Ireland signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 30 September 1990 and ratified it, without reservation, on 21 September 1992. By ratifying the Convention, Ireland became a ‘State Party’ to it and made a formal commitment to safeguard the rights of children set out in Article 28 of the convention: The child has the right to education; the State has a duty to make primary education compulsory and free to all. The school has a duty of care to each individual child to protect their health and safety.
For the child with diabetes, the school needs to adopt a “diabetes friendly” policy and facilitate a supportive atmosphere to ensure the child’s education is not affected by their condition. This will ensure that the child with diabetes has access to carbohydrate and fluids as necessary. For a younger child with diabetes, this may require a higher level of supervision, most specially, that food is consumed at break times and that low blood sugars are avoided and when occur, are noticed quickly and dealt with efficiently. For children using an insulin pump (depending on the age and competence of the child) guidelines from the parents and / or the child’s diabetes team should be sought.
How the school fulfils that duty of care is up to the individual school. Each case must be individualised. There may be cases where additional support is warranted to ensure adequate supervision at all times. Blood sugar testing will be required during school hours and may require supervision in the younger child with agreed guidelines for communication of results to parents/guardians and action as warranted when results are outside agreed targets. In the intensive management of diabetes, insulin injections may be required during school hours and the school would be encouraged to provide suitable arrangements to facilitate this.
The diabetes management of each child is determined by their diabetes team, the child and their family and for the school going child, special consideration of diabetes management during school hours is necessary
This position statement should be supplemented by the information in the booklet “Your_Student_with_Diabetes” please also see the newly developed Schools Resource Pack