Every school is likely to have at least one pupil who is severely allergic to a type of food, and many schools will have more. Our Making Schools Safer campaign aims to provide schools with the knowledge and expertise to support severely allergic children.
As part of this project, we have produced a number of resources for schools, from allergy awareness presentations to teach pupils, to links to our free online e-learning AllergyWise courses. We regularly email to over 26,000 UK schools with these resources.
In 2020, we have seen new challenges with the Coronavirus pandemic and continue to raise awareness of how schools can protect students with allergies. We wrote to the Department for Education requesting they provide clear guidance on the emergency treatment of anaphylaxis in schools during Coronavirus and you can read the replies here
See our Allergy Checklist to check if your school is allergy ready.
School best practiceAllergy Resources for Pupils
Our schools allergy awareness resource packs were created to facilitate an allergy awareness raising session with pupils. There are two separate packs, one for KS1 to 2 and another for KS3 to 5, and include all the materials a staff member should need including presentations, lesson plans and activities.
KS1-2 Schools Allergy Awareness Resource Pack
We have developed an allergy awareness resource pack for infant and primary schools allowing them to facilitate an allergy awareness session with their students. This includes materials such as lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and word searches.
KS3-5 Schools Allergy Awareness Resource Pack
The newest addition to our Making Schools Safer Project, our KS3-5 resource pack is designed to facilitate an allergy awareness session with secondary school students. This aims to improve student’s knowledge of severe allergies and to raise awareness of the emotional impact that severe allergies can have. This resource pack includes a presentation and a lesson plan with included activities and videos.
All About Allergies (Audio Presentation)
A full audio presentation has now been developed for KS1 and 2.
If you cannot play from YouTube in your school, please contact [email protected]
This quiz has been designed to allow pupils to consolidate the learning from the presentation by answering a few simple questions.
For younger children, this could be done verbally.
Supporting Pupils at School with Medical Conditions Guidance
Schools have a responsibility to develop individual healthcare plans for pupils with medical conditions, and this includes those with severe allergies. This falls under Section 100 of the Children and Families Act 2014.
This healthcare plan must identify the pupil’s medical condition, triggers, symptoms, medication needs, and the level of support needed in an emergency. There must also be procedures in place to manage medicines on the premises, and ensure staff are appropriately supported and trained.
Specific statutory guidance has been developed under Section 100 of the Children and Families Act 2014, for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on supporting children at school with medical conditions. The statutory guidance in this document is intended to help governing bodies meet their legal responsibilities and sets out the arrangements they will be expected to make, based on good practice. Please view these below.
Labels for Pupil’s Adrenaline Auto-Injector Boxes
Our printable labels are an ideal way to label boxes containing individual pupil’s adrenaline auto-injector pens. These can be printed off, filled in and stuck to the pupil’s medical box. This means that key information such as the pupil’s allergies and adrenaline auto-injector expiry dates are clearly visible on the outside of the box.
It is strongly encouraged that generic adrenaline auto-injectors are available in the school.
From 1st October 2017, the Human Medicines (Amendment) Regulations 2017 allowed schools in the UK to buy adrenaline auto-injector devices (known as AAIs) without a prescription to use in an emergency on children who are at risk of a severe allergic reaction (known as anaphylaxis) but whose own device is not available or not working. This could be because their AAI(s) are broken, or out-of-date, for example.
Purchasing Adrenaline Auto-Injector (AAI) Generic Pens for Schools
The Department of Health guidance on the use of adrenaline auto-injectors in schools 2017 sets out that schools can purchase AAIs from a pharmaceutical supplier, such as a local pharmacy, without a prescription, provided the general advice relating to these transactions are observed: i.e. small quantities on an occasional basis and the school does not intend to profit from it.
AllergyWise is the name for our online e-learning courses and is the easiest way to learn about anaphylaxis, the risks of severe allergies and how to manage them. Below are two of our AllergyWise courses that we would recommend to schools that go into detail about the three adrenaline auto-injectors available in the UK and how to administer these.
Our AllergyWise for Schools Online Training Course
This free online course is designed to ensure that all staff members are fully aware of:
- The signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis
- How to provide emergency treatment
- The implications for management of severely allergic children in school
Our AllergyWise for Healthcare Professionals Online Training Course
This online course has been designed as a ‘train the trainer’ course for school nurses, first aid trainers, community nurses and nursery nurses with responsibility for training others. The course includes topics such as:
- How to recognise the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction
- How to use all currently licensed adrenaline injectors, including EpiPen, Jext and Emerade. (Please note that Emerade auto-injectors have been recalled and are currently unavailable)
- How to manage risks in school, early years and other community settings where severely allergic children and young people are cared for
- How to run your own anaphylaxis training in your school, nursery or other care setting with our easy to follow step-by-step guide
This online course has been accredited by the Royal College of Nursing, and includes resources such as trainer pens, presentations and lesson plans to help you run your own training sessions.
