Children’s lives are being put at risk because of the shortages of school nurses, experts have warned. Austerity measures have resulted in more than 500 school nurses leaving the profession without being replaced. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said the loss of school nurses was leaving teachers without vital training and pupils without necessary support. It is calling on the government and local authorities to ensure school nursing services are properly funded. The continued deterioration of services could leave pupils who have health conditions such as asthma, epilepsy and diabetes unable to attend mainstream schools, the RCN believes. NHS staff data published this week revealed that more than 550 school nurses were lost between May 2010 and May this year, 19% of the total. More than 100 have been lost so far this year. The RCN said cuts to funding meant that many posts were going unfilled at a time when there was a growing push to increase mental health intervention among children and young people. Almost a quarter of those aged 11-15 in England report having a long-term illness or disability, including asthma, diabetes, epilepsy and arthritis. Despite guidance from the Department for Education in 2014 that stipulates all children with health conditions should be supported to go to school, the number of school nurses has fallen from 2,987 to 2,433 full-time NHS posts in England.