The governing body must ensure that arrangements are in place to support pupils with medical conditions. In doing so they should ensure that such children can access and enjoy the same opportunities at school as any other child.
The governing body should ensure that their arrangements give parents and pupils confidence in the school’s ability to provide effective support for medical conditions in school. The arrangements should show an understanding of how medical conditions impact on a child’s ability to learn, as well as increase their confidence and promote self-care. They should ensure that staff are properly trained to provide the support that pupils need.
Governing bodies should ensure that all schools develop a policy for supporting pupils with medical conditions that is reviewed regularly and is readily accessible to parents and school staff.
Governing bodies should ensure that the arrangements they set up include details on how the school’s policy will be implemented effectively, including a named person who has overall responsibility for policy implementation.
The governing body should ensure that the school’s policy clearly identifies the roles and responsibilities of all those involved in the arrangements they make to support pupils at school with medical conditions.
Governing bodies of maintained schools and management committees of PRUs should ensure that the appropriate level of insurance is in place and appropriately reflects the level of risk (see notes below for clarification about the role of the employer/local authority). Proprietors of academies should ensure that either the appropriate level of insurance is in place or that the academy is a member of the Department for Education’s Risk Protection Arrangements (RPA).
Who the employer is depends on the type of school or for registered day care, how it has been set up. This could be the local authority, governing body, trustees, management board, private individuals, charities, voluntary committee or a private company.
Employers must take out Employers’ Liability Insurance to provide cover for injury to staff acting within the scope of their employment.
The Council fully indemnifies its staff (maintained schools) against claims for alleged negligence, providing they are acting within the scope of their employment and have been provided with appropriate training.
For the purposes of indemnity, the administration of medicines falls within this definition and hence the staff can be reassured about the protection their employer provides.
In practice indemnity means the council and not the employee will meet the cost of damages should a claim for negligence be successful. It is very rare for school staff to be sued for negligence and instead the action will usually be between the parent/carer and the employer.
Staff should at all times follow the guidance provided by South Warwickshire Foundation Trust.
Parents should provide the school with sufficient and up-to-date information about their child’s medical needs. They may in some cases be the first to notify the school that their child has a medical condition.
If the school/setting staff agree to administer medication on a short term or occasional basis, the parent/carer is required to complete a consent form. Verbal instructions should not be accepted.
Only one parent (defined as those with parental responsibility) is required to agree to, or request, that medicines are administered by staff.
If it is known that pupils are self-administering medication in school on a regular basis, a completed consent form is still required from the parent/carer.
Parents are key partners and should be involved in the development and review of their child’s individual healthcare plan, and may be involved in its drafting. They should carry out any action they have agreed to as part of its implementation, e.g. provide medicines and equipment and ensure they or another nominated adult are contactable at all times.
For administration of emergency medication, a Care Plan must be completed by the parent/carer in conjunction with the school nurse and school staff. Minor changes to the Care Plan can be made if signed and dated by the school nurse. If, however, changes are major, a new Care Plan must be completed. Care Plans should be reviewed at least annually. It is the parents’ responsibility to notify school/school nurse of any changes required to the Plan e.g. treatment, symptoms, contact details.
The parent/carer needs to ensure there is sufficient medication and that the medication is in date. The parent/carer must replace the supply of medication at the request of relevant school/health professional. Parents are responsible for ensuring that date-expired medicines are returned to a pharmacy for safe disposal.
Medication should always be provided in an original container with the pharmacist’s original label and the following, clearly shown:-
- Child’s name, date of birth
- Name and strength of medication
- Any additional requirements e.g. in relation to food etc
- Expiry date whenever possible
- Dispensing date
Pupils with medical conditions will often be best placed to provide information about how their condition affects them. They should be fully involved in discussions about their medical support needs and contribute as much as possible to the development of, and comply with, their individual healthcare plan.
The administering of medicines in schools/settings is entirely voluntary and not a contractual duty unless expressly stated within an individual’s job description. Some unions advise staff not to administer medication to pupils. The unions also accept that sometimes it is done. If so they advise that the member of staff has access to information, training and that appropriate insurance is in place. In practice, head teachers/setting leads may agree that medication will be administered or allow supervision of self-administration to avoid a pupil losing teaching time by missing school or a child being unable to attend the setting. Each request should be considered on individual merit and staff have the right to refuse to be involved. It is important that staff who agree to administer medication understand the basic principles and legal liabilities involved, have confidence in dealing with any emergency situations that may arise and have had appropriate training. Although administering medicines is not part of teachers’ professional duties, they should take into account the needs of pupils with medical conditions that they teach.
It is possible for support staff to have duties relating to the administration of medicines written into their core job description. These duties will have to be considered as part of the job evaluation for the role. There would still be a requirement for the member of support staff to receive appropriate training before undertaking relevant duties.
Conditions of employment are individual to each non-maintained early years setting. The setting lead/manager is required to arrange who should administer medicines within a setting, either on a voluntary basis or as part of a contract of employment.
Annual training relating to emergency medication and relevant medical conditions should be undertaken. Advice about this can be obtained from the school nurse/doctor/health visitor/specialist nurse.
Schools should have a named person responsible for dealing with pupils who are unable to attend school because of medical needs.
The school/setting should know if parents are satisfied with the quality of support, guidance and care provided by staff. This includes the level of satisfaction of how well the school/setting liaises with a hospital/hospital school while a child is receiving treatment.