The Policy on Managing Chronic Illness

St. Fergal’s College: Mission Statement

St. Fergal’s College is a co-educational school which aims to provide a quality education for all our students in a caring and respectful environment.

We enable students to develop fully a sense of their own unique worth by providing a broadly based curriculum which fosters intellectual, spiritual, moral, emotional and physical growth.

We are committed to promoting good relationships between students, staff, parents and our community.

We aim to create a safe, healthy, learning environment that nurtures self-discipline and encourages our students to take responsibility for their own learning.

 We aim to educate our students not only for now, but also for life.


This policy outlines the guidelines and procedures to be followed to support students with chronic illness in our school. The Managing Educational Risk for Students with Medical Conditions or Disabilities (IPB) Resource Pack was used in the drafting of this policy.

We acknowledge there is an increased incidence of chronic illness such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy and anaphylaxis among young people and as a school we are eager to fulfil our duty of care to all our students to ensure their full participation in all aspects of school life.

Aims and Objectives

  • To provide a safe and secure school environment for students to manage chronic illness.
  • To provide the support required to facilitate the student with chronic illness to participate in all areas of school life. The support provided will be subject to available school resources.
  • To provide training and support for staff members who volunteer to administer emergency medicine.
  • To establish clear procedures in the event of emergency medication being required by a student managing chronic illness.
  • To create awareness among the general student body, through the SPHE Curriculum, of chronic illness and how these illnesses can be managed.

Managing Chronic Illness in School- Duties and Responsibilities

  • It is the duty of the student and his/her parent to inform the school on enrolment if the student suffers from a chronic illness. If a student is subsequently diagnosed with a chronic illness the Principal must be informed in writing by the student’s parents/guardians as soon as possible.
  • Parents will meet with the Principal and Year Head to discuss the nature of the illness and what supports are needed for their son/daughter.
  • Parents will provide the school with the relevant details of the illness and required treatment in the event of an emergency.
  •  A Healthcare Plan (see appendices: form 2) should detail the nature of the student’s illness as well as relevant information about the symptoms and vital contact information. Parents in conjunction with the health professionals must furnish the school with relevant details on how to treat the chronic condition should an emergency situation develop.
  • The school will make every reasonable effort to provide the required support within the constraints of school resources.
  • The student and his/her parents/guardian will seek in writing the permission of the Board of Management for emergency medicine to be administered by teachers who volunteer to do so. (see appendices)
  • Parents will be informed of the Boards decision and Parents and students will be expected to supply the school with the required paperwork as outlined in the general guidelines and procedures.
  • If the student is over 16  he/she must also sign a consent form giving permission to staff to administer medicine should the need arise.(see appendices form 2)
  • Parents/guardians must also give written consent to the school for teachers to administer medicine in the case of an emergency. A consent form has been devised for this purpose.(see appendices form2)
  • Teachers and other staff are not contractually obliged to administer medicine and do so on a voluntary basis with the consent of the student, parents and Board of Management.
  • Teachers who volunteer to do so, as well as the Board of Management will be indemnified by the student and his/her parents. Indemnity  (see appendices Indemnity)
  • Training will be provided for all members of staff who agree to administer medicine. This training will be provided by the relevant qualified medical/ health care professional.
  • It is school policy to expect capable and responsible students, with their parents’ consent, to administer their own medication.
  • The school may provide a private area for students to administer their medicine, if feasible and within the constraints of school resources. This will be agreed with reference to each student’s Healthcare Plan.

Note: Non-prescription medicine will not be stored in school and students are not permitted to carry non-prescription medication. Such medication will be confiscated and disposed of unless collected by a parent/guardian.

Emergency Plan

  • Staff will be informed at the beginning of the school year of the name of each student suffering from a chronic illness who may need emergency medicine administered and the names of those teachers trained to administer medicine. A note will also be placed on each child’s file in VSWare.
  • In the event that a student suffering from chronic illness displays symptoms which are identified as life threatening i.e. an emergency. The following procedure should be followed:
  1. The class teacher will send a responsible student to the Principal or Deputy Principal or school secretary to inform him/her of the student’s name and the necessity for emergency medicine and the emergency services. The principal/secretary will contact the emergency services as well as the student’s parents/guardians.
  2. The class teacher must stay with the ill student and ensure that the student is not in any immediate physical danger.
  3. It is good practice to send for the nearest nominated teacher to attend to the student in the unlikely event that the principal /deputy principal are unavailable.
  4. This will ensure that the relevant emergency medication is acquired and ensure a quick response time.
  • Every reasonable effort will be made to maintain the privacy of the student at all times.
  • In the event of emergency medicine being administered every effort will be made to ensure that both a male and female adult is present. In an extreme emergency a student may be present.

Communication of Policy and Procedure 

It is our policy to ensure that relevant and necessary information is communicated to the student, his/her parents and all staff and teachers in an effective way but at all times maintaining the privacy of the student.

