Looking after a child with diabetes isn't just the responsibility of one person. But everyone involved in looking after a child with diabetes as a slightly different role and responsibilities in a child’s
Diabetes affects every child differently, so it’s really important you read their individual healthcare plan. This will help you get a better understanding of their diabetes and how it affects them personally.
Your school will have at least two trained members of staff who are fully trained to look after a child with diabetes. It’s your responsibility as a teacher to make sure you know who these members of staff are and what you should do in an emergency.
If you teach a child with diabetes, it’s likely that they’ll have a hypo or hyper over the year they’re with you.
Making sure you know what to do is really important, this should all be outlined in the child’s IHP. However, if you want to find out more about hypos and hypers we’ve got loads of practical information to help.
The severity of a hypo changes every time a child has one. But they are generally treated with something sugary to eat or drink. You should always let a child with diabetes, or their trained member of staff, to treat a hypo straight away.
If a child has high or low blood sugar levels, you shouldn’t make them leave the class, and they should never be left on their own or sent to get treatment alone. A hypo can make a child feel dizzy or unsteady so they should be allowed to treat and recover where they are.
Children who have high blood sugar, known as being hyper, must be able to go to the toilet and drink whenever they need too. You must also let them or the trained member of staff give them extra insulin when they need it and deal with their pump.
A child's IHP will detail the triggers and symptoms of a hypo and hyper. This will help you identify when their blood sugars might be getting too high or low.
The IHP will also tell you who you should tell if the child has a hypo or hyper. Usually, this will be the trained member of staff, the school nurse and the child’s parents.
General responsibilities in class
Remember that each child's diabetes is different and you have a responsibility to treat each child as an individual.
It’s important to remember that hypos can affect a child’s ability to concentrate and can cause changes in behaviour. Hypos or hypers can cause children with diabetes to misbehave, which is something they can’t control, so it’s important to remember this when it comes to disciplining a child with diabetes.
A child with diabetes will have to go for check-ups with their healthcare team at the hospital.
Their attendance shouldn’t be penalised because of these appointments. Your school's medical conditions policy should be clear on how these appointments are entered into the register.
Your student with diabetes might miss some of your lessons and need to catch up. How you do this will depend on their personal circumstances. But you should talk about it with the student, their parents and find the best way for them to catch up.
If a supply teacher is covering your class, they’ll need to be told that a child with diabetes is in your class. Your school's medical conditions policy will explain how a supply teacher is told and who should do it. It might be your responsibility to do this, so always check.
You should never carry out any healthcare procedures without being adequately trained.
PE, school trips and other extracurricular activities
A child must never be excluded from a school trip, PE, or any extra-curricular activities because of their diabetes.
If you are taking a child with diabetes for PE or if they’re playing sports for the school then you must know how to treat their diabetes before, during and after. They’ll also need somewhere safe to store their diabetes equipment.
If you are arranging a school trip, you’ll need to make sure you’ve planned how a to take part which should be part of your risk assessment.
For longer trips, you’ll need to meet with the child, the child's parents, your school's trained members of staff and PDSN to agree on the support and care required for them to take part.
Only allowing a child with diabetes to take part in an extra-curricular activity or trip if one of their parents or carers accompanies them is not acceptable practice.
We have more on school trips and exams if you’d like more detailed information.