Diabetes: School information

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Diabetes management at school

Children with diabetes attend school and participate in all normal educational and social activities.

A diabetes health care provider will generally work with a child/adolescent, their family and teachers. This ensures that school staff know about the safe management of diabetes and can involve your child fully in school based activities without discrimination.

Resources available for schools

It is important to recognise that every child living with diabetes has specific needs. The 'Clinical Network for Children and Young People's Diabetes Services' has developed the 'New Zealand school action management plans'. These plans are for diabetes nurse specialists who work within diabetes specialist services in New Zealand to individualise in collaboration with famlies. See the following:

As well as an individualised action and management plan, the following should be available to the school:

  • a 'school resource flip chart' available from Diabetes Youth New Zealand. It covers the following topics:
    • introduction
    • what is diabetes?
    • high blood glucose (hyperglycaemia)
    • low blood glucose (hypoglycaemia)
    • treatment of a mild to moderate 'hypo'
    • treatment of a severe 'hypo'
    • food and diabetes
    • camps
    • exercise and diabetes
    • diabetes treatment at school/exams
    • family, other topics and student's services
  • a hypo pack that includes items that would be used in the event of a 'hypo' or low blood sugar episode and clear instructions on how to administer. Items could include glucose tablets, juice drinks as well as carbohydrate snacks

Creating a safe environment for diabetes at school

It is important for families to work closely with school staff to create a safe environment for diabetes. Parents need to arrange a meeting with the school as early as possible to discuss the action and management plan and associated care requirements. Imnportant points to cover:

  • schools need to have up to date information resources and education about diabetes. Education should be provided by the health care professionals who are suitably qualified and are involved in the care of your child
  • children with diabetes should always wear medic-alert identification at school
  • children with diabetes should be allowed to test their blood glucose levels in the classroom if they wish
  • children with diabetes should be allowed to inject insulin in public if they wish
  • children with type 1 diabetes should never be left alone when hypo or be prevented from eating or drinking to treat or prevent a hypo
  • special conditions for young people living with type 1 diabetes sitting NCEA or Cambridge examinations should be negotiated with the school at the beginning of each academic year. A 'specialist medical report' for each young person confirming special requirements must be submitted to NZQA by the school early each academic year


The Paediatric Society of New Zealand acknowledges the cooperation of the Starship Children's Hospital, Auckland District Health Board. This fact sheet has been produced in collaboration with the 'National Clinical Network for Children and Young People's Diabetes Services'.

This page last reviewed 27 May 2015
© Paediatric Society of New Zealand and Starship Foundation 2005 – 2016
Printed on 10 February 2016. Content is regularly updated so please refer to www.kidshealth.org.nz for the most up-to-date version
Content endorsed by the Paediatric Society of New Zealand