Girl with type 1 diabetes banned from school trip due to hospital appointment

Jack Woodfield
Mon, 09 Oct 2017
Girl with type 1 diabetes banned from school trip due to hospital appointment
A girl with type 1 diabetes has been denied the chance to go on cinema trip with her school to reward pupils with perfect attendance because of a past hospital appointment.

Olivia Harkins (pictured left), aged seven, was informed by Blackmoor Park Junior School, in West Derby, that she has not attended 100 per cent of her lessons so far this year because of an appointment with her diabetes consultant.

Pupils ruled to have attended 100 per cent of school will be eligible for the cinema trip, and despite attending all her lessons so far, Olivia's hospital visit has been deemed a violation of her attendance record.

Medical appointments are not exempt, and the school only permits absences deemed to be "absolutely necessary", according to headteacher Colin Richardson.

Olivia's mother Liz (pictured right) has accused the school of discrimination and along with her husband Christian has made a formal complaint.

Mrs Harkins told the Liverpool Echo: "I can appreciate they want to get attendance up but why penalise kids who are genuinely ill? It's not a dentist appointment - it's completely different. Diabetes is a serious condition.

"Olivia is devastated she's going to miss out on this trip. She’s never off school and they know she has diabetes.

"She's got a monitor attached to her which goes off constantly throughout the night and she can be up two to three times a night. She gets up in the morning absolutely shattered but she still wants to go to school."

Mr Richardson said in a statement: "In partnership with parents, we are making a real effort to make sure that children do not miss lessons unless it is absolutely necessary.

"Attendance is a priority for us at Blackmoor Park Junior School. If the children miss school, then they are missing out on so much more than lessons."

Editor's note: It is extremely disappointing to see such a stark lack of diabetes awareness transpire where the main consequence is a little girl being excluded because of her diabetes. Diabetes health checks and consultant visits and essential to attend for children with diabetes, and schools should be supportive of the fact that sometimes these checks are scheduled within school hours. We hope that a satisfactory outcome can be achieved where Olivia is able to attend the school’s planned cinema trip.

Picture: Colin Lane / Liverpool Echo
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