Almost one in three (29 per cent) parents and carers of children and young people with Type 1 diabetes are less than satisfied with the care and support their child receives in school, according to a survey by Diabetes UK.The survey of 409 parents of children and young people with Type 1 diabetes also found that a third (34 per cent) do not have an individual healthcare plan that fully meets their needs in school, something that experts regard as an essential element of adequate care at school. Outside of the classroom, 14 per cent of parents and carers said their child has been excluded from extra-curricular school activities such as PE lessons and residential trips because they have Type 1 diabetes. While the survey results may not be representative of all parents of children with Type 1 diabetes, the charity has warned that these findings highlight how poor care at school remains a significant issue for many children and young people with Type 1 diabetes across the UK. This is despite the introduction of a new law in England last year that means all schools in the country now have a legal duty to ensure children and young people with medical conditions such as Type 1 diabetes, asthma and epilepsy get the care they need in school.
Some schools are doing an excellent job of supporting children and young people with Type 1 diabetes, which is highlighted by the fact that the majority of the parents who took part in the survey are satisfied with the care their children receive at school. But Diabetes UK says it is essential that all schools are doing this so that all students with diabetes receive the health care and support they need, so that they can participate fully in school life and can achieve their academic potential.
Support for parents and schools
Diabetes UK recognises that some schools will have some concerns about how to get the right care in place so has resources to help schools and parents, providing them with information and guidance around how they can confidently provide effective care to all children and young people with diabetes. This includes a Care in Schools Helpline which provides parents of children and young people with Type 1 diabetes in England, Scotland and Wales with information and support around the care their child is entitled to receive at school.Barbara Young, Diabetes UK Chief Executive, said: “We know that many schools are already providing good care to children and young people with Type 1 diabetes, and since the introduction of a new law in England to improve support in school for students with medical conditions, there has been huge improvements to the way diabetes support is delivered in schools.“But every single child with diabetes who fails to get the care they need is being held back at a time when they are already facing the huge challenge of coming to terms with a serious lifelong medical condition, which can greatly affect their health and wellbeing, so it is essential that all schools get this right. Until we see all schools providing the care needed, they will continue to deny children and young people with Type 1 diabetes both the health care and the opportunity to thrive at school that they deserve.
“Diabetes is a serious condition and we understand that some schools may have concerns about how they can best support children and young people with Type 1 diabetes. This is why as part of our Type 1 diabetes: Make the Grade campaign, we have created resources designed to help schools and parents, by providing them with information and guidance around how they can confidently provide effective care to all children and young people with diabetes. By working closely with schools, students, and parents we want to ensure children and young people with Type 1 diabetes get the best support possible.”
Diabetes in School Short Film Competition
Diabetes UK has also launched a ‘Diabetes in School’ Short Film Competition to raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes and to promote positive and inspiring stories about the condition in schools. The charity is inviting children and young people aged 11 to 17 to create and submit a film, of no more than three minutes long, about diabetes in school. All film entries will be judged by an expert panel that includes film actress Elinor Crawley, who appeared in British film Submarine (2011) and has Type 1 diabetes. All shortlisted entrants will be invited to a special awards ceremony at the BAFTA 195 Piccadilly private members club in central London, on 12 December, where the competition winners will be announced. The competition runs from 1 June to 16 November 2015.Elinor Crawley said: “I am absolutely delighted to be on the judging panel for the ‘Diabetes in School’ Short Film Competition. The competition is a fun and engaging way for young people with Type 1 diabetes and their peers to tell their stories about diabetes and share a serious health message across schools. “Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was nine years old, I remember feeling very overwhelmed trying to manage the condition in school. My primary school was quite resistant to adapt at first; my mum had to accompany me on every school trip and I wasn’t allowed to test or inject without her there at lunchtimes. If it hadn’t been for my amazing diabetes nurse calling the head teacher, she would never have visited my class and explained to my teacher and peers what diabetes was. I think it’s so important that schools work closely with parents, diabetes nurses and children and young people with diabetes, and the ‘Diabetes in School’ Short Film Competition is a great way to help make this happen. I’m really looking forward to seeing the films that are submitted.”