This companion to the Department for Education and Skills handbook Managing medicines in schools and early years settings is an informative and positive book. It recognises that lack of knowledge and experience make staff fearful of taking on the responsibility of managing some of our most vulnerable pupils.
It demonstrates how health and education professionals working together can find solutions to the day-to-day difficulties of providing pupils with challenging health needs access to the educational opportunities to which they are entitled.
Endorsed by Mencap, the Royal College of Nursing, the National Children's Bureau and the DfES, Including Me uses good practice to show how many schools are already doing this, including an example of an excellent health-care plan. It takes us through the controversial issue of continence difficulties, showing the positive role local education authorities can play in providing policy advice and guidance to schools. It also, at last, dispels the myth that, in this area of personal care, child-protection issues require the involvement of two members of staff.
A section on the legal framework may explain why in some schools health and safety legislation has been seen to restrict the rights of disabled pupils.
However, this book shows how these two separate pieces of legislation can complement one another by providing examples of good, realistic risk assessments.
This is an essential guide and reference text for LEA officers and advisers, and for any school with concerns about whether they will be able to respond to the needs of pupils with complex health issues.
Bill Goler Adviser for SEN and disability, Kirklees School Effectiveness Service