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Supporting Pupils with Complex Health Needs

Good health has a positive impact on a child or young person’s enjoyment both at school and home. Ill health can often be a barrier to attendance and learning at school. A number of pupils at Grove Park present with complex health needs which need daily management to enable them to participate in daily school life. 

At our school we support our pupils in a number of ways.


 Universal School Nurse Service

The school nursing service can act as an effective bridge between education, health services and social care, supporting

work on health issues in school and making health services more accessible to pupils, parents, carers and school staff.

The community heath team can provide specific training for staff on a number of procedures and these include, Gastrostomy training, jejunostomy training, epilepsy, catheterising, and diabetes. Should a pupil join the school with a specific health diagnosis which requires a specific protocol, training will be arranged for staff.


Grove Park School Nurse 

Grove Park has jointly commissioned with East Sussex, a full time school Nurse.  Debbie Marsden  is a highly skilled and experienced nurse who has expertise in supporting pupils with complex health needs in a special school setting. Debbie is a key member of the school staff team and her key tasks include;

  • Supporting school  staff carry out Health Needs assessments of all pupils entering the school who have complex medical needs
  • Supporting class teachers in the writing and updating of school based health plans for those pupils with complex health needs following a health needs assessment.
  • Provide staff training in critical medical procedures to enable pupils to access school. This includes, PEG training, emergency medication training and epilepsy training, suctioning, use of oxygen in school and any other medical procedures which pupils may be receiving.
  • Be able to respond in emergencies around specific interventions e.g. emergency replacement of PEG tube to maintain site, needle stick injuries
  • Identifying key pupils with school members of the senior leadership team within the school for whom there was significant health monitoring in place and act as key liaison between other specialist health professionals.
  • Support the school in ‘personalising’ ESCC policies pertaining to Administration of medicines and other health procedures ensuring that they are school specific.
  • Sign post the school or support the  identification and referral  to other health professionals to ensure effective liaison
  • Attend at Annual reviews for whom there is  health input
  • Work with identified families  as  joint liaison and support between home and school and health specialist when the need arises
  • Attendance at Child protection meetings, conferences and strategy meeetings.
  • Liaise with LAC team where health input is highlighted
  • Dissemination  of health information/ key advice to teaching staff and the Headteacher regarding individual pupils
  • Liaise and pass on advice from universal school nurse service, to disseminate  and update of health information/ key advice to teaching staff and the Headteacher regarding current public health advice
  • Co-ordination and attendance at consultant paediatric clinics held at the school 3 times year.




We hold  Paediatric Consultant Clinics at the school a minimum of three times per year. The majority of pupils attending Grove Park are registered with  Dr Somarib  and these clinics are for the convenience of all concerned and this helps to ensure that there is a free flow of information across the Health and Education disciplines. Attendance at these clinics are often supported by the school nurse, and where a pupil has an epilepsy diagnosis, the epilepsy specialist nurse will also attend in order to review any epilepsy care plan.




When a child’s doctor has prescribed a certain course of medication, and this medication needs to be administered during the school day, the following rules must be observed:


  1. Medicines must NEVER be handed to the child, they must be given to the escort on the child’s transport to be brought into school.
  2. The medicine must come in it's original packaging with the dosage clearly indicated
  3. A Parental Consent form must be completed for any medication to be administered at school, with full instructions as to dosage and time of administration.
  4. If for any reason Calpol, or any similar medicine needs to be brought into school, parents will need to specify what the need is e.g. temperature or pain, and the medicine can only be used for this specific treatment and will be returned home at the end of the school day.


If a child is on a long-term course of medication at home, it is useful to the school to be kept informed of this, even if daytime dosages are not required.


Many of our pupils do have medication for epilepsy with regular lunch time doses which school staff are prepared to administer. We also have training for administration of Buccal Madazolam when necessary. There are other medical procedures that we are able to co-operate with, given the relevant training, so if you have any concerns, please do ask us.

If you have any questions regarding medication at school, please contact Debbie Marsden, our school nurse for further information. 


Accident or Illness at School


If any accident should befall a child at school, suitable First Aid will be given by the school’s qualified First Aiders. Should it be necessary to contact a parent/carer, (either because the child is too ill to stay in school, or further treatment is necessary), every attempt will be made to do so, but the school reserves the right to call the emergency services if contact cannot be made. New parents/carers are asked to complete a form giving daytime telephone numbers for such emergencies and these are regularly updated.


In the case of sickness or diarrhoea, parents/carers are asked not to send their child back to school until they have been “clear” for 48 hours. 


Absence from School


If your child is away from school due to illness or for any other reason, please let us know as soon as possible before the start of the first school day of absence and not later than 9.15 am. Parents/carers should also telephone their child’s transport provider as early as possible to let them know that they are not required. On return, please ALWAYS let us know in the contact book, or by letter, the reason for your child’s absence and again let your transport know that they do need to be picked up again. Family holidays should not be taken during term-time.