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Cardiff Council

Supporting learners with healthcare needs

​At some point in their education, most learners will have a short-term healthcare need which can easily be managed by the school. 

There are a small number of learners who have a healthcare need that has a longer lasting impact, which needs further planning and support. This is an individual healthcare plan (IHCP). The healthcare plan should make sure learners have access to full education which includes going on school trips and taking part in physical education (PE).

Working as a team

Supporting learners with their healthcare needs can be as simple as helping them take a course of medicine. For others, it may be more complex. Whatever the healthcare need, it is important that the you work as part of a team with the school and your child to plan and prepare the care needed. The team can also include health professionals, such as a specialist nurse or paediatrician. 

  • The learner must always be at the heart of the process when making decisions which affect them and planning the care they will need at school. 
  • Schools should make sure their Healthcare Needs Policy is shared with families and they take time to explain the policy to the family if needed. 
  • Schools should provide a main point of contact that you and your child can access to discuss their healthcare needs and change the plan if needed. 
  • Schools should not ignore the parents, carers, or learners views, or any healthcare advice given to help them meet the learners needs. 
  • Schools should work collaboratively with any healthcare professionals involved with the child, and make sure there are enough staff who are trained to support learners with healthcare needs. If training is needed to support the healthcare needs (for example, tube feeds), the appropriate NHS team will provide this. ​

Creating an individual healthcare plan (IHCP)

If your child has a healthcare need, it does not necessarily mean they need an individual healthcare plan (IHCP). IHCP’s should be put in place if your child has a healthcare need that requires support during the school day. 

An IHCP should set out what is needed to support your child’s healthcare needs while they are at school. This could be regular support or intervention to maintain a condition or where there is a high risk an emergency situation may occur. 

The IHCP should be written with support from a healthcare professional if needed. The IHCP should be easily accessible to anyone who may need to refer to it, whilst remaining confidential and being sensitive to your child’s views. 

Providing medication

You must provide any medication that is listed in the IHCP. All the medication must: 

  • be in date,
  • be labelled correctly with the original pharmacy label on the correct container, and
  • include instructions for dosage, administration, and storage. 

Where possible, you should give your child their medication at home, outside of school hours. It is your responsibility to dispose or any unused medication. Schools will send home any medication that has gone out of date or is no longer needed. 

Sharing healthcare information

Sharing healthcare information can be a sensitive issue, and you must make sure that you and your child are happy with who this information is shared with, and how the information is shared. 

If you do not want the information to be shared, it is important that you talk to the school so you can come to an agreement. 

If there are any restrictions with sharing information, it may affect the school’s ability to safely support your child.

Additional guidance in school

When caring for your child in school, it is unacceptable for the school to: 

  • stop your child from attending school, unless there is evidence that it would be likely to cause harm to the child or others.
  • need you to attend school trips or any off-site activities to administer medication or provide support. This includes toileting. 
  • stop your child from accessing their inhalers or other medication.
  • stop children from drinking, eating, or taking toilet or other breaks when they need this to manage their healthcare needs. Schools should never ask your child to leave the activity or classroom if they need to administer non-personal medication or consume food. ​


© 2022 Cardiff Council