School under fire over diabetes boy
A Bath primary school has been forced to apologise after it failed to provide the appropriate care for a pupil with diabetes.
Ten-year-old Joel Quinn gave himself an overdose of insulin after staff at Combe Down Primary School did not supervise his treatment.
A disability tribunal has ruled that the school continuously failed to look after Joel, who had to carry out his own blood sugar testing from the age of six and administer his own insulin from the age of eight.
The Special Educational Needs and Disability tribunal ruled that "Joel was placed at a substantial disadvantage by the school's continuing failure to adhere to the care plan."
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His parents Danni and Joe said the result was "fantastic" and the case would help other children across the county suffering from type 1 diabetes.
Mrs Quinn said: "This goes on in a lot of schools across the country so this is not just for us, which is why we wanted it to be made public.
"Teachers will read this and hopefully things will change for other children as well."
On several occasions Joel forgot to administer his insulin at lunchtime and was once left unsupervised to phone his mother when he went into a hypoglycaemic state because of this.
The school was also supposed to oversee Joel washing his hands before taking his blood sugar readings and when staff failed to do this his reading endd up being inaccurate because of glucose traces on his fingers.
Because of the incorrect reading Joel then gave himself an overdose of insulin.
Mr and Mrs Quinn made six allegations of discrimination against the school, but only one was upheld.
The tribunal ruled that "the failure to follow the care plan and adequately monitor Joel placed him at an increased risk of behavioural difficulties and at a serious risk of seizure or death.
"We accept that teaching staff may feel daunted by the responsibilities in the care plan.
"However with clear guidance and appropriate systems we consider that it is not unreasonable to expect staff to oversee them."
Mr and Mrs Quinn, who live at Faulkland, removed Joel from Combe Down Primary at the end of the summer term last year and since then he has been taught at home.
A statement from the school said it had apologised to the Quinn family.
It said: "The school undertook the responsibility to remind Joel daily to test his blood sugar levels for five years and the staff gave considerable support and care to the child – for example, so that the child could take part in a residential trip, the headteacher volunteered to get up at 2am for a number of nights to oversee a nighttime blood sugar test.
"However, there were a few occasions when the school did not remind the child to either wash his hands or test his bloods.
"This is deeply regrettable and for this we are very sorry. We have already given our apologies to the child and the family concerned.
"The school has undertaken actions to ensure this doesn't happen again."
The tribunal ordered the school to send separate written apologies to Joel and his parents and to review training of staff duties under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
Care advisor at the national charity Diabetes UK Caroline Butler said that around 2,000 children were being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the UK every year and that schools should be doing all they can to help them.
She said: "Children with diabetes must be appropriately supported to manage their diabetes at school.
"For every child with diabetes who doesn't receive appropriate support at school, a whole family suffers."