  • Students will be involved in the formulation of their own Healthcare Plan and informed of the agreed policy and procedure.
  • They will be fully aware of the agreed Emergency Plan and where their emergency medicine is stored.
  • Information about special arrangements which may be required to support the student suffering with chronic illness e.g. eating or drinking during class , will be outlined at the back of the student’s school diary and signed off on by the Year Head.
  • The student’s parents contact numbers will also be clearly visible in the student’s school diary.
  • This policy will be available for all parents to read on enrolment day.
  • On enrolment, parents are asked to provide information about their child’s general health and allergies. If a student who suffers from a chronic illness secures a place in our school a copy of the policy will be posted to his/her parents as well as the Healthcare Plan Letter (see Appendices: Form 1 )
  • If a student develops a chronic illness once he/she has enrolled in the school, parents will be provided with a copy of this policy.
  • A copy of this policy will be available for each member of staff in the General Folder on the server and in the Staff Handbook. All members of staff including S.N.A.s and ancillary staff will be required to sign off that they have read and understood the agreed policy.
  • All staff will be informed of students who are registered on the Register of Chronic Illness at the beginning of the year.  Staff will be notified on VSWare of the names of students who are added to the register during the school year.
  • The Year Head, with the consent of the student and parent, will also inform class teachers of any student in his/her year group who suffers from or has been recently diagnosed with chronic illness.
  • All substitute teachers will be informed of the students who are managing chronic illnesses and about this policy.
  • The school will endeavour to create awareness among the general student body of chronic illness by having these illnesses discussed in S.P.H.E. classes.

Staff Training

  • Staff members who volunteer to administer emergency medication will be provided with training by the relevant healthcare professional. All training will be signed off on by said professional and recorded in the register of healthcare provision. (Appendices: Form 5)
  • All completed training will be signed off on by the medical professional and records will be kept in the Management of Chronic Illness Register
  • At First Aid training days the whole staff will be afforded the opportunity to receive training on the management of chronic illness depending on the needs of the students. These chronic illnesses include diabetes, asthma, epilepsy and anaphylaxis.

Storage and Disposal of Medicines

  • Students are responsible for their own medicines and the school will provide a secure place for medicines to be stored. All required medicines must be in their original pharmacy containers and clearly labelled. All emergency medicines belonging to a particular student must be in an airtight container clearly labelled with the student’s name and photo on the outside.
  • If medicines need to be stored in a fridge students will be allowed to use the staff fridge once good practice is followed as outlined above. If students require a fridge exclusively for medicines then that will have to be provided by the student and his/her is not the responsibility of the school to provide such equipment.
  • Emergency medicines will be stored in a secure area in the staffroom where they will be easily accessible in the event of an emergency.
  • It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that all medicines including emergency medicines are in date. Any out of date medicines must be collected from the school by a responsible adult, ideally the parent or guardian of the student, and disposed of in consultation with the relevant pharmacist. The school accepts no responsibility for the provision or disposal of medicines.
  • In line with good practice emergency medicines should be removed by parents from the school at the end of the school year and replaced at the beginning of the following school year if required.
  • It is the parent’s responsibility to provide sharps boxes for the disposal of needles.
  • Sharps boxes will be collected and disposed of by the parent.

Extra-Curricular Activities/School Trips

  • The school will make every reasonable effort to facilitate participation by students with chronic conditions in extra- curricular activities and school trips. It may be appropriate for a parent to accompany their child, but this person must have current Garda Vetting as per Child Protection Guidelines.
  • It is the responsibility of the student to ensure he/she has the required medication including emergency medicine necessary for the activity or trip.
  • A risk assessment will be made when considering school trips.

Record Keeping

  • All information relating to students with chronic conditions will be kept in the Management of Chronic Illness Folder. This folder of information will be kept in a secure location in the principal’s office.
  • All confidential information will be treated as such however all staff need to be aware of the student’s condition in the event of an emergency. Relevant information will be shared with all staff as agreed in writing by both the student (if over 16 ) and his/her parents.(Appendices: Form 2, Healthcare Plan)
  • The Healthcare plans and Emergency Plans for each individual student will be contained in this folder as well as all consent forms and paperwork pertaining to managing the student’s chronic illness in school.
  • General information on each of the chronic illness suffered by students will also be available in this folder.
  • All teachers will have access to the information and will be reminded of this at staff meetings throughout the year.
  • Only relevant medical information will be available and this information will be treated in the strictest of confidence.
  • In the event that emergency medicine is administered it will be recorded. (see appendices Form 3) A report will be written for inclusion in the Register or Chronic Illness file outlining the measures taken.

This policy will be reviewed every year and/or as the need arises.

Policy adopted by the Board of Management at a meeting on November 30th 2015.


Chronic Illness 1

Chronic Illness 2

Chronic Illness 3