Over the counter medicines update for schools and nurseries


Dear Head Teacher and Nursery Managers,

Please be aware that the Department of Education’s ‘Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage’ has been amended to clarify that it is not necessary for medication to be prescribed in order for it to be administered in a school or nursery. This is pertinent because NHS England is recommending that medicines which are available “over the counter” (OTC) i.e. from a pharmacy or supermarket, should not be routinely prescribed.

As such it is important that schools and nurseries ensure their policies on administering medication allow for OTC medication to be administered since it is unlikely that these will now be prescribed. Examples might include paracetamol.

The school or nursery’s policy on administering medicines should highlight the following:

  • The medication container should have the child’s name on it. For an OTC medicine this can be hand-written.
  • The medication is in date. • A consent form should also be completed that clearly details the dose and time of administration.
  • The parent/carer should confirm that medicine has been previously administered without adverse effect.

The use of OTC medicines should normally be limited to 24-48 hours (except for seasonal conditions such as hay fever). If symptoms persist then it may be appropriate for the parents/carer to seek medical advice.

Please be aware that it is not necessary for medication to be prescribed in order for it to be administered in a school or nursery. This is pertinent as NHS England have recommended that medicines which are available “over the counter” (OTC)  ) i.e. from a pharmacy or supermarket are not routinely prescribed. All head teachers and nursery managers have been notified that their policies on administering medication should allow OTC medication to be administered

The school or nursery’s policy on administering medicines should highlight the following:

  • The medication container should have the child’s name on it. For an OTC medicine this can be hand-written.
  • The medication is in date.
  • A consent form should also be completed that clearly details the dose and time of administration.
  • The parent/carer should confirm that medicine has been previously administered without adverse effect.

Note - The use of OTC medicines should normally be limited to 24-48 hours (except for seasonal conditions such as hay fever). If symptoms persist then it may be appropriate for the parents/carer to seek medical advice


Last updated: 03/10/2019