Migraine at school: your child's rights

Joining together to support all children with health conditions 

Migraine Action working to help all children affected by health conditions

Alongside our launch of new educational materials, we have continued working as part of the Health Conditions in School Alliance (HCSA). The alliance represents over 35 organisations, representing the needs of more than one million children, and includes charities and healthcare professionals, who work collaboratively to ensure that children with health conditions get the care they need in school.

Following the Children and Families Act 2014, all schools should have a medical conditions policy, which would encompass migraine as well as other health conditions. This would state how the school will care for any children with medical conditions, the procedures for getting the right care and training in place, and who is responsible for making sure the policy is carried out. Schools in England are required by law to have a medical conditions policy.

Every child with a medical condition will need an Individual Healthcare Plan (IHP) and this is essential for detailing a migraine diagnosis, what the triggers might be and how to best support the child during an attack. An IHP is an agreement between parents/ guardians, the school and healthcare professionals about what care a child needs and how it will be carried out. Headteachers, school governors and responsible bodies should make sure that each child has an IHP and that it is being carried out.

We are pleased to hear stories from families who have received great support at school, such as the boy who was excused from the ‘no hats’ policy, due to his migraines being triggered by sunlight. However, we know that many children with migraine often struggle for understanding and inclusion. For example, the child that was not allowed to go on a school-trip due to ‘low attendance’ which fell just below 95%, despite the school being well aware of his abdominal migraine diagnosis, just to name one of the many of the calls we receive. This is why we work collaboratively with the HCSA in the pursuit of putting an end to bad practice in schools.

In the hope of challenging bad practice and providing support to schools, the HCSA have developed a website, which you can find at medicalconditionsatschool.org.uk. This website offers guidance and tools for schools, including a template medical conditions policy. This can be downloaded by parents, teachers or school professionals, as well as a sample individual healthcare plan for migraine. The website includes advice on what an individual healthcare plan should contain, guidance on the legal situation across the UK and a process for making sure children who require education in different settings get the support they need.

For an individual healthcare plan and further details, visit medicalconditionsatschool.org.uk

We will continue our vital work with HCSA and would love to hear from parents regarding their experiences of school support.  For more information on migraines at school or to share your story, contact us on info@migraine.org.uk or 08456 011 033. 

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