Medical Health Needs

How we can help

Does your child have a health condition affecting their physical health and do you think they might need additional support in school?

If so, you might find the following information useful:

What is available to support my child’s physical health and medical needs in school?

  • Our aim in Birmingham is to ensure that all children with physical health and medical conditions are properly supported in education so they can play as full and active role in school life as possible.
  • Some children may have mild health and medical needs which can be met in school by putting in place usual support, strategies and training that is readily available.
  • Other children have more complex physical health needs which will require a higher level of support.

The Physical Difficulties Support Service (PDSS) is the specialist teaching team with the expertise of supporting children with physical difficulties and complex health and medical needs in local mainstream nurseries and schools.

Here are the some of the physical, health and medical conditions that PDSS currently help support in local mainstream schools:
Children with:
• Long term bowel and bladder conditions
• Cancer
• Epilepsy
• Spinal injury
• Hydrocephalus
• Acquired Brain Injury
• Tracheostomy

Your child may have a different condition that has not been listed above; PDSS will still be able to advise around the support available.

Schools have certain responsibilities to support children with health and medical needs

  • Details of school responsibilities are spelled out in statutory guidance called ‘Supporting Pupils At School with Medical Conditions.’
  • Schools are expected to follow this guidance.

Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions (

Medical Needs Policy

Schools should also have their own Medical Needs Policy which will help guide the support your child will receive in school.

What is a Medical Needs Policy ?

  • The medical needs policy describes how school support their pupils with health and medical needs.
  • The medical needs policy should be published on the school’s website where you can have a look at it.

What might a school Medical Needs Policy have in it ?

  • It will name the member of education staff who has overall responsibility for children with health and medical needs in the school.
  • It will describe how health and education will work together to support your child in school.
  • It will outline the responsibility for staff training around health and medical needs.
  • It will describe the procedures for giving medicines and providing health and medical care/procedures in school.
  • It will mention that for children with more complex health needs an Individual Health Care Plan needs to be in place for school.

What is an Individual Health Care Plan ?

Children with more complex physical health and medical needs should have an Individual Health Care Plan in place. This plan will be developed in partnership between yourself (as a parent/carer), the school, the school nurse and other relevant health professionals.

  • This plan describes your child’s health and medical needs in school.
  • It will cover the support required to meet those needs during the school day.
  • It will describe the procedures that need to be put in place in case of a medical emergency.
  • It will describe how any prescribed medication will be given during the school day.

What else can a school/education setting do to support my child’s health and medical needs?

  • Make adjustments and offer additional educational support, such as making changes in the Physical Education (PE) lesson so your child can be safely included and providing rest breaks.
  • Authorise absence when the cause is demonstrated to be through illness or a health appointment.
  • Arrange for school staff to have training from school nurses and other appropriate health professionals.
  • Involve the specialist teaching team – The Physical Difficulties Support Service
  • Involve other supporting health professionals.

My child has a long-term bowel or bladder conditions and requires changing/and or toileting support. What support can we expect from school?  

  • Schools have an intimate care policy for outlining how the intimate care support for your child will be carried out in school.
  • An Individual Health Care Plan will provide the detail of this care.
  • Ensure the appropriate personal care support is available during the school day if needed.
  1. What is the role of the School Nurse in Birmingham?

The school nurse supports your child in managing any medical conditions so they are able to attend school. This can be done by providing Individual Health Care Plans and delivering particular training. The school nurse can also liaise with specialist nurses and hospitals to ensure children have the correct support to attend school.

Use the link below for further information

  1. What is the role of the health visitor in Birmingham?

Use the link below for further information

How might different therapy services in Birmingham support my child in school?

Some children with medical needs may require an assessment or more specialist advice around medical equipment or therapy. In Birmingham the following therapy teams can support your child in school

  1. What is the role of the NHS Paediatric Physiotherapy Service in Birmingham?

Use this link below for further information

  1. What is the role of the NHS paediatric Occupational Therapy service in Birmingham?

Use this link below for further information

  1. What is the role of the Birmingham City Council Occupational Therapy Service?

This service can support mainstream schools by offering your child an Occupational Therapy assessment to support their access and engagement within the school environment.

Where the NHS may offer support for ongoing health needs and development, the Birmingham City Council Occupational Therapy Service can support with compensating or managing the long-term needs required in school.

Key areas where we might support:

  • Access within the classroom
  • Access around the school
  • Environmental safety
  • Moving and handling needs (which may be referred to as transfers)
  • Staff training
  • Specialist seating

Use this link below for further information

  1. What is the role of the Speech and Language Therapy Service around eating and drinking support in school (Dysphagia)?

Use the link below for further information

  1. What is the role of the Birmingham Childrens Hospital (BCH)?

Your child may have a health need that requires education staff in school to receive more specialist training/advice. School nurses and education staff can link with the appropriate health professional teams at Birmingham Childrens Hospital to help arrange this. An example of this is where the Urology Team or the Diabetes Team support education staff.

Use the link below for further information

  1. What is the role of the Continence team?

This team supports children and young people with continence needs.  All referrals to this team come via the GP or another medic who is able to do a physical examination of the child or young person.  For the referral to be accepted the team will need the outcome of that examination first.

Use the link below for further information

  • Ask for a meeting with the member of staff responsible for medical needs.
  • Share information about your child’s existing medical condition or as soon as your child is diagnosed with a new/changing medical condition.
  • If your child is about to start or change a setting, work with the new school in advance so the right support can be put in place from the beginning.
  • Look at the school’s website to view the medical needs policy- this might help you to ask the questions needed.
  • Contribute to an Individual Health Care Plan for your child.
  • Review this Individual Health Care Plan regularly with the school and the appropriate health professionals.
  • Share new information gained from medical appointments and update the school as needed.
  • Notify school of any absences/appointments/hospital stays linked to your child’s health condition.
  • Speak to a specialist teacher in the Physical Difficulties Support Service if you need further information or support.

Please contact the PDSS team on the email address below

Please do watch the video below

This video discusses the support you might expect from your child’s school.

You can watch it by using the link below

If your child has social, emotional or mental health needs then please use the following link:

How to access the service

  • Talk to the Special Educational Needs & Disability Coordinator (SENCo) at your child’s school or setting, or
  • Contact Sandra Paddock at
  • We are part of the sensory support team