Absence and Medical
Illness in school
Although we do the best we can, there is no comfortable, quiet place for children in the school when they are ill. We will contact you and look after your child until you collect him/her if they are unwell. If a child suffers a serious accident, the parents will be contacted immediately. Could we encourage you to keep your child at home if he/she appears unwell. It is almost certain that coming to school will make matters worse and prolong the recovery.
Medicines can be administered in school once a consent form is completed by parents and signed by the Headteacher. Children, who suffer from asthma and need inhalers in school, should provide the school with their doctor’s authorisation and detailed information on the administration and use of the inhalers prescribed. These measures need to be taken for the safety of your children.
Supporting pupils with medical needs
We recognise that children may require support for acute, short term and long term conditions. Acute conditions are for example severe asthma attacks or allergic reactions. Short term conditions are for example finishing a course of antibiotics. Long term conditions are for example controlled epilepsy, diabetes, asthma requiring daily use of an inhaler, managing a stoma bag and use of a feeding tube.
We recognise that children who need support for medical needs have the same rights of admission as other children and that children who have a disability are protected from discrimination by equalities legislation. Parents will be assisted in selecting the most suitable school or setting for their child in the admissions procedure. Some children may need support from social services or community nurses or they may need to attend a special school.
We expect parents to refrain from presenting a child who is unwell (or unfit to attend as advised by a medical practitioner). When we refuse admission or require children to leave for medical reasons it will only be if they need to receive emergency treatment or if their presence is a significant and not easily controlled risk to the health or safety of our personnel or of other children, for example if they are infectious e.g. they have influenza. We will only refuse admission or send children home after consultation with parents. For the purposes of attendance at school this would be an authorised absence not exclusion.
We will as far as is reasonable and operationally practical support parents who wish to provide their own support, for example by attending to administer medicine. We will not compel parents to attend to provide support and we will have the capacity to support children’s medical needs without relying solely on parents.
We expect parents to adopt practices which reduce the need for support outside the home, for example up to three times daily medications should be able to be administered prior to attending, after attending and in the evening and for asthma regular use of the preventer (brown) at home administered by parents will reduce the risk of asthma symptoms and the need to use the reliever (blue) in school.
We expect parents to empower their children to self manage where they are capable. We will make self management plans with parents and record parental consent on Form 1. We have a presumption against children carrying medicine unless it is emergency medicine such as an adrenaline pen or an asthma inhaler. Where children carry their own pen we will keep a spare readily available.
For asthma it is likely that children in years 5 and 6 and onwards can carry their own inhaler but if needed more than twice during the school day an adult must be informed. Where children carry their own inhaler we will keep a spare if a spare has been prescribed by a health care professional. If children do not carry their own inhaler then we will store it in an easily accessible place.
Support for simple needs (e.g. supervision of a dose of antibiotics)
We will appoint volunteer personnel to provide support and we will inform and communicate with other personnel who are ‘in loco parentis’ in order that they have the knowledge to obtain medical assistance when necessary. Parents will need to fill in a Consent Form.
Support for complex needs (including severe asthma)
We will appoint volunteer personnel to provide support and we will inform and communicate with other personnel who are ‘in loco parentis’ in order that they have the knowledge to obtain medical assistance when necessary. We will use Form 2 to make a Health Care Plan in partnership with the PCT and parents and to record parental consent.
- Publish this policy in an easily accessible place for example the school or setting web site, implement the policy, establish an effective management system to support children with medical needs, appoint volunteer personnel to provide support and ensure that they are trained and use the correct procedures. We will inform and communicate with other personnel who are ‘in loco parentis’ in order that they have the knowledge to obtain medical assistance when necessary.
- Communicate with parents, children and health professionals where necessary, for example in making a support plan or health care plan.
- Provide facilities for safe storage of healthcare support materials and medicine and for safe disposal of waste.
- Ensure that at least one named adult is present and responsible for support on every organised trip and visit.
- Ensure that no prescription or non-prescription medicine is administered without parental consent.
- Maintain the medical confidentiality of the child.
