BACKGROUND: There are currently 2560 school-aged children with type 1 diabetes in Victoria¹. These children spend a large proportion of their lives at school and frequently need the support and assistance of adults (teachers) while at school to help manage their diabetes. Optimal management of diabetes will assist to maximize the cognitive ability and learning of children with diabetes². “Evidence … show a longitudinal association between glycaemic control and some aspects of cognitive function”³.
DESCRIPTION: How well children with type 1 diabetes are supported in the educational setting could potentially influence learning and future academic achievement. The importance of the school diabetes management plan for ensuring student support and safety cannot be underestimated.
Teachers frequently express confusion about the variety of school management plan styles and formats they are expected to use in the school context, requesting “realistic expectations of teachers” and to be able to “understand the management plan better” (teacher feedback).
AIM: To clarify responsibilities of parent and school staff and thus reduce confusion about diabetes care expectations at school. The Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) agreed in February 2014 that a consistent school management plan format and style was needed to better support teachers, students and families.
OUTCOMES: A working party was established with representation from key stakeholder organisations. A suite of draft management plans has since been developed taking into consideration current evidence based practice guidelines for managing children with type 1 diabetes. These plans cover the three main types of diabetes insulin regimens – twice daily, multiple daily injections and insulin pumps.
Draft management plans are currently undergoing focus group testing with teachers, diabetes educators and parents before being finalized and then endorsed by DEECD.
RECOMMENDATIONS: Consistent school diabetes management guidelines and plans will be adopted in all Victorian schools from 2015.