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Bridgnorth school signs up for innovative diabetes screening programme

A Bridgnorth primary school is the first in town to  sign up to  an innovative research study, which will see diabetes screening clinics being offered to the pupils.

The team behind  the ELSA study, which screens children to find out if they’re at risk of developing type 1 diabetes, hopes that more local schools will follow the example of St Leonard’s Primary School.  The sessions are the result of a collaboration between the study team, Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust and the Clinical Research Network West Midlands (CRN WM).

Nurses from the Trust have already held briefing sessions at St Leonard’s to inform parents and encourage them to sign their children up for the screening, with 34 children coming forward.

Dr Lauren Quinn, Clinical Research Fellow, ELSA Study, said:  “The ELSA Study Team is delighted to be working with these local partners  to deliver the ELSA study to community sites and schools in the region. Parents can sign-up online and complete a home-testing kit or get tested in one of the clinics offered by the Trust.”

The ELSA study - Early Surveillance for Auto-immune Diabetes - screens children between the ages of three and 13 to find those at risk of developing insulin-dependent type 1 diabetes and offers education and support to at-risk children and their families. It is being run in the region by the NIHR Clinical Research Network West Midlands and is the largest antibody screening programme for type 1 diabetes in the UK. 

The study aims to screen 20,000 children before the end of the study in February 2025 by working with schools and GP surgeries across the UK.

Luke Bridges, St Leonard’s Headteacher, is encouraged by the amount of  interest.  He said: “I am proud that St Leonard’s can be a part of this research project.  It has raised awareness of diabetes in our community, and it has demonstrated our school’s commitment to supporting the NHS.  I hope that the school can be involved in future projects.  I am also proud of the children who took part. They  were a credit to our school.”

The research is being carried out to try and support children at risk of developing type 1 diabetes and to understand more about diabetes and those at risk. Type 1 diabetes is a serious condition where the blood glucose level is too high because the body cannot make the hormone insulin. By identifying children at risk, they can be prevented from becoming too unwell and start receiving treatment sooner.

The school became involved in the initiative through a partnership with the CRN WM and the Trust. If you are interested in your school, signing up, please get in touch with Samantha Kinsey, Research Facilitator:

Dr David Shukla, the Network’s Lead for Primary Care said: “We are very grateful to the school, parents and children for their support for ELSA.  We couldn’t research this serious condition without their help.”

Notes to Editors:

The picture shows: Clinical Research Assistant Tina Lewis, with St Leonard’s pupil Jasmine.

The test  is a quick and simple finger stick blood test which takes seconds and is then sent off for analysis. Any child discovered to have markers in their blood will undergo further tests. It is estimated that three in every 1,000 children will test positive. 


For further information contact:  Claire Hall, Communications Lead on 07775 800227.