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school rules gone mad

(135 Posts)
nanamacatj Sat 23-May-15 06:09:41

DD was informed by school on Thursday that they are taking legal advice over whether they should give 8yr old boy insulin injections....My 8yr old grandson was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and spent 48 hrs very poorly in hospital. Now his school are unable to have him back unless we go into school and inject him. Diabetes team have been in to do training and two members of staff are happy to administer but school administrators are being obstructive. Diabetes team say they have never experienced such an awkward school. Moving him is not an option as there are 3 other siblings who would also have to move. We are at our wits end here, any ideas anyone?

Anya Sat 23-May-15 06:41:31

The school is taking legal advice, so I'd wait and see what the outcome is. The school is not being awkward and this is NOT unusual despite what your 'Diabetes Team' say. There have been too many parents who have brought legal actions against schools, when for example, teachers or support staff have simply applied a plaster to a wound, and the child has had a reaction. And this was pre 1998 when I left the classroom.

Your options, until the legal advice is given, is to have a family member go into school and give the injections in the interim. I've known children as young as 7 give themselves their own injections, under supervision. These days the ampules are pre-loaded with the correct dosage, as you will know.

loopylou Sat 23-May-15 06:42:44

I don't have any experience but I wonder what your Council's policy is? It might be worthwhile contacting the Education and Children and Families teams to ask them.

Would his Consultant and GP intervene?

They are trying to exclude a child on medical grounds, without justification especially when the Diabetes Team has trained the staff. Is it the Governors kicking off or the admin staff -if the former then perhaps the Diabetes Team could discuss with the Chair?

I'd also write a strongly worded letter to the Chair of Governors and copy it to the Head of Education at the Council.

Our local village school has three children with diabetes, no problem at all according to a friend who teaches there. We were only discussing it yesterday.

Anya Sat 23-May-15 07:10:13

Before you jump in at the deep end, stop and think. There are issues to be considered such as where the insulin is to be stored, safely. It can hardly be stuck in the staff room fridge and where will the injections be given, away from curious eyes, so the child's feelings are spared.

Read these Guidelines and then, I hope, your family will work with the school on resolving this issue.

Anya Sat 23-May-15 07:13:16


thatbags Sat 23-May-15 07:45:02

A friend of mine had this problem with her son. It meant she had to go into school each day to give him his injection. Since she lived near the school and worked at home this was do-able for her.

Then, when the school set up a trip to France for the pupils, she had to go with them if he went.

The problem for the headteacher, which I fully understand, is that their insurance did not cover them should anything have gone wrong. They felt they couldn't put themselves at risk however much they wanted to help the child.

This is the same judgement anyone outside of the medical profession giving direct medical or health related help to someone else has to make: you are always advised not to put yourself at risk of repercussions should you do something wrong by mistake or should your actions put you yourself in danger.

And then there are all the safety issues anya has outlined. I don't think the school is being unreasonable. They just want to be sure they are 'covered' should something go wrong. They have to make sure of this. It's their job and they would not be doing their job properly if they didn't seek legal advice when they asked to take on this kind of extra responsibility.

loopylou Sat 23-May-15 08:27:14

Ok, I accept that but just what happens if there isn't a family member able to commit to doing it (could be working full time etc) or the child unable to do it? And if the child can self-inject, where do they store the insulin etc - I thought cool bags were used, not school fridges?
Is the child effectively excluded from school?

thatbags Sat 23-May-15 09:50:48

Ideally a peripatetic medically trained person could be employed for such work by local council, but in practice how many councils have funding for that sort of thing? It's a political issue.

Nelliemoser Sat 23-May-15 10:08:00

I think they are being unreasonable. However they will have to go though their proceedures.
I would not think they could refuse. All schools are supposed to be inclusive of disabilities and various health conditions.

I am sure the lad could learn to do it himself and as long as the injection is properly stored and kept safe there should be no problem.

Tegan Sat 23-May-15 10:31:34

I think that some insulin can be kept outside of a fridge for certain amounts of time, just not stored long term outside of a fridge. This has to be because people have to carry their insulin around with them sometimes. Not saying, however, that this makes the issue less complicated. What happens, for example if the child self medicates and another child [children being what they are] gets their hands on the insulin instead? When I worked at a school for a short time you couldn't even cuddle a child if they'd fallen over and hurt themselves as someone had complained about their child being 'touched' sad.

Lilygran Sat 23-May-15 11:03:53

It depends on the age of the child, of course, but the diabetic paediatric services usually try to get a child as independent as possible as early and possible. My son had an insulated butter dish which kept the insulin cool enough during the day and carried it in his bag. For some time while he was at school, he had a pen injector which held the insulin. And yes, if the school can't or won't (H&S and legal action is always a good excuse) support the child, a parent or carer has to go to the school and provide it. But schools do get extra funding for statemented children. I don't think children with diabetes, asthma etc have been statemented up till now but that might be the only way forward.

durhamjen Sat 23-May-15 11:22:40

If you are using an insulin pen, the phial in use is never stored in a fridge. It's only unopened phials that need that.

