Last updated: 24.10.13

Teachers to receive child healthcare training

Teachers at UK schools are set to be trained in dealing with health emergencies and helping pupils with long-term conditions like asthma and epilepsy.

Following campaigning from an alliance of health charities, the Department of Education (DoE) is making it compulsory for facilities to ensure their institution draws up plans for each child with an ongoing medical problem.

Schools must also devise a clear policy that is accepted by staff, pupils and parents and show employees how to properly store and access medication.

Training is also to be delivered to make sure there are emergency procedures in place should an incident involving an ill child occur.

This comes after a recent survey conducted by Asthma UK revealed that less than one-quarter (24 per cent) of teachers are confident they would know what to do if a pupil had an attack.

Diabetes is one condition that staff at many schools are unsure how to handle, meaning in some cases parents have to come in to help their child inject their insulin. However, the DoE amendment would ensure that, in future, this doesn't have to happen.

Diabetes UK's director for planning and support services Caroline Moore has welcomed the changes, but claimed they must be followed up with statutory guidance detailing exactly what schools need to provide.

Meanwhile, Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, suggested "this is one of those things that is easy to say, easy to agree with and difficult to implement".

However, with the help of online training providers, schools are likely to find that informing teachers about how to act in a situation involving a sick child is in fact simple to do, and cost-effective.

Virtual College in particular is one company that offers modules in several areas of kids' healthcare, including The Safe Use of Insulin, Childhood Obesity and HENRY, Safeguarding Children with Disabilities and An Introduction to the Autism Spectrum.