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Parents responsibilities at school

When your child starts school or comes back after being diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important that everyone helps to look after them. This means that you, your child, the school and the PDSN need to work together. 

As the parent of a child with diabetes, there are certain things you need to do like keeping the school up to date with your child’s diabetes management.  

Letting the school know and meeting with them 
Familiarise yourself with your legal rights
Help create your child’s Individual Healthcare Plan
Training and supporting members of school staff
Communicating honestly with the school

Letting the school know and meeting with them

It’s really important you let your child’s school know that they have diabetes as soon as possible. If your child is starting a new school, you should inform the school as soon as their place has been accepted. 

Meeting with your child’s school 

Setting up a meeting with your child’s school means that you can make sure your child will have the help they need by making sure they understand what diabetes is, what support they need and how it should be provided. 

Your first meeting should focus on things like developing an Individual Healthcare Plan (IHP) and all the points in detail that need to be including in it. Make sure you know who will write notes and type up your IHP.

Before your meeting, jot down everything you’d like to talk about and any questions or concerns you have. You should also ask to see any medical policies that the school have so you can read them before the meeting and discuss anything relevant to your child. Usually, these policies can be found on the school’s website. 

There are a number of different people that you’ll need to include in the school meeting, below is a list of the people you should invite.

  • Both parents 
  • Your child, although this can depend on the child’s age as it might not be helpful for a younger child. 
  • Your child’s PDSN. If your PDSN can’t come to the meeting, make sure you speak to them beforehand about what care the school should be providing. 
  • The most relevant members of staff. This would include the headteacher, relevant class teacher or teaching assistant. You might also have a SENCO or Special Educational Needs Advisor there. 
  • If your child is moving from primary to secondary, it might be helpful to have the member of staff who supported them before there if possible. 
  • Any after school or breakfast club staff that will look after your child outside of school hours.   

Familiarise yourself with your legal rights 

Different nations in the UK look after education laws, policies and legislation, so it changes slightly depending on where you live. Below is a table that shows what policies and guidance your nation has in place to make sure your child gets the best care possible. 

 LegislationStatutory Guidance

Equality Act 2010

Children and Families Act 2014

Supporting pupils with medical conditions at schools

Independent school regulations

WalesEquality Act 2010Supporting learners with Healthcare needs
ScotlandEquality Act 2010None
Northern IrelandDisability Discrimination Act 1995None

Help create your child’s Individual Healthcare Plan

Each child with a medical condition should have their own Individual Healthcare Plan (IHP). It should include a description of diabetes, how your child treats it, and how it might affect them during school. 

It should also include how often it needs to be reviewed, the review process and who can change the plan. Your child’s IHP should be ideally reviewed at least once a year to make sure your child is getting the right care as they grow up.  

Your child’s IHP should be as detailed as possible because it’s thought of as a type of written agreement that’s drawn up with the school. 

Download a sample IHP  

In some areas like Scotland, having an IHP isn’t compulsory, but it’s a useful tool to use as a guide when you’re setting up your child’s care. 

Providing written permission 

You and the head teacher of your child’s school will have to give written permission for insulin to be delivered by a staff member to your child if your child doesn't self-administer their insulin themselves. 

Training and supporting members of the school staff

All members of staff who will be responsible for looking after your child should be trained and understand the individual needs of your child. You shouldn’t take on the sole responsibility of training school staff about diabetes care though, but you might want to help. 

Most of the time it will be your PDSN that will train school staff. This could be in school or at the hospital your PDSN is based. If you want to help with the training, you should agree with your PDSN how you’ll support them before the training sessions. 

In your meetings with the school, you should have decided with the school and your PDSN who should receive training, when this will take place and what training school staff will need like what is insulin and how it works, hypos and hypers or how to test a child’s blood sugar. 

Communicating honestly with school

You, your child and school staff should all feel confident to talk to each other about managing diabetes in school. 

You and the staff at school need to find a way to communicate with each other about anything that’s happened during the day, especially if you have a younger child. A good way of doing this is having a log book where they note down anything that happened during the day, and you note down anything that happened during the morning, evening or weekend that they might need to know. 

It’s also handy to have a key contact at school that is your main point of call for any information or changes that happen with your child’s care. Make sure you know who this is and the best way to contact them if you ever need too. 

There are also times during the day that school staff might need to call you. It’s really important that the school has an emergency contact for you and someone else that you nominate.  

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