Back to School in Scotland
With the majority of Scottish schools reopening with pupils set to return on Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 August, our helpline team have collated a series of hints and tips to help make the transition as easy as possible.
1) Individual Healthcare Plan
Your child might already have an individual healthcare plan but if not we have a template you can download on our website. Individual healthcare plans (IHP) will help school staff understand what a particular medical condition means for a child at school.
Parents and teachers have told us that good communication is important to making sure that children with CF are cared for at school. All the relevant staff should know about your child’s needs through their session with the CF team or the individual healthcare plan. Talk to the school or to your child’s CF team about any worries you have.
- Reasonable adjustments
Schools (and other education providers) have a responsibility to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to make sure disabled students are not discriminated against, and remove the barriers they face because of their disability so they can access in education in the same way, as far as possible, as someone who's not disabled.
- Infection risk
Avoiding infection is a very common and valid worry. Childhood illnesses are common in schools. There are things you and your child can do to lower the risk, like washing your hands often, having some tissues (and encouraging children to cough or sneeze into them), using hand sanitising gels, opening windows, and asking staff to keep children with coughs and colds apart, where possible, from your child.
Please make sure that you know the latest guidance in the area where you live and what this will mean for your child returning to school, or starting school for the first time. Many restrictions across the UK have eased or been relaxed completely, so talk to your CF team about any worries you have and update your child’s IHP, so that any changes can made.
You will probably have the option of school meals or a home-made packed lunch, but some schools have a ‘no packed lunches’ policy. Most schools can send you the school menus and they can often be found online. Your CF dietitian can help you work out the Creon doses for the menus. Talk to the school if your child needs extra calories.
Schools all have their own systems of storing and administering Creon. If your child is becoming independent with their Creon or usually self-administers, you could talk to the school about them carrying their own Creon. Getting the Creon dose right can be a bit of an art, particularly when a child first starts school. Your child might be asked about the Creon by other children. Often saying ‘it helps my tummy’ or something similar, will be enough of an explanation.
A worry for some parents is that their child will be penalised for missing school. Some schools have absence policies and some have reward systems for children who achieve 100% attendance. For children with CF it can seem that they are set up to fail on this one. It is worth speaking to your SENCO or head teacher about this, as many schools will be flexible on attendance rewards, and will try to help when your child has to miss school.
- Getting the most out of school!
School isn’t just about classroom learning – it’s about sport, music, hobbies, friendships, trips and new experiences. Children with CF can and should enjoy lots of extracurricular activities.
- More information
We have more information and resources about school and how other families have made the adjustment on our website, which are packed full of useful information, insight, and stories to help you make the journey as smooth as possible.
How we can help
If you need more support you can call our Helpline on 0300 373 1000. We also have peer support for parents, CF Connect, where we put you in touch with a trained parent volunteer who also has a child with CF to talk, ask questions, and share experiences. Speak to our Helpline if you’d like to talk to someone.