Girl with Type 1 Diabetes Banned from School Trip Due to Attendance Record

Blackmoor Park Junior School in Liverpool invites pupils with a 100% record of attendance to go on a cinema trip. Unfortunately, pupil Olivia Harkins aged seven was informed by the school that she would not be eligible for the trip due to attending a hospital appointment with her diabetes consultant during school hours. Medical appointments are not exempt from the attendance rule and Head Teacher Colin Richardson stated that only absences deemed to be “absolutely necessary” would be permitted. Olivia’s parents have made a formal complaint to the school.

The global diabetes community website diabetes.co.uk described the “stark lack of diabetes awareness” as “extremely disappointing” and commented that diabetes health checks and consultant visits are essential for children with diabetes. They stated that schools should be supportive and understanding of the fact that sometimes said visits will occur during school hours.

It is a shame that Olivia has essentially been penalised for having a medical condition. Specialist medical appointments such as those with diabetes consultants are incredibly difficult to schedule outside of school hours. Furthermore, often patients (/their parents or guardians) are simply sent a letter stating a time and date and have no choice in the matter anyway. It is a real shame that this school have failed to recognise this.

HandsamSchoolTripsAdvisor strongly encourages the inclusion of pupils with medical conditions on school trips and opposes the lack of understanding that has been displayed by the school. If you have access to Handsam’s Quick Guide documents, you can find guidance in AM12 England Supporting Pupils with SEND and Medical Conditions. You may also find AM07 England Supporting Pupils with Diabetes useful.

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