Management of type 1 diabetes in primary schools in Ireland: a cross-sectional survey

  • Danielle C. McCollum
  • Olivia Mason
  • Mary B. Codd
  • Michael J. O’Grady
Original Article



Parents reported experiences of support for diabetes management in schools are variable. Recent data from European countries are sparse and experiences in the Irish primary school setting have not been described previously.


To describe parents’ experiences of support for diabetes management in primary schools in Ireland.


Questionnaires were distributed through nine regional and tertiary paediatric diabetes services to parents of children aged 4–13 years with type 1 diabetes attending primary school. Data sought included patient demographics, treatment regimens, diabetes education of school staff, assistances received, and interactions between the school and family.


Responses were received from 418 parents of primary school children with type 1 diabetes. Twenty-six percent of children were not on intensive insulin therapy. Children on a multiple daily injection regime who were unable to self-administer insulin had administration facilitated by attendance of a parent in 95% of cases. Seventy-eight percent of parents were phoned by the school regarding diabetes management, particularly those of younger children (p < 0.001). More than half of parents attended the school at least once per month to assist with diabetes management, particularly those of younger children (p < 0.001). Younger children were also more likely to have a special needs assistant (p < 0.001) and have a written management plan (p = 0.001).


Our research has demonstrated deficits in care with respect to access to intensive insulin therapy, individualised care plans and a high burden on families which should be addressed through the National Clinical Programme for Paediatrics and Neonatology and relevant government departments.


Children Legislation School Type 1 diabetes 


Author contributions

DMcC researched data and wrote the first manuscript draft. OM and MC conducted the data analysis and critically revised the manuscript. MOG designed the study, conceived the study instrument, researched data and revised the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants described in this paper.


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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PaediatricsRegional Hospital MullingarMullingarIreland
  2. 2.Centre for Support and Training in Analysis and Research (CSTAR)University College DublinDublin 4Ireland
  3. 3.School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports ScienceUniversity College DublinDublin 4Ireland
  4. 4.Women’s and Children’s Health, School of MedicineUniversity College DublinDublin 4Ireland

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