There’s no reason that a child with type 1 diabetes shouldn’t be able to go on a school trip or miss out on any part of school life.
School across the UK have a legal responsibility to make arrangements to support any student with a medical condition so that they can enjoy the same opportunities as any other child, including school trips.
Before a school trip, have a meeting with the parents, child and their paediatric diabetes specialist nurse (PDSN) to cover what their needs are outside of school time.
Any child with diabetes should already have an individual healthcare plan or IHP which goes shows what they need and which members of staff help them.
This meeting should ideally take place about six weeks before the trip, although the sooner you can meet the better. This is so you have enough time to train any members of staff on any area’s that might come up in the meeting.
If possible, it’s a good idea if the members of staff that help to look after a student’s diabetes in school can go on the school trip. This is because the child and their parents will already be comfortable and confident with them helping to manage their diabetes.
At least two people should be fully trained to support a child with diabetes, but all members of staff who are going on the trip should be aware of the child’s diabetes and what to do in case of an emergency.
There should always be enough trained staff available to support and make sure students with diabetes can take part. Schools should never rely on parents or carers to provide this support.
If you’re taking students on a school trip where you’re staying overnight, a child with diabetes will need insulin injections and their blood sugar testing. This might also include testing and giving them insulin during the night.
If your student uses a pump, you might need a pump set change depending on how long the trip lasts.
If the child can’t blood test or do their own injections or manage their pump, this will need to be done by a member of staff. The staff who will do this should meet with the parents and PDSN well in advance of the trip to talk about what help their child will need and get extra training if needed.
School staff who organise school trips should be aware of how a child’s diabetes might impact on their participation, but there should be enough flexibility to ensure a child can still join in.
School staff should look at what reasonable adjustments they might need to make so a child with diabetes can take part and have fun safely.
It is best practice to carry out a risk assessment to identify any changes that need to be made to a child’s care that you don’t look after on a normal school day. This will need to be done in good time and with the child, if their old enough, parent and PDSN.
The main risk for a child with diabetes is that they become unwell because of high or low blood sugar levels. If not managed properly, this can lead to the child needing medical help.
Activity, food, any change in routine, stress and excitement can all affect blood sugar levels, all of which are likely to happen on a school trip. But if school staff are aware of these potential risks, action can be taken to make sure a child is safe and that their diabetes is managed.
Our type 1 diabetes and school trip resource
To find out more about helping a child with type 1 diabetes have the same experience on a school trip and have the tools to make sure this happens, download our type 1 diabetes and school trip resource.