Diabetes - Education and training

For schools

2019 Diabetes Management and Action Plans

All children attending childcare or early childhood education, primary or secondary school in Western Australia need to be safely supported with their diabetes management during their time in the childcare or school environment.

Individualised Diabetes Action and Management Plans will be created for the child by their Diabetes Team in consultation with the child, parents and school/childcare personnel. These plans are a day to day management plan designed as an agreement between parents, school/childcare personnel and clinical staff to ensure the child is well supported. The plans are reviewed on a regular basis usually annually or whenever there is a change in their care.

Managing diabetes in schools: Best practice guidelines 

If you would like to increase your knowledge about Type 1 Diabetes you can download our Type 1 diabetes: Newly diagnosed guide.

Diabetes WA have developed a range of resources and training programmes for early years, primary school and secondary schools to support families and school staff.

Attending school camps

Most students will want to attend school organised camps or overnight excursions. 

Diabetes WA have prepared a management plan and checklist for families and school staff to guide them in preparation for school camps that involve an overnight stay.

PCH type 1 diabetes camps

In conjunction with Diabetes WA and Sports Challenge, the PCH Endocrinology and Diabetes Department organise and run two camps for children with type 1 diabetes each year. These camps are designed to enable children to manage their diabetes during a wide range of experiences. Eligible children attending PCH clinics will be contacted by Diabetes WA and invited to attend the camps.

Camp for 9 to 10 year olds: 
  • three days in duration
held during the school holidays in October.Camp for 11 to 12 year olds is: 

  • four days in duration 
  • held in mid-April during the school holidays. 

Education modules

Diabetes and schools: Finding the balance

A series of education modules 'Diabetes and schools: Finding the balance' produced by Perth Children's Hospital and the School of Special Educational Needs, are available for teachers on supporting students with diabetes.

Digital technology for diabetes

There is an increasing range of devices and technology available for the treatment of young people living with type 1 diabetes.

Some examples include:

  • Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM) which allow results to be viewed remotely by parents in real time
  • Insulin pump with or without CGM, including Hybrid Closed Loop systems
  • Flash glucose monitoring (Libre) – approved for use in children 4 years and older in Australia 
  • A variety of mobile device apps which assist recording / tracking BGL and insulin doses 
  • Insulin pens.

Glucometers

Children with type 1 diabetes must check their blood glucose levels about four to six times a day. This can be done with a glucometer.

A drop of blood is obtained by pricking a fingertip and then placed on a test strip in a glucose meter (glucometer) and the glucose level is measured.


Continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGM)

Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is a device that measures tissue glucose levels continuously. A sensor is worn in the skin which measures tissue-glucose levels (which is different from blood glucose levels) which are then relayed to a receiver and displays the levels in real time. This reduces the need for finger prick blood glucose measurements. 

The CGM sounds an alarm to let the user know if glucose levels are going too low or too high.

Since 1 April 2017, the Australian Government provides subsidised continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) products through the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) to children and young people aged under 21 years, living with type 1 diabetes.

Children/families can receive CGM and training through the PCH Diabetes Service. The child will receive a CGM Appendix which must be attached to their School Diabetes Management and Action Plan.

Children who use CGM should have their receiver (which is usually a mobile phone) within range (up to six meters) and accessible at all times when at school, including during assessments.

Medical authorisation letters can be provided if needed.

The individual needs of the child with diabetes and other children in the classroom must be considered. 

There are no additional routine checks required to be done by teachers and school staff associated with CGM. Routine checks detailed in the current Diabetes Management and Action Plan include pre-meal and pre-snack blood glucose level, pre-activity check and suspected hypo checks.



Flash glucose monitoring (Libre)
The Libre is a device recently introduced to Australia, although it has been in use overseas for several years. It is device that measures and stores information on blood glucose levels. It consists of a round sensor worn on the arm and is scanned by the associated reader device or an app loaded onto a mobile phone. 

The Libre has TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) approval for use in children aged four years and older in Australia. It is not subsidised by the Australian government, but is popular with many families as it reduces finger pricking. It is considered accurate to determine glucose levels at any given time and can replace finger-prick blood checks when calculating insulin doses.


The teacher’s support role includes scanning the Libre in the school setting if required.

Note: If symptoms of a hypo are apparent, a finger prick must be done regardless of the sensor level, to confirm accuracy.


Insulin pumps
Insulin pumps are small electronic devices that delivers small amounts of rapid acting insulin to people with type 1 diabetes through a small needle or cannula into the subcutaneous tissue. The pump itself is the size of a deck of cards and is worn by clipping through a belt loop or in a pocket.

An insulin pump is worn for 24 hours a day, but can be detached for up to two hours, e.g. to go swimming, or play sport or showering.

Insulin pumps will deliver a surge of insulin when eating carbohydrates (called a meal bolus), and extra insulin to correct a high blood glucose level (correction bolus). The device does not test blood glucose levels and must be interacted with to give the correct level of insulin. 
Parents should provide the school with:
  • Spare pump batteries
  • Back-up insulin with a spare syringe or pen
  • Spare pump consumables.

Insulin pumps linked to Continuous Glucose Monitoring

Some CGMs can transmit glucose level readings to an insulin pump. In addition, some newer pump and CGM systems allow the pump to automatically suspend insulin delivery for a given period when the CGM system detects that glucose levels have dropped below a certain level, and resume insulin delivery when levels recover. 

These devices are reliable and it is likely they will become more sophisticated and the use of this technology will increase.

It is not part of the support role of the teacher to check any pump suspension or override or reset the pump linked to CGM.


Parental distant monitoring of blood glucose
Some CGM devices have the ability to share the blood glucose levels to more than one mobile phone. This is popular with parents and carers of children with type 1 diabetes and is useful in allowing parents to view the blood glucose of their child when they are not with them and  should not lead to phone calls to the school to make adjustments that would not ordinarily be required for any student with diabetes.

Schools should maintain their duty of care during the school day and respond as per the student’s Diabetes Management and Action Plan.