Schools in England and Wales will soon be required to ensure pupils with long-term health conditions such as type 1 diabetes, asthma and epilepsy get the support they need.
Last week, the Government announced that the Children and Families Bill will be amended so that all schools will be legally required to make suitable arrangements for supporting the wellbeing of pupils with long-term health needs.
This amendment will be supported by new statutory guidance issued next year, which will help schools understand what actions they need to take to prevent pupils from experiencing avoidable ill health. The move comes after months of campaigning by charity groups such as Diabetes UK, which welcomed it as a "major step" .
Diabetes UK is now working with the government to ensure the new statutory guidance includes plans to implement appropriate policies, individual care plans, and training and support for school staff from local health and education authorities so that staff are confident in looking after children with long-term conditions correctly.
Caroline Moore, Director for Planning and Support Services at Diabetes UK, said: "The government's announcement that it will amend the Children and Families Bill so that schools have a legal duty to support children with health needs has the potential to make a huge difference to the lives of around a million children.
"We are delighted Lord Nash has listened to our concerns and recognises that too many children with health conditions such as Type 1 diabetes are currently being excluded from participating in normal school life because their schools do not understand their condition and are not able to support them.
"Lord Nash's decision will bring real hope to many families who are struggling to get the support they need."
However, she warned that unless robust guidance is in place there is a risk that this Government intervention "will be a false dawn rather than the better tomorrow that children with long-term health conditions deserve".