Good practice when a pupil has a medical condition

Children or young people in Southampton can have a medical condition that affects their physical or mental health needs. Although this may affect their attendance or access to education they should still be able to:

  • Attend school
  • Access the curriculum
  • Join in with other school activities

Pupils with medical conditions might need reasonable adjustments to be able access these.

School procedures

It is important that you contact your child’s school as soon as possible to update any medical information.

Each school should have a policy and procedure for supporting pupils with medical conditions. This procedure should be active after notification of needs, admission or diagnosis. The details should be within their Supporting Pupils with Medical Needs Policy. We encourage families to speak to their child’s school as soon as possible about this. They should also maintain open and up to date discussions about their child’s medical needs.

The national guidance says:

"Schools do not have to wait for a formal diagnosis before providing support to pupils. In cases where a pupil’s condition is unclear, or where there is a difference of opinion, judgements will be needed about what support to provide based on the available evidence. This would normally involve some sort of medical evidence and consultation with parents. Where evidence conflicts, some degree of challenge may be necessary to ensure that the right support can be put in place."

Support should concentrate on meeting the needs of your child. It should not be subject to blanket decision-making policies.

Procedures within a school’s Supporting Pupils with Medical Needs Policy should include:

  • How to respond to a notification that a pupil has a medical condition, including developing an Individual Healthcare Plan (IHP)
  • Who develops the IHP
  • Who should contribute to the IHP
  • Who to consult e.g. parents and medical professionals
  • Arrangements for monitoring and reviewing IHPs
  • Managing medicines on school premises
  • Transitional arrangements between schools
  • The process for reintegration or for when the pupil needs change
  • Staff training arrangements

Supporting your child

Schools should seek to meet the needs of your child. For example, a child or young person may be suffering from anxiety. With support they may be able to access a school learning support centre. These are small groups rather than larger, mainstream lessons. Early identification helps to make this option available.

There is also an expectation that schools will be creative and flexible in meeting needs. A school must choose how to meet these needs and should be able to show how they are doing this.

Some pupils can attend school part-time and not every day. The school must meet the needs of these pupils. This is especially true when there are medical needs. These needs can be planned for.

Southampton City Council has produced local guidance for schools. This guidance is for meeting the needs of pupils with a medical condition. The council expects schools to follow this guidance. Children should return to full time education quickly.

Any reduction in timetable should always meet the child’s best interests. Parents can get further information at Reduced Timetables: Advice for parents.

Other services

There are times when other services are likely to be involved. For example, the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) or Children and Families First (once known as Early Help).

It is better to provide focussed support when problems first emerge. The right early help services can prevent emerging problems from getting worse. This avoids problems becoming deep seated or entrenched.

Universal services are services that are available to everyone. These meet most children's, young people's and family's needs in Southampton.

Children and Families First Services provide support to those needing extra help. The Early Help Assessment ensures they receive all the support they deserve. This builds on a One Family, One Worker, One Plan principle. For further information and contact details see Children and Families First (once known as Early Help).

Some pupils with medical needs may also have special educational needs. They and the school may need to work towards an Education Health and Care Plan. Discuss this with the Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO) of your child’s school. The SENCO will tell you if it is appropriate for your child.

Read about Individual Healthcare Plans or return to Pupils with medical needs.