quick guide for class teachers of pupils with IBD

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a lifelong condition, which is very unpredictable and can have frequent f lares and relapses.

There are two main types of IBD; Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis. IBD is not contagious. It should also not be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a less serious condition.

When the disease is active, pupils will need regular and prolonged access to toilets, as a common, embarrassing and distressing symptom is frequent diarrhoea.

Each pupil with IBD will be affected differently and cope differently at various times. Regularly ask your pupil with IBD what you can do to support them to achieve in
school and how you can help them overcome the challenges of their condition.

Most pupils with IBD should have an individual healthcare plan to allow them to take full part in school life. These key points are to help all teachers support pupils with IBD.

pupils with IBD

  • need all-day access to toilets and the ability to leave lessons urgently without explanation
  • will sometimes be too tired to work as much and as effectively as normal
  • may be late for lessons or miss school altogether
  • should be allowed to take rest breaks in the medical room if needed
  • may be unable to take part in PE or sport because of fatigue or after surgery
  • may be too tired to complete homework and need flexibility on tasks and deadlines
  • may need access to water and snacks in lessons
  • will miss school for hospital appointments and if admitted to hospital. Most want to make arrangements to keep up with key subjects, particularly if recovering from surgery
  • may be on medicines that suppress the immune system and need to take time off school during outbreaks of infections (winter flu, stomach bugs, chicken pox) but can complete work at home if they are well
  • will need extra time in exams and separate invigilation to allow access to toilets
  • should not be penalised for poor attendance (in line with statutory guidance on medical conditions in school)
  • may be prone to anxiety and depression caused by the stress of living with IBD, particularly after a relapse
  • can face difficulties with peers who are not aware of their condition or who bully them because of it
  • will need to use sun protection/ wear a hat if on certain treatments

download our quick guide to IBD for class teachers

Created in conjunction with children, parents and medical professionals, this quick guide explains the key information about how a pupil can be affected by Crohn's, colitis or any form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It explains quickly and simply how a class teacher can ensure a child with IBD can achieve their potential at school. The guide is available as a pocket sized foldout leaflet, for a young person or parent or carer to hand out to class teachers at the start of a school year or when they have recently been diagnosed with IBD. Please email support@cicra.org to order your copies now.

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