From monitoring her blood sugar levels to ensuring her medical bag is always within reach and providing around-the-clock care during school hours.
Nothing is too much trouble for staff at Bovington Academy when it comes to supporting 10-year-old pupil, Emily Gauntlett, who has Type 1 diabetes.
Her mother, Michelle Rebello-Tindall, firmly believes the dedication of staff effectively sees them ”save Emily’s life every day.”
The high-level care allows young Emily is able to enjoy her time at the academy and participate in classes and activities like any other girl her age.
It has also led to the school being nominated for a Good Diabetes Care in School award.
Emily is also autistic and a coeliac which means she relies on trusted staff to understand her complex needs because she’s not able to seek help.
Mrs Rebello-Tindall, decided to put Bovington Academy forward for the accolade because she has been so impressed by the whole-school approach to her
Mrs Rebello-Tindall told the Dorset Echo: ‘’From the moment Emily was diagnosed two years ago, the school has been endlessly supportive. Type one diabetes is caused by an over active immune system and it can be extremely serious. Emily’s blood sugar can drop within minutes and without quick action she could pass out into a coma. The staff save her life every day.
‘’I know other parents in identical situations to me who have not found schools their children attend to be as supportive which is such a shame.
‘’At Bovington Academy, from the moment Emily was diagnosed, they’ve adapted to her needs and ensured whole-school training for staff and guidance for Emily’s year group, to ensure she receives the support and care that she needs.
‘’From school trips to canteen food and keeping a constant, watchful eye on Emily and her blood sugar levels, nothing has been too much trouble. The school has been proactive and flexible at every turn.’’
Although the nomination is for the whole school, Mrs Rebello-Tindall also highlighted the one-to-one support Emily receives from Teaching Assistant Collette Porter.
She said: ‘’Having Collette there to support Emily has just been incredible. Without Collette, Emily would not be able to attend school. Collette is a constant source of support for Emily who relies on her 100% and Emily knows that she can do that and is able to ask for Collette’s help.
”Collette has even been known to run alongside Emily during PE sessions carrying her medical bag just in case she needs it! Collette has also been encouraging Emily to be independent and make her own decisions. Collette is simply wonderful.’’
Mrs Porter, a Teaching Assistant at Bovington Academy for the last three years, said she was surprised but delighted with the nomination for the school.
She said: ‘’I was shocked but also delighted for the team at Bovington because the nomination is also recognition for the whole-school approach to Emily’s needs.
‘’Emily has a lot of challenges and I help to take the pressure away from her. Emily and I have a laugh together and have fun conversations together – it’s important to keep it light-hearted.
‘’I love my role and being around the children and watching them progress and I enjoy providing support to the teachers and pupils. I’m so proud of Emily and all that she has achieved.’’
The Good Diabetes Care in School Award was launched by charity Diabetes UK in 2018.
Open to primary and secondary schools, the aim of the award is to celebrate the schools that work with parents and healthcare professionals to ensure children with diabetes have as easy an experience as possible.
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