Diabetic children in danger of being “left behind” by Government reforms

21 February 2017

Children with medical conditions like diabetes are excluded from Welsh Government education reforms, according to Diabetes Cymru.

A Bill reforming special needs support in Welsh schools is currently being considered by the National Assembly but it doesn’t include provisions for children with medical conditions such as Type 1 diabetes, epilepsy and allergies.

Diabetes Cymru’s Policy and Public Affairs Manager Sara Moran says there’s a risk funding for diabetes support in schools will be cut.

She says: “For families and parents essentially what it means is support might be removed and it won’t be reallocated. There’s a real risk [children with medical conditions] will be left behind and in practice deprioritised.”

She added: “Our key message here is that these children need protection and the bill will cause harm – which is a really dangerous area for the Welsh Government to be in.”

Nicky Nicol, who’s a parent rep for the Children and Young People’s Diabetes Network in Wales and whose son Oliver (pictured) has Type 1 diabetes, says the law is necessary to make care across schools more consistent.

She said: “Personally we’ve been really really lucky. My son has had amazing care from the two schools he’s attended but it’s not always the case.

“The statutory guidance of the ALN bill would clearly set out what schools should be expected to do to support these children [with medical conditions] and hopefully it will start to reduce those instances of children either receiving poor care, being sent home or missing out on their schooling because the school aren’t prepared to try to cope.”

The key changes the Additional Learning Needs Bill proposes are:

  • ‘Additional Learning Needs’ will replace ‘Special Educational Needs’. This will include those with disabilities, learning difficulties, sensory impairments as well as ‘more able and talented’ children.
  • Young people aged 0-25 will be supported, meaning there will be legal provision for nurseries and universities for the first time. The current system only supports up to age 16.
  • Individual Development Plans will be put in place regardless of complexity of need

The Bill is currently in Stage One of consideration by the Welsh Assembly.

They didn’t want to formally comment on the support for medical conditions until all evidence has been gathered.

Diabetes Cymru will present evidence to the Children, Young People and Education Committee in March.



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