Checking for breathing

New statutory guidance for schools and academies in England was released in April 2014, it is scheduled to come in to force on 1st September 2014. What does it mean for schools?

  • It affects all schools including academies and PRUs (Pupil Referral Units).
  • Pupils at school with medical conditions should be properly support to that they can have full access to education, including school trips and physical education.
  • Governing bodies must ensure arrangements are in place to support pupils at school with medical conditions. In doing so they should ensure that such children can access and enjoy the same opportunities at school as any other child.
  • They should ensure that staff are properly trained to provide support that pupils need. The document explicitly says that regular first aid training is unlikely to be enough.
  • Governing bodies must ensure that policies, plans, procedures and systems are properly and effectively implemented.
  • Governing bodies should ensure arrangements they set up include how the policy will be implemented and a named person in overall charge. This should include who is responsible for ensuring staff are trained, relevant staff will be aware of a child’s condition, cover arrangements for absent staff, briefing of supply teachers, risk assessments for schools visits and outside the normal timetable.
  • Healthcare plans need to be reviewed at least annually.
  • Governors should ensure that the school’s policy sets out how staff supporting these pupils will be trained, how that training need is assessed and by whom the training is provided.
  • The policy should be clear that any member of staff supporting these pupils should be appropriately trained. Staff training must remain up to date.
  • School staff must not give prescription medicines or undertake and procedures without appropriate training. A first aid certificate does not constitute appropriate training. Healthcare staff can provide confirmation of the proficiency of staff in a medical procedure or in providing medication.
  • The school policy should included arrangements for whole school awareness training This includes preventative measures and emergency procedures to deal with problems.
  • When possible, children should be allowed to carry their own medicines and relevant devices for quick self-medication. If this is not appropriate, relevant staff should help to administer and manage these procedures.
  • Medicines should be stored safely, children should know where they are and be able to access them immediately. Medicines/devices such is inhalers, blood glucose testing meters and adrenaline pens should not be locked away. This is particularly important on schools trips.
  • Written records must be kept of any medicines administered to children.
  • Governing bodies should ensure the school policy sets out what should happen in an emergency.
  • Schools are advised to consider purchasing a defibrillator amongst their first aid supplies. A school should notify their local NHS ambulance service of its location. As a minimum, first aiders should be trained in it’s use.
  • Asthma inhalers are currently undergoing a change in legislation to allow schools to hold asthma inhalers for emergency use, although this will be voluntary, the Department of Health will issue guidance.

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