Under equality laws, schools have a duty to make 'reasonable adjustments' to prevent any child with a disability, from being placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to non-disabled children. While children with diabetes and their parents may not consider diabetes a disability, they are still covered by these laws.
The following are examples of simple adjustments that a school could make to ensure that a child with diabetes fulfils their academic potential in an exam:
- Allowing the child to bring their blood glucose monitor and testing strips in to the exam, and to test whenever necessary during the exam.
- Allowing the child to bring hypo remedies in to the exam (this might include a sugary drink, sweets or a snack. The parent or PDSN will advise on the most suitable hypo remedy for a child).
- Allowing them to bring in water (hyperglycaemia can cause excessive thirst).
- Allowing them supervised toilet breaks, as frequently as they need (hyperglycaemia can cause frequent urination).
- Allowing the child to sit in the place that is most appropriate for them, eg sitting close to the invigilator if they would like someone to keep a closer eye on them in case of a hypo/hyper.
- Allowing extra time in case of a hypo/hyper.
- Making sure that the invigilator/s know that there is a child with diabetes sitting the exam and what adjustments to usual procedure have been agreed.
- Making sure that the invigilator/s understand about diabetes and how it can affect a child in an exam.
This is not an exhaustive list at all, and individual children will have different needs. The child (if they wish), parent, PDSN and relevant school staff should discuss the specific needs of a child in plenty of time so that arrangements can be put in place. This should be detailed in the child's Individual Healthcare Plan.