Diabetes: School information

Diabetes: School information

It is important for families to work closely with school staff to create a safe environment for diabetes. A diabetes healthcare provider will generally work with your child/adolescent, your family and teachers.

Key points to remember

  • children with diabetes go to kindergarten, day care and school and participate in all normal educational and social activities
  • every child living with diabetes has specific needs
  • it is important for families to work closely with school staff to create a safe environment for diabetes

Diabetes management at kindergarten, early childhood settings and school

You could share a video with staff at your child's school. Check the external links and downloads below for the link.

Children with diabetes go to kindergarten, day care and school and participate in all normal educational and social activities.

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

Action and management plans

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 a collection of school action and management plans. These aim to support families in creating a safe environment at school for diabetes care. Families need to complete the plans with the support of their local diabetes treating team before sharing them with relevant school staff.

See the Starship website for action and management plans for kindergarten and early childhood, primary and secondary schools.

Other resources

As well as an action and management plan, there are other resources which should be available to your child's school.

School resource flip chart

This is available from Diabetes Youth New Zealand and 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

Hypo pack

This 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.

Important points to cover with school staff

  • schools need to have up to date information resources and education about diabetes. Education should be provided by the healthcare 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

Exams

There are special conditions for young people living with type 1 diabetes sitting NCEA or Cambridge examinations. Negotiate these with your child's school at the beginning of each academic year. Your child's school needs to submit a 'specialist medical report' to NZQA, early each academic year, for each young person. This report confirms the special requirements for students with diabetes.

See information about young people with diabetes and exams at the Starship website.

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

This page last reviewed 17 May 2018.
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