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Issues in Educational Research, 2020, Vol 30(2), 512-531.
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Lessons from schools with high levels of support for students with Type 1 diabetes: A qualitative study

Leanne Fried
Telethon Kids Institute, Western Australia

Donna Cross
Telethon Kids Institute
and The University of Western Australia
Natasha Pearce, Ashleigh Lin, Rena Vithiatharan, Helen Monks
Telethon Kids Institute, Western Australia

Caleb Jones
Department of Education, Western Australia

Elizabeth Davis
Telethon Kids Institute
and Perth Children's Hospital, Western Australia

Schools have an important role to play in supporting the psychosocial and physical health of students with Type 1 diabetes (T1D). Good school-based support for students with T1D is related to better diabetes management and quality of life. However, support for students with T1D appears inconsistent across schools in Western Australia. Strategic capacity-building for schools, including attention to policy and practice, is needed to support students with chronic and other health conditions. This project aimed to investigate how schools provide support for the psychosocial wellbeing and disease management of students with T1D. Ten schools, identified by a hospital-to-school transition team as being supportive of students with T1D, participated in this generic qualitative study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with school staff, students with T1D and their parents at each school. Inductive and deductive thematic analysis identified three overarching themes to encapsulate the various ways schools provided support: (a) school characteristics; (b) interpersonal support; and (c) organisational support, and eleven sub-themes outlined this support. Based on these findings, a conceptual model of support is presented. This can be used as a foundation for a professional learning tool to enhance the capacity of schools to support the wellbeing of students with T1D.
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Authors: Leanne Fried (corresponding author) is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with the Children's Diabetes Research team at Telethon Kids Institute. Her research focuses on the psychosocial wellbeing of "at risk" children and adolescents including enhancing their school experiences and exploring appropriate interventions to improve their emotional wellbeing.
Email: leanne.fried@telethonkids.org.au

Donna Cross is a Professor with the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at The University of Western Australia and the Telethon Kids Institute. Her areas of research expertise include child and adolescent mental health, translational research, bullying and cyber-bullying prevention, health promotion, and school-based interventions.
Email: donna.cross@telethonkids.org.au

Natasha Pearce is a Senior Research Fellow at Telethon Kids Institute. Her work involves applying the principles of translation and implementation science in a range of practice and policy settings. Her research includes developing and evaluating school and community-based interventions covering a wide range of child and adolescent health and wellbeing issues.
Email: natasha.pearce@telethonkids.org.au

Ashleigh Lin is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Career Development Fellow at Telethon Kids Institute. Her research is focused on early detection and intervention for mental health problems in adolescents and young adults with particular interest in the mental health of vulnerable groups of people.
Email: ashleigh.lin@telethonkids.org.au

Rena Vithiatharan is a Research Assistant at Telethon Kids Institute. She is involved in various projects focusing on children with chronic conditions, their mental health and school experiences. Her overarching research interest is in enabling children and adolescents to reach their potential and equity.
Email: rena.vithiatharan@telethonkids.org.au

Helen Monks is a Research Officer within the CoLab team at the Telethon Kids Institute. She has extensive research experience in child and adolescent health, particularly across projects in the areas of mental health promotion and school-based intervention.
Email: helen.monks@telethonkids.org.au

Caleb Jones is the Principal, School of Special Educational Needs: Medical and Mental Health (SSEN: MMH) for the Department of Education Western Australia. His interest in diabetes research stems from many years supporting students with diabetes, their families and schools, to improve student participation in school and student health care planning.
Email: caleb.jones@education.wa.edu.au

Liz Davis is a paediatric endocrinologist and Head of the Diabetes Clinical Services at Perth Children's Hospital in Western Australia and co-lead of the Children's Diabetes Research team at Telethon Kids Institute. Her area of interest is in clinical and translational research into Type 1 diabetes in children and adolescents.
Email: elizabeth.davis@health.wa.gov.au

Please cite as: Fried, L., Cross, D., Pearce, N., Lin, A., Vithiatharan, R., Monks, H., Jones, C. & Davis, E (2020). Lessons from schools with high levels of support for students with Type 1 diabetes: A qualitative study. Issues in Educational Research, 30(2), 512-531. http://www.iier.org.au/iier30/fried.pdf

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Created 30 May 2020. Last correction: 30 May 2020.
Website: Roger Atkinson [rjatkinson@bigpond.com]