Diabetes at School
School needn't be a nightmare for your child. Many children with type 1 diabetes, and other types of diabetes, have sailed through school without hassle.
Communication is key to ensuring your child is well supported through school. You should work with your school to ensure they know what support your child needs.
If your child can maintain reasonably good blood glucose control, this will likely benefit their ability to achieve good grades and prosper socially.
Ensuring your child has the right diabetes care at school
Your child's school needs to be aware that your child has diabetes as well as what care your child will need in school. It is best to have an Individual Healthcare Plan (IHP) drawn up to detail all the important information about your child's diabetes including how the child will manage their diabetes and what support they need to do this.
The school should be aware of your child’s testing and treatment needs and should be informed as to how to act should your child have too low or too high blood sugar levels.
Your child's paediatric diabetes specialist nurse can help you and the school with drawing up the Individual Healthcare Plan.
Under the Equality Act 2010, children with diabetes in the UK should not be put at a significant disadvantage to other children.
Recently, within England, the Children and Families Act 2014 was passed which ensures that schools have a legal duty to support children with medical conditions such as diabetes.
Other acts and guidance also exist to support children with diabetes and these vary between the different countries of the UK.
Diabetes and physical education (PE)
If your child’s blood sugar is in a normal range, there’s usually no reason why they shouldn’t take part in sports.
Make sure your child’s physical education teacher is aware of the instances (such as low or very high sugar levels) in which it is not safe for them to continue to take part in physical activity.
Their teacher should also allow your child to take time out to do a blood test when they need to.
Be aware though that if your child does not enjoy sports in general, they may use a high or low blood sugar as an excuse not to take part.
Snacks, testing and injections at school
If your child needs to do blood tests or have snacks at certain times, the school should recognise and make allowances for this. Your child should have appropriate facilities available to use to perform blood tests and injections.
This should not be the toilets. Discuss with the school how your child will be able to manage their blood sugar during exams.
Diabetes and school absence
Your school should recognise that there may be times when your child will be absent from school. This could be a result of clinic appointments or it could be related to an instance of high or low blood sugar.
If your child’s blood sugar control is relatively well controlled, these absences should be relatively rare.
Bullying and diabetes
Sadly anything that makes a child stand out can make them a target for bullies. Bullying should not be tolerated and the school should take measures to ensure steps are taken to prevent the bullying.
Diabetes and school trips
Children with diabetes should not be excluded from school trips on account of their diabetes. If your child needs help with managing their diabetes, someone should attend the trip that can provide this support.
Staff on the trip should be aware of your child’s diabetes and know how to respond to hypos or emergencies.
A risk assessment, carried out in good time before the trip, is recommended to help ensure that your child's diabetes is well accommodated for the trip or travel.