Home Get involved Campaigning Our campaigns Type 1 diabetes: Make the grade Diabetes in school short film competition 2015

Diabetes in school short film competition 2015

From debunking misconceptions about Type 1 diabetes to quizzing friends on their knowledge, the Diabetes in School Short Film Competition was a unique platform for young people to show what life with the condition is really like.

Forming part of Diabetes UK’s Type 1 diabetes: Make the grade campaign to make sure all children with Type 1 diabetes get the right support and care at school, the competition invited 11-17 year olds to make a three-minute film about their diabetes and the impact it’s had on their school life. 

All 21 films are now being used and made available for schools to help to raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes and what good care at school should look like. 

“Something like Type 1 can be difficult to manage and make you feel unsure about yourself, and less confident because it makes you stand out. To take that and turn it into a positive through this film competition is really powerful and empowering for the entrants.” – Jen Greives

Two categories, Best Individual Film and Best Group Film, were judged by a panel made up of Diabetes UK’s former president Richard Lane, actress Elinor Crawley, BAFTA award-winning filmmaker Michael B. Clifford, BBC Digital Producer Jen Grieves, filmmaker Elizabeth Milligan and Diabetes UK’s Clinical Advisor Libby Dowling.

Ten finalists, their friends, families and teachers were invited to the home of the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) to showcase their powerful films. 

The public had their say on the Fan Favourite – the entry with the most ‘likes’ on Diabetes UK’s YouTube channel. Winners received a GoPro camera for themselves, and an iMac and iPad Air for their schools. 


From documenting a day-in-the-life of a pupil with Type 1 diabetes to takling myths and misconceptions about Type 1, the finalists enchanted the judges with their unique spin on life with diabetes at school. 

“We were looking for something fun, appealing and creative, with a clear message,” said Elinor. “I wasn’t expecting the level of creativity and brilliance that we actually got.” 

Head judge Richard added: “The children all put in so much effort, creativity and imagination. Above all, they showed us the friendship and support they get from all their friends, and that was very, very moving.”  


The power of film is undeniable, and gives young people with Type 1 diabetes the chance to “have their own voice”, said Jen, who has a blog about living with Type 1 – Young, Fun & Type 1.

“That’s the fantastic thing about digital media, everyone has a voice if they want it – you can write a blog in minutes or you can pick up a camera,” she added.

Jibran, Jordan, Keera and Lilly's film 'Dylicia's Diary' was Highly Commended by the judges.

“Children can now have a level of independence in school because of the campaign. It’s important that these changes are made in schools so kids have the right support and that teachers don’t feel afraid of diabetes.” – Elinor Crawley


The film competition has also highlighted the importance of raising awareness of Type 1 diabetes and making sure children are not held back by their condition at school – something which Diabetes UK is working hard to achieve through its Type 1 diabetes: Make the grade campaign

“Until the last few years, children with diabetes had very little support in school,” Richard said. “The campaign has brought that situation into perspective – support is absolutely vital.

Elinor added that being on the judging panel has taken her back to her own experiences of school when she was diagnosed 15 years ago. It fell to her parents to come into school to help her test her blood sugar levels and inject insulin, instead of teachers. 

Thalie Martini, Delivery Manager of Type 1 diabetes: Make the grade, said: “Through this competition we’ve seen that life with diabetes isn’t going to stop you, it’s not going to prevent you from having a successful career – and we’ve seen examples from Richard, Elinor, Jen and Elizabeth, who all have Type 1 diabetes. 

“These children have also demonstrated through their films that they can have fulfilling and fun times at school, and diabetes isn’t going to get in the way of that. For me, that’s the biggest success of the competition.” 


Winner Best Group Film 

Kaitlyn and her friends Emma, Abigail, Tiji, Ellie and Danielle, from Ashfield Girls High School in Belfast, won Best Group Film for their entry, ‘Kaitlyn – No limits’

Kaitlyn, who is described in the film as a ‘sportswoman, student, gymnast, dancer and friend’ living with Type 1 diabetes with ‘no limits’, said winning the award was “really exciting, emotional and overwhelming”. 

“When I first got diabetes, I was really worried people were going to make fun of me, but everyone was really supportive, helping me check my bloods and helping me through my hypos,” she said. 

“I want young people with diabetes to know that they can do what they want. There are ‘no limits’ on what they can do.” 


Best Group film: Kaitlyn – No limits!

By Kaitlyn, Emma, Abigail, Tiji, Ellie and Danielle

Ashford Girls' High School, Belfast


Winner Best Individual Film 

Phoebe, 11, from Swindon, was the winner of Best Individual Film for ‘What do you really know?’ which she made during her final year at St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School. 

Phoebe, who’s had Type 1 diabetes for seven years, said: “I’m so surprised to have won. I’m just over the moon! The competition was absolutely amazing and there were so many people who deserved to win, but we’re all winners in everyone’s eyes.” 

Her mum Michelle added: “I’m ecstatic, she’s a superstar!” 

Phoebe entered the competition because she wanted to raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes in school. “I thought the competition was a really good idea because a lot of people don’t really know about diabetes, and I think it should be discussed more. 

“I wanted the message, for people who are diabetic, to be that they can do whatever they want.” 


Best Individual Film: What do you really know?

By Phoebe

St Catherine's Primary School, Swindon


Highly Commended

‘Dylicia’s diary’ by Dylicia, who has Type 1 diabetes, and her friends Jibran, Jordan, Keera and Lilly from Hexthorpe Primary School in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, was Highly Commended by the judges. 

The cleverly animated film was written from Dylicia’s perspective. She said: “We wanted to raise awareness of diabetes, and make sure that people were getting the right care in school. 

“Having diabetes helps you in a way because it makes you realise how confident you can be and that nothing can stop you from doing what you want. If people know how I cope with it, it might help them.” 


Highly Commended Film: Dylicia's Diary

By Dylicia, Jibran, jordan, Keera and Lilly

Hexthorpe Primary School, Doncaster


Fan Favourite

Blessing, from Alexandra Park School in North London, won the Fan Favourite award after getting 1,144 votes on Diabetes UK’s YouTube channel for her film, ‘Diabetes doesn’t have me, I have diabetes’. 

The category allowed members of the public to vote for their favourite video on Diabetes UK’s YouTube channel. 

Blessing, who shared her film with her Twitter followers, as well as family, friends and her school, said she was “surprised” to get so many votes. “I’m really thankful,” she said. “I saw the competition on my Twitter timeline as I follow Diabetes UK and I felt it was something I wanted to do because diabetes has such an impact on my life. I wanted to talk about it and spread awareness.” 

Fan Favourite: Diabetes doesn't have me, I have diabetes

By Blessing

Alexandra Park School, North London



A collection of videos and short films all about Type 1 Diabetes.