For Written Answer on : 15/09/2021
Question Number(s): 402 Question Reference(s): 43308/21
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Education the steps being taken for the care of children with allergies at primary and post-primary level; her Department’s plans to introduce further measures in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
The Board of Management of each school is responsible for the care and safety of all pupils. It is important that the school management authority requests parents to ensure that the school is made aware of any medical condition suffered by any pupils attending. Where the school is aware of potential difficulties that may arise as a consequence of a medical condition suffered by one or more pupils, it may be possible for the management authorities, working in conjunction with parents, teachers and children to put preventative measures in place to lessen the possibility of any difficulties arising or to ensure that, if a pupil suffers from an illness requiring, for example, the administration of medication, that appropriate treatment is available.
The administration of medicines in primary schools is the subject of an agreement between the Irish National Teachers Organisation and the organisation representing school management at primary level. While this agreement specifies that no teacher can be required to administer medicine or drugs to pupils, it also sets out procedures that must be followed where a teacher or teachers agree to do so. The position is that either the parents of the child should make themselves available to administer medication as required, or where they wish the staff in the school to administer it, they should indemnify the school.
My Department cannot direct any member of the Board of Management or the teaching staff of the school to administer medical treatment to pupils, action and procedures which are normally carried out by medical professionals such as doctors and nurses.
Where a child requires adult assistance to assist in the administration of medicine and where the extent of assistance required would overly disrupt normal teaching time, SNA support may be allocated for this purpose.
It is a matter for the Board of Management to ensure that SNAs are in a position to effectively meet the care needs of pupils for whom SNA support has been allocated in the school, when appointing an SNA.
Where specific training is required, the Board of Management should liaise with the Health Service Executive (HSE) in order to ensure that the HSE provides guidance and training that enables the SNA to meet the care needs of the pupil in an appropriate manner. It is a matter for individual school authorities to make such arrangements locally.