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Long-term health conditions at school

If your child has a long-term health condition, such as asthma or diabetes, talk to their school about how their condition will be managed during the school day.

There are more than a million children in the UK who have a long-term, or even lifelong, illness and need medicines for the foreseeable future.

Children with medical needs have the same rights of admission to schools as other children.

Schools are legally obliged to ensure that all children with health needs are properly supported in school and have full access to education, including school trips and PE.

Schools, local authorities, health professionals and other support services are advised to work together to ensure that children with medical conditions receive a full education.

Common long-term health conditions in schoolchildren

Common long-term conditions that mainstream schools can manage include diabetes, asthma, epilepsy and allergies.

If your child has a long-term health condition, your school must ensure that arrangements are in place to support them. 

The school may draw up an individual healthcare plan to help staff identify any necessary safety measures. This will help to protect your child and ensure that others aren't put at risk. As a parent, you and your child should be fully involved with and contribute as much as possible to the individual health plan.

How to talk to the school about your child's health condition

If your child has recently been diagnosed with a long-term condition, or you have a child with a long-term condition who is about to start school, contact your child's school to discuss how it will be managed.

Talk to your child's GP or hospital specialist about the information you'll need to give the school. They can also give you advice on the arrangements that the school may have to make, such as keeping medicines on site or helping to administer medicines. The information you give the school should include:

  • details of medicines your child needs to take and when they're needed
  • any side effects of the medicines
  • what constitutes an emergency
  • what to do, and not to do, in an emergency
  • special requirements, such as dietary needs, and measures that must be taken before your child is physically active
  • whether your child will need to be absent from school regularly to meet medical appointments.

Discuss with your GP or consultant how your child's condition should be managed during the school day. For example, it may be possible to prescribe medicine for your child that can be taken before and after school, instead of in the middle of the day. It will probably be easier if your child's condition can be managed effectively with minimal involvement from the school.

What to expect from the school

Your child's school should have a medical conditions policy setting out how it supports children with long-term conditions. This policy will usually be published on the school's website. If it isn't, ask the school for a copy.

This policy will cover the following:

  • How medicines will be managed and administered during the school day. Any member of staff administering medicines should be fully trained.
  • How medicines will be managed and administered during school outings.
  • Who the school will contact if there's an emergency.
  • How the school will meet special needs, such as diet.
  • How the school will help your child to participate in physical activity and school trips, if needed.
  • The school should be able to agree with you on how it will manage your child's condition during the school day. 

Read our information on learning difficulties.

Article provided by NHS Choices

See original on NHS Choices


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Page last reviewed: 29/10/2023

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