What is a Healthcare Plan?
A healthcare plan describes the needs of a child with a chronic (long-term) medical condition. This sets out the school’s responsibility to offer support to that child, ensuring that ‘the school and external learning environments and teaching are offered in a safe and inclusive way’.
The plan should include the following:
- A photo identity of the child and full name
- Details and explanations of their medical condition
- A brief explanation of how the condition may affect them on a day-to-day basis
- What is normal and okay on a day-to-day basis. For example, becoming a little breathless
- Which aspects of the school day or the environment they may find difficult, for example walking up flights of stairs carrying a heavy bag
- A plan detailing the support that has been put in pace to solve the issues identified. For example, a child being able to leave the classroom early, and allowed to store their textbooks in each room they are taught in.
- Signs to watch out for that indicate that a child’s condition is deteriorating together with clearly described response processes.
- A list of contact points and when to call them
Who writes the Healthcare Plan?
The main contributor should be the parent(s). They will, however, need to collaborate with their child’s specialist nurses and the school’s special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO). A common misconception is that it is the sole job of the specialist nurses to write the plan, when in reality they should just be involved to check the information and answer questions if needs be.
Who needs to know about the Healthcare Plan?
After writing the healthcare plan, it is essential that all teachers/ support staff that are involved with that pupil meet to ensure a thorough understanding of the child’s needs. It is also a good idea for the photograph of any pupil with a health need up in the staff room, medical room or department office. It is not advisable to put these photos in the classroom, as they could be on public display.
How often does a Healthcare Plan need updating?
The healthcare plan should be reviewed yearly unless there are any changes to the child’s medical condition. Whenever there is a change in teaching staff or the child moves classes, the plan must be revisited to ensure that all staff involved are fully informed about the child’s needs in school.
What should I do if the school refuses to create a Healthcare Plan?
Most schools will be more than willing to set out a plan to ensure that a child can be kept safe within school. They are responsible for the child during the school day and they will want to make sure that all of the school team are informed of the child’s medical condition and associated challenges.
If there is a disagreement about your child’s needs, there are a number of approaches to solving the issue:
- Arrange a private meeting with the headteacher and SENCO
- Ask the hospital medical team to write a letter to the headteacher explaining the added needs
If the headteacher will not take the issues forward, then contact the chair of the governing body at the school. The government guidelines lay out the governor’s responsibility for the support of a child with a long-term medical condition within school.
Download the Department for Education template below for Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions