gavin Williams must take action to ensure all children with medical conditions are kept safe in school by making schools aware of their duty.

Schools must be monitored to ensure they are implementing suitable medical conditions policies. So we are calling on Ofsted to routinely check schools have a supporting children with medical conditions policy in place that follows the Department for Education Statutory Guidance.

Our work in the media






Ofsted inspections and checking medical conditions polices in schools

The Alliance has evidence of schools achieving a good or outstanding Ofsted inspection results, while failing 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. We therefore see 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.

Working with Ofsted.

Having met with Ofsted at the end of January. Sean Harford, National Director for Education, has now written to all inspectors with the following message:

    • Section 100 of the Children and Families Act 2014 places a duty on schools to support pupils with medical conditions. As part of making arrangements for supporting pupils with medical conditions, schools must have a Supporting pupils with medical conditions policy and must have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State; this guidance is published at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-pupils-at-school-with-medical-conditions--3.
    • When making judgements on the effectiveness of leadership and management, safeguarding, personal development, behaviour and welfare, inspectors will pay particular attention to the outcomes for specified groups, including children and learners with medical conditions. Inspectors are reminded that they should consider how schools are meeting the needs of pupils with medical conditions. Inspectors should consider the school’s policy and its implementation as part of looking at how a school is supporting the welfare and the teaching and learning of pupils with medical conditions.

View the full message that was sent in their School inspection newsletter.


Safe in School FAQ

To help answer some queries we often get from parents, schools and healthcare professionals have a read of our frequently asked questions.

Contact Us

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