Health and schools working together

Designated Clinical Officers (DCO’s) are the point of contact for local authorities, schools and colleges seeking health advice on children and young people who may have SEN or disabilities. They can support schools with their duties under the ‘ Supporting Pupils with Medical Conditions’ guidance.

Health professionals (for example school or specialist nurses and therapists) may work directly with your child/young person and advise or train settings to manage health conditions such as epilepsy and diabetes, or with techniques such as tube feeding, in schools.

See also our information about medical needs and education:

Watch our video presentation exploring how children with medical conditions may be supported in education. Read the accessible script (PDF)
Watch the Council for Disabled Children video explaining the roles of Designated Clinical and Medical Officers.

The SEND Code of Practice 2015 says:

Schools have a notional SEN budget and many schools will commission services (such as speech and language therapy, pastoral care and counselling services) to support pupils…The school’s governing body must ensure that arrangements are in place in schools to support pupils at school with medical conditions and should ensure that school leaders consult health and social care professionals, pupils and parents to make sure that the needs of children with medical conditions are effectively supported. (3.66)


…should ensure they have access to external specialist services and expertise. These can include, for example, educational psychologists, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), specialist teachers and support services, supported employment services and therapists. (7.23)

Further information:

Department for Education guidance for schools:

Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions

Mental health and behaviour in schools

Ensuring a good education for children who cannot attend school for health reasons