Allergy affects at least one of four schoolchildren, it reduces quality of life and may impair school performance; there is a risk of severe reactions and, in rare cases, death.
Allergic children have rights. They have the right to be educated in a safe environment with as few provoking allergens as possible and to breathe in clean air in their school. Their education is of utmost importance and should be adapted to their condition if required, such as with physical education. Likewise, they should be enabled to participate in all school activities to the same extent as their classmates. But, significantly, allergic children have the right to easy access of medication and other measures that can relieve symptoms.
There are actions that schools should remember to help their allergic pupils.
During the registration of new pupils, schools must enquire about allergic diseases and parents should update the school if there are any new diagnoses.
The school should obtain a written allergy management plan from a doctor. This includes allergens and triggers that must be avoided, any necessary medications and contact information. For examples of allergy action plans, please see here.
ALL school staff should recognise and be able to identify any allergic children in their school.
Appropriate allergen avoidance measures must be in place to avoid the child coming into contact with potential triggers.
Tobacco smoking around the child and/or school must be banned.
The school must ensure that staff are educated in allergen avoidance and recognition and emergency treatment of allergic reactions.
Relieving and emergency medication must be available and easily accessible at all times.
School staff should be indemnified against prosecution for the consequences of administering emergency or relieving medication.
Protective measures must be ensured on school trips and holidays.
A cooperative approach could help many schools become more prepared for their allergic children. Partnering with doctors, community and school nurses, parents, school staff and the child will help to ensure allergic children are better protected.
This information has been gathered from the BSACI.