early years foundation stage framework – implications for those caring for children 0-5
The Children and Families Act 2014 was passed in September 2014 and section 100 designates specific responsibility to schools to ensure that pupils with medical needs can fully participate in all aspects of school life.
The aim of the Act; ‘is to ensure that all children with medical conditions, in terms of both physical and mental health, are properly supported in school so that they can play a full and active role in school life, remain healthy and achieve their academic potential.’
What needs to happen:
A named person should be designated for overall responsibility for policy implementation which should include the following:
- who is responsible for ensuring that sufficient staff are suitably trained,
- a commitment that all relevant staff will be made aware of the child’s condition,
- cover arrangements in case of staff absence or staff turnover to ensure someone is always available,
- briefing for supply teachers,
- risk assessments for school visits, holidays, and other school activities outside of the normal timetable, and
- monitoring of individual healthcare plans.
Common sense should prevail and Individual Healthcare plans; although often vital for complex medical conditions and care packages; are not always necessary for less complicated cases. The school, healthcare professional, School Nurse and parent can agree; when a healthcare plan would be disproportionate or inappropriate. However healthcare plans needn’t be over-complicated, they are a short clear guide as to the particular medical need, the triggers, precautions, management and treatment in an emergency.
There is a helpful flow chart contained within the Act detailing how to prepare an individual healthcare plan. School Nurses and various organisations such as Diabetes UK have produced extremely helpful generic health care plan outlines that can be easily adapted to individual pupils. Links to some excellent IHP resources can be found at the end of this article.
The following guidance is taken straight from the Act:
An individual care plan should include:
- Information about the medical condition: triggers, signs, symptoms and treatments;
- the pupil’s resulting needs, including medication (dose, side-effects and storage) and other treatments,
- time, facilities, equipment, testing, access to food and drink where this is used to manage their condition, dietary requirements and environmental issues eg crowded corridors, travel time between lessons;
- specific support for the pupil’s educational, social and emotional needs – for example, how absences will be managed, requirements for extra time to complete exams, use of rest periods or additional support in catching up with lessons, counselling sessions;
- the level of support needed, (some children will be able to take responsibility for their own health needs), including in emergencies. If a child is self-managing their medication, this should be clearly stated with appropriate arrangements for monitoring;
- who will provide this support, their training needs, expectations of their role and confirmation of proficiency to provide support for the child’s medical condition from a healthcare professional; and cover arrangements for when they are unavailable;
- who in the school needs to be aware of the child’s condition and the support required;
- arrangements for written permission from parents and the Headteacher for medication to be administered by a member of staff, or self-administered by the pupil during school hours;
- separate arrangements or procedures required for school trips or other school activities outside of the normal school timetable that will ensure the child can participate, eg risk assessments;
- where confidentiality issues are raised by the parent/child, the designated individuals to be entrusted with information about the child’s condition; and
- what to do in an emergency, including whom to contact, and contingency arrangements. Some children may have an emergency healthcare plan prepared by their lead clinician that could be used to inform development of their individual healthcare plan.
Governing bodies should ensure that sufficient staff have received suitable training and are competent before they take on responsibility to support children with medical conditions. They should also ensure that any members of school staff who provide support to pupils with medical conditions are able to access information and other teaching support materials as needed. Any member of school staff should know what to do and respond accordingly when they become aware that a pupil with a medical condition needs help.
Training should be sufficient to ensure that staff are competent and have confidence in their ability to support pupils with medical conditions, and to fulfil the requirements as set out in individual healthcare plans. They will need an understanding of the specific medical conditions they are being asked to deal with, their implications and preventative measures.
Staff must not give prescription medicines or undertake health care procedures without appropriate training (updated to reflect any individual healthcare plans).
The school’s policy should additionally set out arrangements for whole school awareness training so that all staff are aware of the school’s policy for supporting pupils with medical conditions and their role in implementing that policy. Induction arrangements for new staff should be included. The relevant healthcare professional should be able to advise on training that will help ensure that all medical conditions affecting pupils in the school are understood fully. This includes preventative and emergency measures so that staff can recognise and act quickly when a problem occurs.
The family of a child will often be key in providing relevant information to school staff about how their child’s needs can be met, and parents should be asked for their views. They should provide specific advice, but should not be the sole trainer.
Wherever possible, children should be allowed to carry their own medicines and relevant devices or should be able to access their medicines for self-medication quickly and easily. Children who can take their medicines themselves or manage procedures may require an appropriate level of supervision. If it is not appropriate for a child to self-manage, then relevant staff should help to administer medicines and manage procedures for them.
The Act also contains advice on defibrillators and advises schools to consider purchasing a defibrillator as part of the first aid equipment and also to promote CPR skills throughout the school.
asthma inhalers – once regulations are changed, schools will be able to hold asthma inhalers for emergency use.
First Aid for Life is an award winning and fully regulated First Aid training business and we can help you comply with this Act. Our Medical and Emergency Services Professionals would be delighted to come and provide appropriate training for any schools and clubs and cover specific medical conditions, management, and emergency actions that you would like us to address. We also have highly competitive prices for defibrillators and can provide all AED and First Aid training at your premises or ours.
http://medicalconditionsatschool.org.uk/ – superb resources for schools