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Concern about guidance for pupils with medical conditions

12 August 2014

In September 2014, governing bodies of maintained and academy schools will have a statutory duty to ‘make arrangements’ for pupils with medical conditions. The proposed accompanying guidance was issued in April and requires governing bodies to, amongst other things, develop a policy for supporting pupils with medical conditions and ensuring sufficient staff have received suitable training and are competent to take responsibility for such pupils.

The guidance stresses the importance of involving relevant healthcare professionals, including GPs, in developing medical arrangements and training staff. However, GP representatives have recently criticised the changes, arguing that they have not been adequately consulted and that these extra demands will increase GP workloads further. There have also been suggestions that GPs could charge schools for providing the support envisaged under the guidance.

Until this issue is resolved between the DfE and healthcare professionals, schools will have to walk the difficult line between putting in place a policy which complies with statutory guidance and one that is workable in practice.

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