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New law gives more support in school for children and young people with diabetes

The National Assembly for Wales has passed a law to improve support for children and young people with Type 1 diabetes and other medical conditions.

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We’ve led a group of health and children’s organisations to ensure the new Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal (Wales) Act (known as the ALN Act) specifically mentions children with medical conditions. And our hard work paid off, as Assembly Members voted in favour of this in December.

Support in school

There are around 1,400 children and young people with Type 1 diabetes in Wales. These children need support in school to manage their condition well and make sure they reach their full potential.

While some receive excellent support, many have struggled to be fully involved in school life. We regularly hear from parents who have had to attend school to support their child, and in some cases, children have been unable to attend school for long periods of time. This all adds to the daily pressures of life with a serious medical condition.

Many of these children and families relied on support from the Special Educational Needs (SEN) system. When it was announced that the ALN Act would reform this system, there were fears that this would mean even more variation in care, or support being removed.

By making sure children with medical conditions are specifically mentioned in the Act, this will not be the case. We are thrilled with this outcome, which will make a difference to families all over Wales.

A simpler system

Under the new ALN system, every child with additional learning needs will have an individual plan, outlining the support they will receive. It will also extend support to children and young people aged 0-25, meaning nurseries, colleges and universities will come under the framework for the first time.

The new framework will be much simpler for families and schools to navigate. It will encourage everyone involved in providing support to work more closely together and place the person’s needs at the centre of all decisions.

Some areas are already piloting the new framework, which is expected to be fully in place by September 2020.

Vital legislation

Dai Williams, National Director, Diabetes UK Cymru, said, “This vital new legislation will make a difference to thousands of families all across Wales. It will give children and young people with medical conditions like Type 1 diabetes support they have never had before. It is very encouraging to see some schools already adopting the new ALN framework, and we hope many more do so in the near future.

“Diabetes UK Cymru would like to thank our partner organisations and all the Assembly Members who supported this legislation. Your support will make a real difference to children with medical conditions like Type 1 diabetes, now and for future generations, ensuring they are no longer left behind.”

Help us say thank you to the Assembly Members who helped make this change happen

We want to create a special thank you card full of drawings and messages from the children, young people and families this new Act will support.

Send us your contributions and we will use them to create a message of heartfelt thanks.

Make your message as colourful, creative and imaginative as you can and send them to us by Monday, 26 February 2018

Drawings should be no larger than A4 size. To submit your drawing, email it to wales@diabetes.org.uk or post it to Diabetes UK Cymru, Castlebridge 2, Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff, CF11 9AB.

 

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