Thousands of children with long-term medical conditions such as Type 1 diabetes, asthma and epilepsy are being put at risk in schools across England says the Health Conditions in Schools Alliance.

The alliance is made up of more than 30 leading charities and health organisations including Diabetes UK, Asthma UK and Crohn’s & Colitis UK.

Nine in 10 schools in England asked could not present an adequate medical conditions policy, the alliance reveals, based on new data disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act alongside investigations by Diabetes UK.

In the south west only four out of a small sample of 26 schools approached as part of the snapshot survey of 200 schools across England could produce an adequate medical conditions policy.

A medical conditions policy aids teachers and other school staff in caring for any child with long term health conditions and has been mandatory since September 2014.

Of the few schools in England that did provide a policy, two thirds were inadequate and missed key details such as staff training, how to safely include the child in all activities, and crucially, what to do in an emergency.

Somerset mum Su Harris has a son who has Type 1 diabetes and has to take insulin to stay alive, yet she says she has had to campaign hard for the schools he has attended to support his condition.

She said: “As parents we need support in ensuring that our children are not treated any differently to anyone else's. We have had a real issue round residential trips and carb counting. Schools often say they are not medically trained and are not doing it. But how else are you going to take a child with diabetes who carb counts?

“Fortunately, though, we have been able to resolve this and my son’s current school now has a greater awareness of the issues surrounding type 1 diabetes.”

The Health Conditions in Schools Alliance says the Department for Education needs to do more to make schools aware of their legal responsibility to put medical conditions policies in place. It is also calling on OFSTED to start checking if schools are complying with the legislation that makes medical conditions policies compulsory.

Phaedra Perry, Diabetes UK south west regional head, said: “The law states all schools should have a medical conditions policy outlining how to care for any children with medical conditions, the procedures for getting the right care and training, and who is responsible for making sure the policy is carried out.

“Without this document in place, staff may not know how to properly care for a child with a medical condition which can lead to very dangerous consequences and, in a worst case scenario, death.

“OFSTED need to check for medical conditions policies as part of its inspections to ensure schools are doing everything in their power to keep children safe. We’re currently in talks with the Department for Education, but it needs to be more active in letting schools know it is their legal duty to produce and implement this document.”

Charity Diabetes UK, which posed the Freedom of Information request for the alliance, has also heard directly from parents whose children are discriminated against by being excluded from activities and after school clubs because of their condition.

Some have had to sit exams without appropriate support resulting in severe effects on their social and academic development; and some parents have even gone as far as giving up work to make sure their children are safe in school.