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Charity hails “historic landmark” for diabetes support in schools

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The new school term will be a “historic landmark” for children with Type 1 diabetes as, for the first time ever, schools in England will have a legal duty to support children with long-term health conditions.The Children and Families Act 2014, which comes into effect for the new school year, means that all parents of children with Type 1 diabetes should now be able to send their children to school confident that there will be procedures in place to help keep them safe and make sure they are able to participate fully in school activities.

Diabetes UK campaigned for this changeDiabetes UK campaigned for this changeDiabetes UK campaigned for this change in the law as, while some schools already do an excellent job of supporting children with Type 1 diabetes, there have been too many examples of children with the condition struggling to get the support that they need. For example, a recent survey of parents of children with Type 1 diabetes found that one in three said their child’s school did not have a care plan that meets their needs.The new rules should make a big difference because to children with Type 1 diabetes. In the past a lack of training and understanding has meant some schools did not administer insulin or test the bloods of children with Type 1, or not allow them to have a snack to treat low blood glucose levels, putting their health and education at risk. Some children have also found themselves excluded or partially excluded from parts of school life, such as residential trips. This impacts not only on the self-esteem of the child, but their educational attainment and even on the financial circumstances of the whole family if a parent had to give up work to administer insulin.But under the new law, schools need to have a medical conditions policy in place, along with an individual healthcare plan, tailored to meet each child’s needs, for any children with Type 1 diabetes. Schools must also work with parents and diabetes specialist nurses to make sure children get the individual support they need and ensuring that relevant staff are trained to provide the right support is also a new requirement.

As part of Diabetes UK’s Type 1 diabetes: Make the grade campaign, the charity has created free resources to help parents and schools get the right care in place. Along with a new webpage offering detailed information on care in schools, Diabetes UK has produced free advice packs to help schools implement the new rules as well as packs for parents so that they understand what level of support they are now entitled to."For too long, too many children with Type 1 diabetes have not got the support they need in schools""For too long, too many children with Type 1 diabetes have not got the support they need in schools"Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “For too long, too many children with Type 1 diabetes have not got the support they need in schools and their health and education has suffered as a result. This has always been a source of great frustration as the fact that lots of schools already do a great job of supporting in children with the condition shows it is possible.“This is why we are delighted that this new school term marks a historic landmark for children with health conditions, including Type 1 diabetes. It should mean that, for the first time, all children can expect the kind of support that the children who attend the most supportive schools have already been getting.“This will be a huge relief to the many parents who have constantly worried about whether their child will be safe at school and have had to constantly battle to make sure their child gets the support they need in school to stay safe and lead a full and active school life.”Diabetes UK has already sent out 10,000 packs and we will continue to work with parents, schools and healthcare professionals to make sure all children with Type 1 get the greatest possible opportunity to do well in school.Diabetes UK’s packs have been made possible as part of its National Charity Partnership with Tesco.

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