Administering medication to children in schools

Safely administering medication to children in schools: A vital responsibility

Administering medication to children in schools is crucial to ensuring their well-being and supporting their educational experience. Whether managing chronic conditions like asthma or addressing sudden illnesses, safe medication administration requires diligence, knowledge, and adherence to regulations. In this blog, Anne delves into the importance of this practice, outlining key facts, legislation, and best practices to empower educators and caregivers.

Key facts and statistics

  • According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated 50% of children worldwide receive medications at school for chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and allergies.
  • The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK reports that approximately 1 in 10 children aged 5-16 have a diagnosed mental health condition, often requiring medication support during school hours.
  • In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that nearly 19% of children aged 2-19 are obese, leading to increased risks of related health conditions and the potential need for medication management in schools.

Key definitions

  • Administering medication - The process of giving medication to a child, ensuring accurate dosage and adherence to prescribed guidelines.
  • Delegated staff - Rained individuals authorised to administer medication in schools, including teachers, school nurses, and designated support staff.
  • Individual Healthcare Plans (IHPs) - Customised plans outlining the medical needs and required interventions for children with specific health conditions.

Legislation, regulations, and best practice

  • In the UK, the Education (Health Standards) (England) Regulations 2003 outline schools' responsibilities in providing medical support to pupils, including medication administration.
  • The Medicines Act 1968 and the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 provide legal frameworks for safely handling and administering medication in educational settings.
  • Best practice guidelines from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the Department for Education (DfE) emphasise the importance of thorough training for staff involved in medication administration, clear communication channels between caregivers and school staff, and the development of robust medication management policies.

Understanding medication needs

  • Recognising the diverse medication requirements of children, from daily maintenance doses to emergency interventions.
  • Collaboration between healthcare professionals, parents, and school staff is vital in developing Individual Healthcare Plans (IHPs) to guide medication administration.

Ensuring safety and compliance

  • Detailed procedures for storing, handling, and administering medication safely, minimising risks of errors or adverse reactions.
  • Training programs for designated staff members to ensure competency in medication administration techniques and awareness of potential side effects.

Effective communication and documentation

  • Establish clear communication lines between parents, healthcare providers, and school staff to facilitate timely updates on medication changes or concerns.
  • Maintaining accurate records of medication administration, dosage, and any observed reactions or effects.


  • Invest in comprehensive training programs for staff members responsible for administering medication, ensuring they have the necessary knowledge and skills.
  • Regularly review and update medication management policies per current legislation and best practice guidelines.
  • Foster a supportive environment where parents feel confident communicating their child's medication needs and concerns with school staff.


Administering medication to school children is a multifaceted responsibility that requires careful attention to detail, adherence to regulations, and effective collaboration between stakeholders. By prioritising safety, communication, and training, schools can ensure that every child receives the necessary support for their medical needs, promoting a healthy and inclusive learning environment.

Click here to explore our comprehensive training courses tailored for childcare in early years to learn more about medication administration guidelines and best practices.

About the author

Anne Rodgers

Anne has over 40 years of experience in the early years sector including owning and managing a chain of nurseries, lecturing and assessing and writing books, blogs and courses on early years. She is a real advocate for continual professional development so that early years staff remain current in their job roles and have the knowledge to help them provide high quality care and education to young children.

Safely administering medication to children in schools: A vital responsibility - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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