- Not present children if they are infectious with a condition which is a significant and not easily controlled risk to the health or safety of our personnel or other children, for example if they have influenza.
- Read and understand the policy on supporting children with medical needs.
- Inform us if their child needs support.
- Inform us if children need to take medicine during hours of attendance.
- Cooperate with us in making a written plan to support their child.
- Provide sufficient information about the child’s condition and support needs and provide details of any changes to their prescription or the support required in good time.
- Give consent for our personnel to provide support otherwise it will not be possible to support their child lawfully.
- Inform us in good time if their child is not medically fit to attend or go on a trip (note that as far as is reasonable we will plan trips in order that all pupils can attend).
Employees appointed to provide support must:
- Fully understand the support plan and the procedures for providing support, safe storage and safe disposal of waste.
- Store medicines as instructed by a GP or pharmacist.
- Inform us and the parent forthwith and as soon as practicable if support is not provided in accordance with the plan.
- Maintain the medical confidentiality of the child.
- Not provide support unless they have been appointed and trained as necessary.
- Not make a record of support unless they have personally provided or witnessed support.
- Not force children who refuse to take medication. Record refusals and inform the parent forthwith.
Transport, packaging, labeling, storage and dispensing of medicines and materials
Our policy is that in general non-emergency medicine should not carried by children especially early years and primary school children. Older children in primary and secondary schools will generally be able to carry their own emergency medicines e.g. carry their own asthma inhaler or adrenaline pen. It is our policy that controlled drugs are kept in a locked cabinet and managed by an appointed person notwithstanding the fact that it is lawful for children to carry prescribed controlled drugs.
We expect parents to deliver a weekly supply of medicine directly to the headteacher, setting manager or their appointed person in a labelled container as originally dispensed. We will make a record of receipt, dispensing and disposal should be made Form 3. We will not accept medication in non original, unlabelled or DIY style labelled containers.
We will keep medicines at the school or setting while the child is in attendance and we will store it in accordance with product instructions, in the original container and correctly labelled as dispensed. We will keep medicines in an easily accessible place secure from access by children. We will keep controlled drugs in a locked cabinet. If we keep medicines which require refrigeration in a fridge with foodstuffs we will keep them in an airtight container. We will inform children where their own medication is stored and who is the key holder.
We will only store medicine that is clearly labelled with the original dispensing label, which should include:
- Name of medication
- Child’s name
- Dosage frequency
- Date of dispensing
- Storage requirements (if important)
- Expiry date (if available)
Educational trips and visits
We will ensure that at least one named adult is present and responsible for support on every journey. We will not administer prescription or non-prescription medicine under any circumstances without parental consent.
We will plan trips and visits so that all pupils can attend, as far as is reasonable.
Disposal of waste
We will return unused or out of date medicines to the parent for safe disposal (by return to the dispensing or local pharmacy). Where this is not possible we will return medicines to the dispensing or local pharmacy.
We will dispose of medical waste in an appropriate manner. We will provide a medical waste bin, a sharps bin and a collection service if necessary.
In general we will only administer medicine that has been prescribed by a doctor, dentist or nurse or recommended by a nurse or pharmacist. Should children need painkillers (for e.g. migraine, period pain etc) we will consider making an agreement with parents where the parent grants consent and supplies the medication and we supervise the child. In such cases we will record parental consent on Form 1 and we will notify parents if the child takes a dose.
We expect parents to obtain a prescription that does not need us to administer or supervise. For example some ‘three times daily’ medicine need not be supervised or administered in schools or settings as the recommended dosage can be taken before and after attending. Some ‘four times daily’ medicine will require supervision of the midday dose.
Some medicines are controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act and its associated regulations. The doctor prescribing these medicines is responsible for informing the parent that the medicine belongs to this category e.g. Methylphenadinate (Ritalin, Equasym). Any personnel administering these medicines should do so in exact accordance with the prescriber’s instructions. Whilst it is lawful for children to carry prescribed controlled drugs it is our policy that controlled drugs are kept in a locked cabinet and managed by an appointed person.
Administration of these medicines must be checked and countersigned by two members of personnel. Records must be made on Form 3 for audit and safety purposes.