Education and training

The PCH Diabetes Service and the Department of Education Western Australia endorse use of the diabetes action management plans listed below for implementation in all early years, primary and secondary school settings.

Please visit Diabetes WA for more information on Diabetes Action Management Plans

Type 1 diabetes: Newly diagnosed 

If you would like to increase your knowledge about Type 1 Diabetes and your role as a teacher of a child who has the condition, you can download our Type 1 diabetes: Newly diagnosed guide.

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.

Managing diabetes in schools: Best practice guidelines (PDF 385kb)

Digital technology for diabetes

There is an increasing range of digital technology available in the treatment of young people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D). This technology is to support students/parents and will be managed by parents.

Some examples of current and developing technology include:

  • Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGM) which allow results to be viewed remotely by parents in real time
  • Insulin pump with or without CGM
  • 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 
  • Digital insulin pens (adjustable in 0.1 increments) – such pens are expensive and not readily available or used in Australia. 

Continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGM)

The Federal Health Department made an announcement on 1 April 2017, fully subsidising continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technology to monitor blood glucose levels in young people up to 21 years of age.

Children/families who request and are approved for CGM will receive the product and training to begin use through their healthcare provider (in most cases the PCH Diabetes Service), at which time the child with T1D will also receive a CGM Appendix which must be attached to their Diabetes Management and Action Plan at their school. It will be specific to the technology device they are using and provide the school with more detail on the use of the device.

Students who use CGM should have their receiver (which is usually a phone) within range (up to 6 meters) and accessible at all times when at school, including during assessments. Medical authorisation letters may be provided if needed. However, the individual needs of the child and other children in the classroom must be considered. Teachers and school staff are not expected to do more than the routine checks explained in the current Diabetes Management and Action Plan (that is pre-meal and pre-snack BGL,  pre activity and if a hypo is suspected checks) to monitor control. 

Flash monitoring (Libre)
This is a device recently introduced to Australia although it has been used overseas for several years. It consists of a round sensor worn on the arm that stores information about blood glucose levels and trends (as for CGM), but only when scanned by the associated reader. More recently this scanner can be an app on a phone.

It has TGA approval for use in children four years and older in Australia. However, it is not covered by the recent subsidy (see above), but is still being adopted by a number of families as it does not require any finger pricks for calibration. It is considered accurate to determine a glucose levels at any given time and may replace finger-prick blood checks in the calculation of insulin doses. It is part of a teacher’s role to be asked to scan the device in the school setting. However, if symptoms of a hypo are apparent a finger prick should be done regardless of the sensor level to confirm accuracy.

If a school has concerns about use of any of these devices they should discuss with the parents, or seek advice from the student’s diabetes team.
Insulin pumps linked to Continuous Glucose Monitoring

Some CGMs are able to 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 largely reliable and it is likely their use will increase and become more sophisticated in years to come. However, it is not part of the role of the teacher to check any pump suspension or override/reset the pump linked to CGM.

Parental distant monitoring of blood glucose

This technology which transmits the CGM results via the smartphone to other phones is increasing in popularity and can, when correctly used, be very useful in allowing parents to view the blood glucose of their child when not with them.

It should not lead to more frequent 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.