Diabetes in Schools Program

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Diabetes in Schools is an information and training program designed for families, schools and school staff to help them support students with type 1 diabetes to manage their condition while at school.

There are around 11,000 children and young people with diabetes attending schools in Australia. Type 1 diabetes often requires round-the-clock management, support and care. This includes intensive management with multiple daily injections of insulin or insulin pump therapy, combined with regular monitoring of blood glucose levels throughout the day.

Diabetes in Schools is funded through the National Diabetes Services Scheme and is a new nationally consistent training program that aims to make it easier for teachers and staff to support children with type 1 diabetes and give parents confidence that their children will be safe and supported at school.

The program includes new information and tools to better support parents and families and school principals; as well as a targeted, nationally consistent three level training and support program for teachers and school staff about the management of children with type 1 diabetes in schools.

This training covers the support and management of students with type 1 diabetes in schools including insulin administration, hypoglycaemia management and normalising type 1 diabetes management in schools.

Program Objectives

  • All schools have access to nationally consistent information and training on type 1 diabetes in schools;
  • Roles and responsibilities of parents and families, schools and school staff, and health professionals/services in supporting students with type 1 diabetes at school are clear;
  • Students with type 1 diabetes have their diabetes needs supported at school;
  • Students with type 1 diabetes can participate in school activities on the same basis as their peers;
  • School staff and principals are confident in supporting students with type 1 diabetes;
  • Parents are confident that their school can support their child’s type 1 diabetes needs.
  • Health professionals are confident that schools can support the student’s prescribed type 1 diabetes management

Program Development

The program has been developed following extensive stakeholder consultation over the last 18 months, with input from several advisory groups made up of paediatric diabetes clinicians, principals, teachers, school staff, school nurses and parents. The program has the support of all major diabetes health and consumer groups including the Australian Diabetes Educators Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Australasian Paediatric Endocrine Group and Australian Diabetes Society.  Diabetes Australia has also consulted with each Department of Education, Catholic Education Commission and Independent Schools Association in each state and territory. In addition to the broad consultation and co-design process undertaken, the program has been extensively user-tested with principals, school staff, healthcare professionals and parents from across the country, subsequently receiving extremely positive reviews from all user groups.

 Program Design

The program includes three levels of training:

  • Level 1 Introductory training is designed for all school staff and provides basic information about supporting students living with type 1 diabetes while at school. The training includes three short online modules. It’s recommended all staff undertake level 1 training.
  • Level 2 Intermediate training is available for staff who volunteer to be directly involved in supporting students with type 1 diabetes. Staff also need to be designated by a principal. Training is available via nine online modules (for all schools) or via group education workshops (in some States). Training covers type 1 diabetes and food, monitoring glucose levels, insulin, managing lows and highs, physical activity, school camps and planning for changes. Training is general and is not specific to the needs of individual students.
  • Level 3 Individualised skills training – designed for designated school staff and focuses on the individual student’s type 1 diabetes management. This practical face-to-face training is delivered in the school by a qualified health professional (where possible this will be a member of this student’s diabetes treating team). This service will begin in some states from March 2020 and will be prioritised for schools with students who are newly diagnosed and who are unable to self-administer insulin.

Program Implementation

A new web portal will host the online training videos and learning materials, as well as additional information, resources and tools to support principals, school staff and parents better manage diabetes in a school context. The portal also includes links to range of existing education materials, policies, guidelines and resources designed to support students with type 1 diabetes The portal will be launched tomorrow on Thursday 13th Feb 2020 and we will commence a broader communications and engagement strategy to the education and health sectors in the following weeks and months.

Face-to-face practical training provided by qualified healthcare professionals (Level 3 training) will begin in some states in early March 2020. Level 3 training will be prioritised for schools with students where there is a high need. For example, students with newly diagnosed diabetes or students who cannot administer insulin. Level 3 training must be requested by a school principal.

Join our community of over 45,000 people living with diabetes