Young people with diabetes are able to participate fully in school life. However, there are aspects of school life that can affect diabetes, for example sports, break times, school camps and exams. Because of this, it’s important that the school knows whether a student has diabetes. The school has a duty of care to create a safe environment and adequate supervision.
Earlier this year, the Federal Government announced funding for a new Diabetes in Schools training program that will deliver nationally consistent training for teachers and school staff.
It will be targeted at every school with a student with type 1 diabetes and this will cover the safe administration of insulin, hypoglycemia (low blood glucose level) management, and “normalising” diabetes in schools so the students are not stigmatised.
The program will be developed with opportunity provided for input from a wide range of stakeholders. It will also clarify the legal framework for diabetes management in schools as currently there is confusion about who can train school staff, and which school staff should be trained. Read the media release announcing funding here.
Tips for students on how to tell their teacher and friends is available on the MyD site, a dedicated website for young people with diabetes, developed by NDSS.
Mastering Diabetes is a new NDSS resource to help families, teachers and paediatric endocrinology teams. It has been designed to help teachers and families support children with type 1 diabetes at school and preschool, helping children to learn, grow and have fun. It is available as a PDF or an eBook.
Diabetes in Schools Report 2017
Diabetes Australia's Diabetes in Schools Report calls for a nationally consistent approach to diabetes support in schools and all education settings to benefit over 11,000 children and young people with diabetes and their families across Australia.
Children and young people with diabetes should be supported to actively and fully participate in all school can offer them along the academic pathway and towards healthy psychosocial and physical development.
Information for teachers
There are around 11,000 children and young people in Australia who are living with diabetes. Most children have type 1 diabetes, although increasingly we are seeing children and young people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. There are now nearly 1,000 young people aged 20 or under in Australia with type 2 diabetes. The increasing prevalence of diabetes in younger people means that as a teacher it is highly likely that you will have a student with diabetes in your class at sometime.
A student with diabetes can do everything their peers do, but, because of their diabetes, they may need:
- special consideration
- extra supervision
- extra toilet privileges
- to eat at additional times, especially with sport
- extra consideration if unwell
- special provisions for privacy if testing blood glucose levels and injecting insulin at school is necessary.
Duty of Care
Schools have a legal responsibility to provide:
- a safe environment
- adequate supervision.
When the school knows that certain students have diabetes, staff (including relief staff) need to know enough about diabetes to ensure the safety of those students (especially in regard to hypoglycaemia and safety in sport). Parents/guardians have a responsibility to advise the school of their child’s medical condition and the particular requirements for the management of their child’s diabetes. For children with special requirements, a written individual management plan incorporating medical recommendations should be developed with the school in collaboration with the parents/guardians and doctor. This should be attached to the student’s records.
Contact your state or territory diabetes office for information about strategies to support children living with diabetes in your local area.
The NDSS has created a new resource, after receiving requests for material to help children with type 1 diabetes at preschool and schools. This booklet, called Mastering Diabetes, was created with the help of families, teachers and paediatric endocrinology teams. It has been designed to help teachers and families support children with type 1 diabetes at school and preschool, helping children to learn, grow and have fun. It includes information about looking after young people with type 1 diabetes in preschool and school, how to build strong communication lines between families and schools and outlines the responsibilities of teachers and other school staff. You can download it as an eBook and as a PDF.
Queensland have developed an educational booklet about managing type 1 diabetes at school to give to teachers and coaches. The booklet that can be emailed or printed- Students with Diabetes
- Diabetes Victoria have a great webpage on school diabetes management plans titled Relieving Back to School Anxieties
- Diabetes NSW has launched www.as1diabetes.com.au that provides explanations, ideas, links and resources to support young people living with diabetes and those around them to better understand diabetes and how it influences their lives
- NDSS has a dedicated site for young people with diabetes MyD