Diabetes UK welcomes landmark duties to support pupils with medical conditions
A group of national health charities including Diabetes UK have welcomed new statutory guidance to improve support in schools to over 1 million children with long-term medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, cancer, Type 1 diabetes, stroke, coeliac disease and anaphylaxis.
The new statutory guidance was issued to schools on Thursday 15th May by the Government following its landmark decision last year to amend the Children and Families Act. From September schools in England will be legally required to provide the high quality support children with medical conditions need.
The guidance for the new law is statutory and sets out the practical support schools will be expected to provide to support children with medical conditions, such as making sure they have individual healthcare plans in place and training and support for school staff.
The charities, who form the Health Conditions in Schools Alliance, represent over a million children with health needs. They called for this legal protection as under the current system while many schools already offer excellent support for children with health conditions, there are too many examples where children with health needs are prevented from meeting their full educational potential as a result of ill health, bullying, and stigma at school.
Some children also face discrimination in relation to school trips and extra-curricular activities, which means they are effectively excluded from leading a full and active school life. In addition, some schools fail to support the social and emotional implications associated with medical conditions.
The charities are calling on schools to implement the Government’s new guidance and work with parents, local authorities and health services to help ensure children with medical conditions can get the high quality support they need in school.
Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “We welcome the Government’s new statutory guidance as it will provide schools with the duties they will need to follow to help ensure over a million children with a medical condition will get the proper support that they need in school.
“Many of these children can face discrimination and avoidable ill health at school, which can badly dent their confidence and wellbeing and potentially lead to further health and educational problems later in life.
“We will be working with schools to help them implement these new duties so that they have the right policy, and practical support to meet the needs of children with medical conditions.”
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