On this page you will find information and practical advice for children and young people support that are unable to attend school regularly due to long term medical and mental health needs and further information on specific conditions and diagnoses

What should schools do to support medical needs?

Schools should have a policy for supporting pupils with medical needs, that is regularly reviewed. You should be able to view this policy on the school's website.

Schools do not need to wait for a formal diagnosis, to provide support to your child.                       

If your child's medical condition is unclear then the school should seek further medical advice, so that a judgement can be made about what support may be needed.                     

If your child has missed 15 or more days of school, in an academic year, due to their long term medical condition. Their school should support them by providing a suitable education. This could be through things such as:

  • work being sent home
  • an IT application for learning
  • home tuition
  • an Individual Health Care Plan (IHCP)
  • a referral to the Medical Needs Teaching Service (MNTS)

What have young people said they want?

In September 2018, the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust and Leeds City Council held a conference for young people who have a long term conditions called 'In Your Shoes'.

The aim was to gain a better understanding of the needs of children and young people, to be able to support them better.                              

The young people requested 7 outcomes that they felt would make a difference in school to support their attendance. These were:

  • A link member of staff that understands their condition and needs.
  • An Individual Health Care Plan (IHCP) to support their needs.
  • That the Individual Health Care plan (IHCP) is shared with all relevant staff.
  • All staff to have an awareness and understanding of different medical conditions.
  • Regular two way communication when they are not in school.
  • A more more understanding and supportive approach, e.g. not sending automated texts and letters to parents.
  • To be recognised for their attendance and not to be excluded from attendance rewards.

The education experience of the young people and the changes they feel would make a difference are captured in this video.

The consultation led to Leeds developing 3 aspirations for every school. These were to:

  • consider reasonable adjustments for recording attendance for pupils with long term medical conditions
  • consider which pupils school need an Individual Health Care Plan (IHCP)
  • consider having a key point of contact for a pupil with a long term medical condition

What is an IHCP?

An IHCP is a plan for children and young people with on-going medical needs. It is used to ensure that schools know how to support your child effectively and clearly explains what needs to be done, when and by who. It should be reviewed annually, or earlier if your child's needs have changed.                                

You should be involved in the process of writing and reviewing the plan, along with any relevant medical professionals. If possible, your child should be also be involved in any discussions about their medical support needs and be able to contribute to the development of their plan.

When developing an Individual Health Care Plan the following should be considered:                                 

  • The medical condition, signs, symptoms and treatments.
  • The child’s resulting needs, including medication.
  • The level of support needed - If a child is self-managing their medication, this should be clearly stated with appropriate arrangements for monitoring.
  • Who will provide this support and their training needs.
  • Arrangements for written permission from parents and the headteacher for medication to be administered by a member of staff or self-administered by the pupil during school hours.
  • Arrangements for school trips or other school activities.
  • What to do in the event of an emergency, including who to contact, and contingency arrangements.

What is the difference between an EHCP and an IHCP?

An Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) is a legal document that outlines any special educational needs and the provision that the local authority must put in place to support a child or young person.                                

An Individual Health Care Plan (IHCP) is not a legal document, but is good practice. It is developed in partnership between the school, parents, child and relevant healthcare professionals. The aim is to make sure that the schools knows how to support the child or young person, being clear about what needs to be done, when and by whom.                                

Both documents should be reviewed at least once every 12 months, or earlier if the pupils needs have changed.                                

Do you need a diagnosis for an IHCP?

No. Some pupils may be awaiting a diagnosis or may never receive a diagnosis, such as those who have medically unexplained symptoms or rare new conditions, but they will still have a medical need. They may require reasonable adjustments to the symptoms they are experiencing.                                

Does an IHCP need a medical professional's input?

Yes and this input can happen in a few ways. For example:                                 

  • A hospital consultant or a specialist nurse may directly fill in part of the IHCP
  • A specialist plan could be provided and attached to the ICHP, such as an an asthma care plan or an epliepsy emergency plan.
  • A medical professional may advice who needs some training to provide relevant medical assistance and who can provide this training.

What is the medical needs teaching service?

Leeds offers a medical needs teaching service to children who:                                 

  • are aged five to 16
  • are unable to attend their mainstream school due to their medical or health needs
  • have missed more than 15 days of school in the academic year

A team of specialist teachers work across a range of different school settings to teach young people an age appropriate core curriculum. This includes English, Math and Science. Their aim is to make sure young people can continue to access education and allow them to return to their own school.                                 

Referrals to this service is on the advice of a medical professional who manages the child or young person’s treatment pathway.                                 

You can find more information about this service on the Medical Needs Teaching Service (MNTS) page.                                

Specific conditions and diagnoses

If you would like to know more about a specific condition or diagnosis, please click here. 


Useful resources

Leeds Sendiass are not responsible for the content of sites or services offered by third parties.

You can find more links on our Useful SEND resource page.