Benedict Blythe Foundation publishes REACT report

Benedict Blythe Foundation publishes REACT report

  • 20 March 2024
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The Benedict Blythe Foundation today (20th March 2024) published its REACT report based on freedom of information request on the subject of allergies in schools, to over 20,000 English schools. Analysis was carried out on a 10% sample of English schools by the Institute of Clever Stuff and compares against good practice. The findings revealed:

● Allergy management in schools varies widely, and it is down to chance whether a child’s school has recommended allergy safeguards in place creating a ‘postcode lottery’ for families.

● Recording allergy incidents is either not happening or is inaccurate, meaning schools and government have no awareness of the scale of allergy risk in English schools.

● Almost half of schools don’t hold their own life-saving allergy medication, relying on a child having their own medication, which they often don’t.

● Communication of how the school manages allergies and emergency response through policy individual healthcare plans isn’t universal and not always accessible to all staff.

● Rates of staff training on basic allergy knowledge is poor, with a quarter of schools providing no training on allergy symptoms, anaphylaxis and what to do in an emergency.

Helen Blythe from the Benedict Blythe Foundation is calling for:

● Policymakers and government to react to the findings by implementing new safeguards to protect pupils with allergies.

● Schools, Headteachers and Governors to recognise the gaps in the ways they manage allergies and to take proactive steps to close them to keep children with allergies safe.

● Department for Education needs to provide the £5 million of funding needed for schools to implement safety measures, and also organise checks to ensure statutory requirements are in place.

The Anaphylaxis UK AllergyWise® training and Safer Schools Programme provides comprehensive practical support for schools. This includes a model school policy, risk assessments, lesson plans and comprehensive training for all staff in a school.

Simon Williams, Chief Executive said: ‘If more schools completed our AllergyWise® training and the free support we offer through our Safer Schools Programme, all the concerns raised in this report would be addressed. Unfortunately, many schools still do not see it as a priority and we will be doubling our efforts to raise awareness and make sure schools are safer for pupils will allergies.’