More than one in three parents and carers of children with Type 1 diabetes say their children’s school has not adequately planned the support needed for their child at school to help manage their condition, according to an investigation by Diabetes UK.As part of the investigation, Diabetes UK carried out an online survey of 434 parents of children with the condition.As well as finding that 38 per cent do not have a care plan that fully meets their needs in schools, which are seen by experts as vital for ensuring children with Type 1 diabetes are properly cared for at school, it showed that 22 per cent were dissatisfied with their child’s support in school, and 14 per cent are concerned their child will not be supported if their child’s blood glucose level falls dangerously low.Diabetes UK has announced the findings of the investigation following the launch on Monday of a government consultation into draft guidance about what support schools should provide for the million children who have long-term health conditions such as Type 1 diabetes, asthma and epilepsy.This follows the Government’s landmark decision last October to amend the Children and Families Bill to make it a legal obligation for schools to support these children.
Guidance needs strengthening
Diabetes UK has welcomed this new legal protection and the draft guidance which sets out what this will mean in practical terms.But it thinks the guidance does need some strengthening to ensure that the legislation will make a big difference to the lives of children with Type 1 diabetes and other health conditions, and is encouraging people to respond to the six-week consultation on the guidance to help ensure the final version is stronger.This is a vital issue because as well as enabling them to participate fully in school life and maximise their educational potential, getting the right support is vital for the child’s health.Type 1 diabetes is a serious condition and if not managed properly can lead to the child’s blood glucose levels going either dangerously high or dangerously low.In the long term, high blood glucose levels in childhood can increase risk of serious complications such as amputation, blindness and stroke later in life. But as part of its investigation, Diabetes UK has spoken to parents who have had to move their children to another school or educate them at home because they are concerned about their safety. Some parents even had to resort to taking their child’s school to court.
"Support for children with Type 1 diabetes is not good enough"
Help send a strong message to the Government
Barbara Young, Chief Executive for Diabetes UK, said: “While many children are already well supported at school, it is clear that there are too many cases where support for children with Type 1 diabetes is not good enough. This is putting great financial and emotional pressure on families and holding children back educationally at a time when they are already facing the challenge of coming to terms with a serious lifelong condition.
“The Government’s decision to put a legal duty on schools to support children with long-term conditions is one that could be historic because it has the potential to deliver the change children with Type 1 diabetes and other health conditions need to be able to make the most of their school life.
"We are also pleased that the draft guidance is on the way to making it crystal clear what schools need to do to support children with these conditions.“We need to ensure the final guidance is strengthened to clarify a few important remaining points. This is why we want as many people as possible to take part in the consultation, as this would send a strong message to the Government about how important this is.”