John wins campaign to better support children with health needs

John Healey has welcomed a move to better support children with long-term health needs.

The MP for Wentworth & Dearne has campaigned for years for schools to have plans in place to help pupils with conditions like diabetes, epilepsy and asthma.

In June he supported an amendment to the Children and Families Bill which would make schools obliged to do this by law.

Now Lord Nash, a minister with responsibility for schools in the Department for Education, has tabled an amendment to the government’s own Bill which will place a duty on schools to make these arrangements.

The new law is expected to come in in September 2014 and will apply to all schools – including academies and free schools.

It could mean training for teachers in dealing with emergencies and supporting children with long-term health needs, an individual healthcare plan for each pupil and staff in school knowing more about medication.

Mr Healey began campaigning on this issue five years ago after meeting Emma Smith, then 12 and from Dalton, Rotherham, who has diabetes.

He said: “The problem of other students, fellow pupils, teachers and staff not knowing about the conditions that many children may have makes managing those conditions more difficult.

“Often it holds children back at school and it may sometimes even put their health at risk, so better provision, better support and a better policy framework are needed.

“I want our children who have special health conditions to be able to enjoy school to the full, to fulfil their potential and to feel confident that those around them know what to do because they understand their conditions.”