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Schoolchildren with health conditions go to Downing Street for better support

Children with a range of health conditions, including six-year-old Cole Barnard (pictured) who has Type 1 diabetes, delivered boxes of letters to 10 Downing Street yesterday asking Gordon Brown to improve support for them at school.

The health and education of many of the estimated one million children and young people with health conditions in England could be at risk because pupils do not always receive adequate support to manage their condition at school and are not being fully included in lessons and activities.

Some pupils’ medical needs are not always met and they miss out academically and socially because of a lack of training and support for school staff.

Schools (Health Support) Bill

Tackling the issue

To tackle this issue, Jim Cunningham MP is putting forward the Schools (Health Support) Bill which is due to have its second reading in Parliament this Friday (8 May).

What the Bill aims to achieve

The Schools (Health Support) Bill aims to make sure:

  • schools are required to produce and implement medical conditions policies – in line with current guidance and best practice
  • school staff receive appropriate support and training to support children with health conditions
  • NHS bodies, local authorities and primary care trusts help schools fulfil their responsibilities
  • school inspections also look at how a school supports children with health conditions
  • every child with a health condition has an individual healthcare plan.

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Each representing a leading health charity, pictured are: [left to right, front row] CLIC Sargent - Sophia Loizia, 17, in remission from cancer of the lymphatic system; Diabetes UK - Cole Barnard, 6, Portsmouth, has Type 1 diabetes; Scope - David Reynolds, 13, Cambridgeshire, has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy; Sickle Cell & Young Stroke Survivors - Daniel Nwosu, 12, London, has suffered strokes and a brain haemorrhage; YoungMinds - Rhiannon Godden, 16, Nottingham, has depression; [left to right, back row] Douglas Smallwood, Diabetes UK Chief Executive and Jim Cunningham, Labour MP for Coventry South.

Please back the Bill

“Some schools do a fantastic job of ensuring all pupils enjoy a full school life, but it is appalling that some do not get the support they need at school to manage their health condition," said Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK.

“Some children with diabetes are excluded from school trips or denied the school of their choice, and others have to change their insulin regimen to fit around school timetables regardless of what’s best for their diabetes control.

“These children and young people are largely invisible in education policy so it is difficult to see how services can be planned and provided to ensure they get the best possible education and that their health is protected.

“We are calling for as many MPs as possible to back Jim Cunningham MP’s Schools (Health Support) Bill on Friday 8 May and help change thousands of lives.”

Charities supporting the Bill

Charities supporting the Bill include the Anaphylaxis Campaign, Asthma UK, British Heart Foundation, Children and Young People's HIV Network, CLIC Sargent, Coeliac UK, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Diabetes UK, Epilepsy Action, INPUT, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, MS Society, National Centre for Young People with Epilepsy (NCYPE), National Voices, Royal College of Nursing, TreeHouse, Scope, Sickle Cell and Young Stroke Survivors (SCYSS), Stroke Association, UK Children with Diabetes Advocacy Group, Vision 2020 UK, and Young Minds.

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