New school law for children with Type 1 diabetes
A new law set to improve support in schools for children with Type 1 diabetes was given the green light yesterday.
It will mean all schools in England will be required by law to make sure children with medical conditions such as Type 1 diabetes, asthma and epilepsy, get the proper care they need in school.
The landmark come into effect from September 2014 following a decision by the Government last October, after months of campaigning by Diabetes UK and other health charities, to amend the Children and Families Bill so that children with medical conditions are supported. The Bill has now been given Royal Assent and so has formally become law.
Diabetes UK called for this legal protection as under the current system many children with Type 1 diabetes struggle to get the extra care they need in school and as a result are experiencing avoidable ill health or being prevented from fully participating in their education.
The Government is now consulting on its draft statutory guidance for the new law, which will set out the practical support schools will be expected to provide. Diabetes UK is encouraging people and especially parents, carers and people affected by diabetes, to take part in the Government’s consultation to help ensure all children are fully able to take part in their school life.
Robin Hewings, Diabetes UK Head of Policy, said “The Government’s new law has the potential to have a massive impact on the lives of thousands of children with Type 1 diabetes who are struggling to get the care they need in schools.
“These children are effectively barred from fully participating in their education and their health can be put at risk due to lack of understanding about their diabetes. This can also have huge ramifications for their future health as diabetes is a condition that requires constant good management to prevent complications from occurring later in life.
“It’s not just the children who are affected. Parents and carers can be forced to give up work to look after their child at school, which places a huge financial and emotional strain on families. We have also heard from parents who have had to have taken the difficult decision to home educate their children or move their children to another school, due to lack of support and their concerns about their safety.
“We are glad that the Government has listened to our concerns and now accepts that the current arrangement for support in schools for children with diabetes isn’t good enough. But the new legal duty will only be effective if it is back up by strong and robust guidance that sets out the support schools will need to provide to support children with medical conditions.
“This is why we are encouraging everybody – especially parents and carers – to take part in the consultation for the guidance that will underpin the new legal duty and tell the Government what they think schools need to do to support children with diabetes. The consultation provides a great opportunity to help ensure all children get the care they need in schools.”