Diabetes in Schools

A 6 million Australian Dollar (US 3.8m) diabetes in Schools program is hoped to help reduce the impact of type1 diabetes (T1D) for students, parents and schools.

The programme should ensure that principals, teachers and school staff have the support, training and tools they need to support students with T1 diabetes at school.

“A recent survey found that one in every four parents of a student with T1D have to attend the school at least once a week to administer insulin for their child,” former Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson said.

“There are around 11,000 school students with T1D across Australia so this is an enormous burden. Every one of these students may need insulin injections or other important diabetes management support during school.

“The new Diabetes in Schools program, funded by the Australian Government and part of the National Diabetes Services Scheme, signals a new era in school support for kids with T1D and their families.

“We have consulted extensively with school principals, teachers and the education sector who clearly indicated they wanted more support, training and tools to help them support students with T1D.”

The national survey of parents revealed the serious issues and impacts of T1D on the school experience of these children:

● 5% of parents have to visit school at least once a week to administer insulin

● 65% of children with diabetes had a low or high blood glucose episode at school that required the parent to attend the school

● 71% of children were unable to attend school because of a diabetes-related issue

● 53% of parents believed diabetes had impacted on their child’s ability to fully participate in school activities

● 10% of the children visited the doctor or emergency department because of a severe diabetes episode at school

● Students with diabetes missed an average of more than two weeks of school a year as a result of T1D

● 49% of parents believe school staff would benefit from more education and training to support children with T1D

Professor Johnson said the results painted a clear picture of why the Diabetes in Schools program was needed.

Visit the Diabetes in Schools website for more information: https://www.diabetesinschools.com.au/

Advocacy Action: Does your education service have clear guidelines for schools to support students with diabetes and other chronic conditions? Can you adapt the Australian programme? Do you already have a programme that could be shared with others?