Medication in Schools: The basic guide

5 Sep 2018

The new school year has finally arrived! Parents around the country are getting back to routines, whilst teachers count down till next half term! During the colder months, colds and flu are more prevalent. Children are fairly resilient, but new classes/schools mean they may be exposed to a new range of bugs. This may cause them to feel unwell, and whilst often they will not require prescription medication, you may wish to give over the counter medicines.

Can schools give children medication?

Schools may give medication to children. However they must have parent/guardians written permission to do so. It is also worth noting that staff do so voluntarily, and there is no legal obligation requiring them to do so. The school are within their rights to request parents/guardians administer the medication.

The school must have in place robust policies, and procedures. These will relate to the receiving, recording, storage, administration, and disposal of medication.

Who will dispense the medication in schools?

Any member of staff may be the designated person. It is a legal requirement to maintain written documentation relating to medication, and this must be kept for auditing purposes.

The designated officer must maintain and regularly update their knowledge and training. Furthermore it’s important for them to be aware of their own knowledge limitations. Finally they should feel confident to seek additional help when needed.

What is a MARS sheet?

Generally speaking this refers to a medication administration record. This is a document relating to the medication and how it is to be given. It should include the following points:

Where can I find out more?

Our course The Control and Administration of Medication in schools will cover many of the details you need to increase your confidence surrounding the administration and handling of medication.



  1. Cheryl, this something that comes up during a lot of my courses and it definately depends on the school policies. Sometimes they are great policies and others not so great. Some staff feel this is outwith their remit and as such I see both sides of the story. However, the common sense side in me says you don’t ignore someone when they are unwell but rather help them. Children having their medication stored at school is good but the policies need to cover all eventualities. Sounds like I need to do some of what you are doing up here in Lincolnshire

    Comment by Mick Connon on 17 Sep 2018 at 5:21 pm

  2. Hi Mick: You are right it does depend on local policy, however the policy needs to be robust, thorough and well communicated to staff and parents about what decisions have been made. It is true you should help when someone is unwell, but if the staff don’t have the knowledge or training to administer (and store) the medication safely, it may pose more of a hazard to both that child and all others within the setting. So many points for the schools to consider! Also if staff do feel it is out of their remit (or they are unsafe/unqualified) that’s perfectly acceptable, as acknowledging your limitations is essential to reduce possible dangers.

    Comment by Cheryl Parkes on 18 Sep 2018 at 6:11 pm

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