ADVICE FOR SCHOOLS
Where to start with supporting students with medical/mental health needs in school.
Supporting children, young people, and their families
- Talk with the young person and their family about their medical needs. They're the experts in how it affects them and the challenges they face.
- Listen carefully to understand what they're telling you and ask questions to gain a better understanding of their specific needs.
- It's important to know the latest government policy and how it applies to your school, see: Supporting pupils with medical conditions at school
- Know what student rights are in relation to medical needs, see: Illness and your child's education and Children with medical needs: What schools and settings need to know
- Work in partnership with parents and carers and medical professionals to draw up an Individual healthcare plan (IHP)
- Discuss and put in place interventions that support catch-up with school work after a hospital admission.
Whole school policy and systems
- Make staff aware of the school policy on supporting children with medical needs and how best they can support its implementation.
- Arrange staff training on specific medical needs or procedures (community nurses offer a range of training from epi pen to PEG training).
- Ensure school policies relating to trips and school social time ensure equal access to all pupils through reasonable adjustment and an inclusive approach.
- Review communication systems relating to ensuring that all relevant staff fully understand the needs of the student.
- Ensure school attendance policies and reward schemes do not exclude children that are absent due to chronic illness.
Advice to SENDCOs
- Get in touch with the designated community nursing team in your local authority as well as the local medical PRU, Alternative Provision or tuition services, who may be able to offer support.
- If the child is in hospital, then develop links with the hospital school/key hospital ward staff (invite to EHC/PEP reviews as well as meetings such as CIN meetings where appropriate)
- Know what resources are out there (e.g. assessments such as the boxhall profile and readiness to reintegrate scale)
- Use the information on this site on returning to school and supporting siblings.
- For students with significant learning needs you can help support their time in hospital by sending in their pupil profiles, behaviour support plans, communication books/strategies so that both hospital and hospital school staff can continue to implement these interventions and ensure that the students have familiarity in a difficult environment and the opportunity to have their voice heard.
- Discuss and implement plans for allowing a student extra time (e.g. late to school due to physiotherapy appointments/medications, the time needed for the student to move between classes, extra time to organise themselves/process situations/classwork). Make sure information is communicated to all who need to know it and review and update as needed.