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Pupils: Diabetes

Volume 489: debated on Friday 20 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) what recent assessment his Department has made of the provision of healthcare for children with diabetes in (a) primary schools and (b) secondary schools; (243012)

(2) what recent assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of provision of care for children with diabetes (a) in schools and (b) on school trips;

(3) what estimate he has made of the number of children of school age whose diabetic conditions (a) prevent and (b) reduce their attendance at school;

(4) what guidance his Department provides to schools on in school healthcare for children with diabetes;

(5) what recent discussions his Department has had with the Department of Health on healthcare for children with diabetes when in school;

(6) what estimate he has made of the number of children with diabetes who were unable to participate in school trips owing to a lack of healthcare provision during such trips in the last 12 months.

It is for schools and local authorities to support children with medical conditions at schools. The Department has issued guidance to schools to help them support their pupils. Our guidance to schools, “Managing Medicines in Schools and Early Years Settings”, issued jointly with the Department of Health in 2005, specifically addresses what schools can do to support pupils with medical needs such as diabetes. It encourages schools and local authorities to develop policies on the management of pupil’s medicines and on supporting pupils with medical needs, taking account of local resources and their various responsibilities. We produced sister guidance in the same year, entitled “Including me: managing complex health needs in schools and early years settings”.

We are taking a number of steps to ensure that pupils with long term medical conditions have access to the help they need to enable them to attend school and participate in school activities.

In April 2007, the Department of Health published a report entitled “Making Every Young Person with Diabetes Matter”, and has convened a group to support the implementation of best practice as set out in the report. The Department for Children, Schools and Families is represented on that group, and also on the sub-group set up to look specifically at support in schools.

Since September 2007 schools have a duty to promote the well-being of all pupils, including those with long term medical conditions. This duty defines well-being as the five outcomes of Every Child Matters, including being healthy and staying safe.

Most recently, the “Child Health Strategy, Better Health: Brighter Futures”, published on 12 February this year, announced that we will be revising the guidance to schools on managing medicines which will include clear statements of expectations of those involved in supporting pupils with medical conditions, such as schools and PCTs. Our intention is that this work will be done in consultation with expert organisations, such as Diabetes UK, and will be supported with an awareness raising campaign.