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Education Update June 2014

This Education Update comments on:

  • DfE guidance "Supporting pupils with medical conditions in our schools" published in advance of new duty; and
  • New school governance regulations 2014 and statutory guidance published.

Guidance on forthcoming duty to support pupils with medical conditions

From September 2014 maintained schools, academies, alternative provision academies, and PRUs will have a statutory duty to make arrangements for supporting pupils at school with medical conditions, and to have regard to the related guidance (s100 Children and Families Act 2014).

The guidance "Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions" was issued by the DfE on 30 April, replacing "Managing medicines in schools and early settings 2005". The guidance has been issued in advance of the duty coming into force, providing schools with the detail of the requirements, which include (amongst other things):

  • The development and regular review of a policy for supporting pupils with medical conditions, which is made available to staff and parents.
  • The identification of a named person with overall responsibility for implementing the policy.
  • Procedures to be followed when a school is notified that a pupil has a medical condition.
  • Liaison with treating medical professionals, parents, and (where appropriate) pupils to put in place appropriate individual healthcare plans.
  • Procedures to be put in place to manage medicines on school premises.
  • Procedures to be set out for dealing with emergencies.
  • Written records are to be kept of all medicines administered to children.
  • That staff are appropriately trained and supported to deal with the medical conditions of pupils at the school.

Comment

Although schools will already have procedures in place for dealing with pupils' medical conditions, it is important that schools and governing bodies make themselves familiar with the requirements of the new guidance, and take steps to ensure compliance. The new duty comes into force in September, and the guidance notes that Ofsted will expect schools to have the relevant policy in place and be able to demonstrate that it is implemented effectively.

Whilst more concise than the 2005 version, the revised guidance contains a raft of requirements, for example in terms of the content of the policy and procedures. Overall emphasis is placed on a more local, integrated approach, as well as highlighting the need to focus on the individual pupil through implementation of individual health plans.

The new guidance will also need to be considered when making both government and school policy in relation to particular medical conditions. For example, the DfE is currently consulting with the UK Health Departments and MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) to amend regulations to allow schools to administer salbutamol inhalers in an emergency. If these proposals go ahead the new guidance will need to be read alongside the amendments.

A copy of the guidance can be viewed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/306952/ Statutory_guidance_on_supporting_pupils_at_school_with_medical_conditions.pdf

New school governance regulations 2014 and related statutory guidance

On 14 May 2014, the School Governance (Constitution and Federations) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/1257) were made.
All governing bodies will need to be reconstituted under the new regulations by 1 September 2015. Newly constituted governing bodies must not be smaller than 7, and must include:

  • At least 2 parent governors.
  • The head (unless the head resigns as governor).
  • One, and only one, designated staff governor.
  • One, and only one, designated local authority governor.

The governing body may appoint as many additional co-opted governors as they consider necessary, so long as the total number of staff governors (including the head and the designated staff governor) is not more than 1/3 of the whole.

In essence the changes are designed to provide greater flexibility to governing bodies, who can focus on the skill sets required to create an effective governing body, rather than fitting into particular categories of governor.

The statutory guidance covers matters such as the impact of decisions regarding composition and membership of the governing body on effective governance, the different categories of governor, how governing bodies are to be constituted, terms of office, removal and disqualification of governors, and how instruments of government are made and amended.

A copy of the new regulations and guidance can be viewed here:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/1257/introduction/made

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/ 311411/Constitution_of_Governing_Bodies_of_Maintained_Schools_Stat_Guidance.pdf