• Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions

    We are aware of growing concerns around the treatment by schools of children with crohns and colitis, most recently around the issue of children being penalised for non-attendance because they have attended medical appointments. The government’s own guidance makes clear this is unacceptable practice and should not be sanctioned by a school’s board of governors, who should be upholding the government guidance and ensuring children with medical conditions are not discriminated against, nor made to feel singled out because of their condition.

    On page 23, the guidance describes Unacceptable practice

    Governing bodies should ensure that the school’s policy is explicit about what practice is not acceptable.

    Further advice:
    Although school staff should use their discretion and judge each case on its merits with reference to the child’s individual healthcare plan, it is not generally acceptable practice to:
    • prevent children from easily accessing their inhalers and medication and administering their medication when and where necessary;
    • assume that every child with the same condition requires the same treatment;
    • ignore the views of the child or their parents; or ignore medical evidence or opinion (although this may be challenged);
    • send children with medical conditions home frequently for reasons associated with their medical condition or prevent them from staying for normal school activities, including lunch, unless this is specified in their individual healthcare plans;
    • if the child becomes ill, send them to the school office or medical room unaccompanied or with someone unsuitable;
    penalise children for their attendance record if their absences are related to their medical condition, e.g. hospital appointments (our emphasis)
    • prevent pupils from drinking, eating or taking toilet or other breaks whenever they need to in order to manage their medical condition effectively;
    • require parents, or otherwise make them feel obliged, to attend school to administer medication or provide medical support to their child, including with toileting issues. No parent should have to give up working because the school is failing to support their child’s medical needs; or
    • prevent children from participating, or create unnecessary barriers to children participating in any aspect of school life, including school trips, e.g. by requiring parents to accompany the child.

     

    CiCRA are keen to hear from parents who feel their children are not being treated appropriately by their school, so we can gather evidence for a campaign to change the approach schools are taking, and to understand how widespread this issue seems to be. Please contact us if you would like to share your story.