The Government has committed to working with Diabetes UK and other stakeholders to ensure that children with health conditions are fully supported at school. The pledge came during the second reading debate on Jim Cunningham MP’s Private Members’ Bill, the Schools (Health Support) Bill on Friday 8 May.
During the debate, the Government made a number of commitments designed to ensure that all schools provide appropriate support to all children with a health condition, which allowed Jim Cunningham to withdraw the Bill before it went to a vote – with the commitment that he would be the first person to remind the Minister if these measures are not delivered.
Government's plan of action
The Government’s plan of action to improve support for children with health conditions at school included:
- A pledge to ensure that the final Every Child Matters guidance includes specific reference to schools considering the health requirements of children with long term conditions
- Provision in the Child Health Strategy for every child with complex health needs to have an individual healthcare plan by 2010
- Greater local cooperation between services as a result of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill, which will make schools a statutory partner in the local Children’s Trust with the PCT and Local Authority and will be required to work together to promote child well-being
- Asking Ofsted to include indicators on pupil well-being when it designs the cycle of inspections starting in 2009
- Updating the current guidelines on ‘Managing Medicines in Schools and Early Years Settings’.
Tribute to Diabetes UK
During the debate, MPs from all parties paid tribute to Diabetes UK’s work to improve support for children with health conditions. Diabetes UK had been working with 21 organisations that represent the needs of children with health conditions in the lead up to the second reading, including Asthma UK, CLIC Sargent and Young Minds.
Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of leading health charity Diabetes UK, said: “It was fantastic to hear Jim Cunningham MP’s Schools (Health Support) Bill being debated in Parliament today.
“The Bill raised some extremely important issues that could affect around one million children and young people with a health condition in schools across England. It is vital that policy makers sit up and take notice of these issues and Diabetes UK is extremely grateful to Mr Cunningham for helping to make this happen.
“We are delighted that, on the back of the debate, the Government has pledged to take action to ensure that all children with health conditions get appropriate support at school. We look forward to hearing more detail about their plans in the near future.”
The Schools (Health Support) Bill aimed to address current inequalities in provision of health support at school.