Managing Medicines in Schools

Managing Medicines in Schools addresses the issues surrounding children’s medical needs in primary schools and how to deal with them.

Most children will have times when an illness or a condition will affect their participation in school. For some, it will cause little disruption, whilst for others it may cause regular or permanent limitation to their access to education.

Most children with medical needs are able to attend school regularly and, with proper support from school and family can take part in most normal school activities.

However, this needs careful planning by the school and an understanding from children and their families of the policy and procedures that the school is operating.
There is considerable confusion about how to manage all this and some understandable concern from governors, headteachers and teachers that they do not put either children or staff at risk.

A growing number of children need to take medicines while at school or need support because of special medical needs.

Yet in far too many schools there is still uncertainty and fear surrounding these issues. At best, this situation causes irritation, at worst, it could cost lives.

Joe Harvey, previous director of the Health Education Trust, wrote the first Managing Medicines in Schools guidance in 1999. Since then, the Department for Education (DfE) has updated the guidance with new additional regulations. The latest guidance by DfE, Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions, puts a duty on schools to provide appropriate support for pupils to be able to attend the school with any medical condition.

The work currently undertaken in secondary schools around allergy awareness and management falls under the managing medical conditions in schools work that the Health Education Trust can be involved in.