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Starting school

Going back to or starting school after a type 1 diabetes diagnosis may seem daunting, but with some planning and preparation it is entirely possible for your child to enjoy school life and participate in all activities.
Content last reviewed and updated: 18.08.2023

A young girl with type 1 diabetes who is standing in the area where she will hang her coat on the first day of school

What do schools need to do?

Schools in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are required by law to support children with medical conditions at school.

The aim of these policies is to support pupils with medical conditions so that they have full access to education and wider school activities like school trips and physical education. The policy should set out the roles and responsibilities of those involved in your child’s education and care, what should be included in an Individual Healthcare Plan (see below) and what training is needed for staff.

This is legislated by the Equality Act 2010 (England, Wales and Scotland), the Children and Families Act 2004 (England) and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (Northern Ireland). There is also guidance for England and Wales on how to support children with medical conditions at school.

Talk to the school about what their policy is and how it can support your child.

Individual healthcare plans

Individual healthcare plans (IHPs) are put in place to make sure your child’s type 1 will be managed while they’re at school. Writing the plan is a collaboration between the school, your child’s Diabetes Healthcare Team, you and your child. It should include:

  • Details of everyone involved in your child’s care, including who to contact in an emergency and who is allowed to administer insulin
  • Details of their type 1, including how they take insulin, how much they need and when
  • How type 1 might affect their behaviour or concentration (for example, if they are having a hypo)
  • Details of how your child monitors their glucose levels and when this needs to be done
  • Details on how to spot and treat a hypo
  • Details about when your child needs snacks and food and if they need help with carb counting
  • What extra details need to be put in place around physical education, school trips or exams
  • How to help your child catch up if they miss classes to attend medical appointments
  • Anything else you feel is relevant to your child’s care at school

You can download a template IHP at the Medical Conditions at School website.

Do school staff need to be trained?

At least two members of staff should be trained in how to manage type 1 diabetes, which should be outlined in your child’s Individual Healthcare Plan. This training will be delivered by your Diabetes Healthcare Team who will arrange it with the school.

Shared stories

Resources to share with school staff

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Contents of JDRF's School Pack free resource to help teachers and parents manage type 1 diabetic children in educational setting

Download your free School Pack

Get information to help you manage your child's type 1 in education and childcare settings, and to work with the teachers, other parents and carers involved.

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Collage of screenshots from JDRF's school e-learning module about type 1 diabetes

Schools e-learning course

Our schools e-learning module helps schools, nurseries and pre-schools to care for children with type 1.

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JDRF's hypos kit, which gives information about managing a hypo procedure

Hypos kit

Download our free hypos kit to learn how to successfully manage your child's hypos in educational settings.