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A school pupil with Type 1 Diabetes was banned from going on a school trip treat for students with perfect attendance because a hospital appointment blotched her otherwise perfect record.

Children at Blackmoor Park Junior School, in Liverpool, will be eligible to go to the cinema if they attend school 100% of the time over the next half-term.

But medical appointments are not exempt – meaning Olivia Harkins, seven, who has Type 1 Diabetes, will miss out because she had to see her consultant at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

Her mother, Liz, accused the school of discrimination and said Olivia was devastated.


Headteacher Colin Richardson said the school was working with parents to ensure children did not miss lessons ‘unless it is absolutely necessary’.

Mrs Harkins, 47, from West Derby, said: ‘It was her first clinic on Thursday since she moved to junior school and it only runs during school hours.

‘We don’t get a say in what time she has to go, we just get a letter with Olivia’s appointment time.

‘Even if she had the first appointment of the day, it would still be during school time.

‘The school sent out the letter about the cinema trip last week and, at first, I didn’t really pay that much attention.

Olivia was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in February after falling ill during the half-term break

Olivia was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in February after falling ill during the half-term break

‘I thought it probably wasn’t going to apply to Olivia – when I spoke to the teachers and found out it did, I was absolutely gobsmacked. They are discriminating against children who are sick.’

Olivia was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes – which means her pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin – in February after falling ill during the half-term break.

She spent a week in hospital and now has to have insulin injections eight times a day.

Her mum said she is still adjusting to life with the condition and wears a monitor to check her blood sugar levels. She also has to prick her fingers several times a day to ensure her levels are stable and regularly wakes in the night.

But she said Olivia, who has two older brothers James, 16 and Daniel, 12, was still determined to make it to school. Mrs Harkins said: ‘Olivia is devastated she’s going to miss out on this trip. She’s never off school and they know she has Diabetes.

‘She’s got a monitor attached to her which goes off constantly throughout the night and she can be up two to three times a night. She gets up in the morning absolutely shattered but she still wants to go to school.

‘I can appreciate they want to get attendance up but why penalise kids who are genuinely ill? It’s not a dentist appointment – it’s completely different. Diabetes is a serious condition.’

The attendance reward days letter said: ‘Attendance is a priority for us at Blackmoor Park Junior School. If the children miss school, then they are missing out on so much more than lessons.


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