Anya Sat 23-May-15 11:36:23

If you managed to read through the guidelines you'll see theres multiple issues. A record needs to be kept of the medication given, a plan drawn up for the child, other support staff need to be made aware of, for example, the symptoms of hypoglycemic crisis, and so on.

I'm thinking that, as this is a recent diagnosis, these issues have still to be addressed. The school is taking advice on safeguarding it's staff AND safeguarding this child. This is a life-threatening illness and the family have my sympathy.

thatbags Sat 23-May-15 11:48:38

Mine too and, given the number of times my friend's son had to be rushed to hospital, even when his parents did everything they were supposed to do – diabetes Type1 can be very difficult to manage – the school has my sympathies as well.

durhamjen Sat 23-May-15 11:54:24

I read the guidelines. Insulin was mentioned twice, in the same paragraph, and diabetes once.
It does not appear to be seen as a problem.
If schools are supposed to be inclusive they must expect to have diabetics among the pupils.

Wheniwasyourage Sat 23-May-15 16:05:12

One DGC has a friend who developed diabetes at an early age and now has an insulin pump. When they were at nursery, all the other children knew that if Susie was behaving differently from usual they had to tell an adult straight away, and now that they are in primary 4, they are still looking out for her.

Another DGC (in a different council area) has an Epipen for serious multiple allergies, and the school keeps one on the premises and has several teachers who are trained to use it if necessary.

durhamjen, you are quite right that inclusivity means coping with diabetes, not to mention the increasingly common asthma and allergies.

rosesarered Sat 23-May-15 16:31:05

My grandson has a friend at school who is eleven, has type 1diabetes and for a while his Mother had to go into school to administer the insulin.after that, he learned how to do it himself.So, there must be quite a few schools who either can't or don't want to do this.

trisher Sat 23-May-15 20:07:35

Please don't think the school is being deliberately difficult. They have to make sure every angle is covered both for your DGS safety and the school staff's protection. If it is possible for them to do this I am sure they will. If not can I suggest your DD asks other parents to help. I am sure there will be a number who would be willing to set up a support team that can go into the school and deal with his injections until he is confident enought to do it himself. Good luck hope things work out for him.

annodomini Sat 23-May-15 21:06:14

The school governors need to update their policies to include diabetic children. nanamacatj's grandson is unlikely to be the last one the school has to deal with.

durhamjen Sat 23-May-15 23:54:55

My husband was diabetic from when he was eleven. It's much easier to cope with in schools now, with insulin pens and pumps. There should be no problems.

trisher Sun 24-May-15 11:13:35

annodomini school policies don't usually name individual conditions in their policies for the simple reason that there may be an unusual condition that a child may present with. So policies are usually quite wide in their remit. What this school may not have (possibly because of staff cuts) is a designated person with some medical/health training. The school I worked in had a teaching assistant who fulfilled this role. It meant we were able to take a child with a serious medical condition,who needed daily testing and medication, on a residential trip, as long as the TA came. The TA has recently retired and I am not certain anyone in the school has the necessary training now.

loopylou Sun 24-May-15 11:31:31

^ Diabetes team have been in to do training and two members of staff are happy to administer but school administrators are being obstructive. Diabetes team say they have never experienced such an awkward school. Moving him is not an option as there are 3 other siblings who would also have to move^
So training and arrangements have been done and school administrators still not satisfied although refusal means uprooting his three siblings too?

Outrageous in my opinion, and yes, totally unreasonable.

Effectively they are being discriminatory against a child on health grounds and surely if all reasonable steps have been taken then they are breaking the law?

vampirequeen Sun 24-May-15 11:55:46

If they have the staff willing to do it and they've been trained then I don't see the problem. In fact they'll need to have someone who can inject the child in an emergency anyway. If the child is going into shock or coma they can hardly wait for the mum or a paramedic to get there.

During my time working in schools we dealt with several children with diabetes. Some of the younger ones needed to be injected by a staff member whilst others were able to inject themselves. Storage wasn't a problem. I don't see why the staff room fridge couldn't be used. The teachers are all adults and know they shouldn't touch or take someone else's medication. If they really don't want it in the staff room then the parent could provide one of those small fridges that cost £20 or so which could be kept in the school office.

durhamjen Sun 24-May-15 11:58:49

Do not need a fridge, vampire. It's only for storage long term, as in unopened phials, not for the one in use.
My husband's pen was only ever in a drawer.

vampirequeen Sun 24-May-15 12:40:31

Then it's even less of a problem. The school is probably playing very safe but causing stress in the process.

It's the litigation culture we now live in that causes this sort of problem.