Licensing criteria for hospital-based ECE services

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines hospital-based education and care service as the provision of education or care to 3 or more children under the age of 6 who are receiving hospital care.

ECE services operating from hospital premises that provide education and care to siblings of patients or children of hospital staff or patients are centre-based ECE services, not hospital-based ECE services.

Hospital-based services are licensed in accordance with the Education and Training Act 2020 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008(external link), which prescribe minimum standards that each licensed service must meet. Licensing criteria are used to assess how the services meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.

For each criterion there is guidance to help services meet the required standards.

The publication of the criteria on its own can be downloaded as a PDF [PDF, 1.2 MB] and printed.

The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022.

HS12 Medicine administration

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and safety practices criterion 12

      Medicine (prescription and non-prescription) is not given to a child unless it is given by authorised personnel, in an emergency or as part of the child's treatment as a patient of the hospital.


      The criterion aims to uphold the health and safety of children by ensuring that medication is not administered inappropriately by services.

      Amended 21 July 2011

  • Guidance
    • Guidance

      Any examples in the guidance are provided as a starting point to show how services can meet (or exceed) the requirement. Services may choose to use other approaches better suited to their needs as long as they comply with the criteria.

      Adults providing education and care must ensure any medicine given to a child is administered by authorised hospital personnel.

      It may be useful for staff to familiarise themselves with the child’s medical requirements so they can be supportive.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Services might consider having policies for what, if any, treatment or medication giving can take place in activity rooms. Some services regard the activity room as an emotionally safe place where no treatment or medications can be given. Other services may consider that, for some children, certain types of medication are a regular part of their life, and therefore should be normalised and the child’s play should not need to be interrupted unnecessarily.

      Considerations might vary depending on, for example:

      • the age and understanding of the child
      • how comfortable / familiar they are with the procedure
      • whether or not it is (or will be) a regular, routine part of their daily life for some time to come
      • whether other children are present whop may be distressed by observing the treatment.