Trainer devices can be ordered from the manufacturer’s websites for free:
Allergy action plans are designed to function as Individual Healthcare Plans for children with food allergies, providing medical and parental consent for schools to administer medicines in the event of an allergic reaction, including consent to administer a spare adrenaline auto-injector.
The Anaphylaxis Campaign would recommend that all parents and schools use the British Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) Allergy Action Plan to ensure continuity. This is a national plan that has been agreed by the BSACI, the Anaphylaxis Campaign and Allergy UK.
BSACI Allergy Action Plans
Allergy Action Plans are intended for children at risk of anaphylaxis, developed by the BSACI Paediatric Allergy Group.
These plans have been designed to facilitate first aid treatment of anaphylaxis, to be delivered by people without any special medical training nor equipment apart from access to an adrenaline auto-injector (AAI). They have been developed following an extensive consultation period with health professionals, support organisations including the Anaphylaxis Campaign, parents of food-allergic children and teachers.
Please note that it is the parent/carer’s responsibility to complete the allergy action plan with help from a healthcare professional (most likely a GP), and provide this to the school.
There are four plans available; a generic plan for individuals assessed as not needing an AAI, and a personal plan for individuals prescribed an EpiPen, Jext or an Emerade.
Emerade devices in all doses (150mcg, 300mcg and 500mcg) have been recalled and are not currently available. Please see our Latest News pages for updates on adrenaline auto-injector availability here.
It is important that two adrenaline auto-injectors are available at school to pupils that are prescribed them and that these must be available AT ALL TIMES.
In August 2017, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) released updated advice for healthcare professionals and people with allergies and their carers on adrenaline auto-injectors (AAIs) following a review of all devices approved in the EU. The review recommended that healthcare professionals prescribe two AAIs, which patients should carry at all times
The Anaphylaxis Campaign actively campaigns for people to be prescribed two AAIs. We firmly recommend that once prescribed they should always be kept with the patient so they have access to them at all times in case one is broken or misfires, or a second injection is needed before emergency help arrives. We therefore welcome this expression of support from the MHRA that patients should actively be prescribed two AAIs.
The Anaphylaxis Campaign do understand the difficulty in obtaining more than two AAIs so that two AAIs to be stored on the school premises. There will need to be communication between the parents, school and the healthcare professional to ensure that two AAIs are available for the child at all times.
In 2020, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) updated its anaphylaxis guidance which outlines that healthcare professionals should always offer people with allergies a prescription for two further AAIs before being discharged from the hospital and advise patients to carry these with them at all times.
The headteacher of Fitzmaurice Primary School in Wiltshire and a supporter of the Anaphylaxis Campaign has produced a detailed Annual Risk Assessment that your school can download and undertake to help ensure pupils with allergies are kept safe.
We have heard anecdotally, through our national helpline service, about allergic children being bullied by their peers at school. This is obviously an issue that should not be tolerated and should be taken very seriously by the school. A scientific paper was published that evaluated food-allergy related bullying incidents in a large sample of food allergic children in the US. This concluded that ‘32% of the surveyed children reported having been bullied due to food allergy at least once‘.
By law, all state schools must have a behaviour policy in place that includes measures to prevent all forms of bullying among pupils, and this is a policy decided by the school. All teachers, pupils and parents must be told what it is, and allergy bullying should be treated seriously, like any other bullying. Schools must, under Section 100 of the Children and Families Act 2014, aim to ensure that all children with medical conditions, in terms of both physical and mental health, are properly supported in school so that they can play a full and active role in school life, remain healthy and achieve their academic potential.
The Department for Education has provided statutory guidance for schools and colleges on keeping children safe in education. Please view the guidance here.
Bullying UK have provided advice for schools on bullying.
Heads Together have given information on how to provide peer support.
Watch our recent webinars for school here, including Making Schools Safer – Allergies and Covid with Tracey Dunn, Headteacher of the Fitzmaurice primary school in Wiltshire.
Watch our #TakeTheKit video which highlights the importance of students carrying their medication with them at all time.
Our Doctor Doyle YouTube videos provide useful advice and tips including how adrenaline works, how to know when to use your adrenaline auto-injector and advice on how alcohol and kissing can affect an allergy.
Living with Anaphylactic Allergies – Izzy and Ben’s Story
A powerful animation using first-person testimony from two children, Ben and Izzy, who both suffer with anaphylactic allergies. Izzy describes what anaphylaxis is and what it does to your body. Together they describe the different ways it influences their daily lives. Using the children’s real first person testimonies creates an
intimate and direct tone that help us to empathise with the people’s differences. Izzy describes the anxiety she feels when she’s in an environment that she can’t control; a market place, or the school cafeteria. As well as the isolation that it can cause from friends and non-sufferers. Ben clearly describes the frustration that can occur when his allergy is ignored. Both circumstances are easily relatable to children; they talk about school, family, friends, holidays and birthday parties. Contains some scenes which younger viewers may find upsetting.
‘FAQs in Schools’ Factsheet
This is a Factsheet that we have created to help answer some of the questions frequently asked by schools surrounding allergies. These include questions such as ‘how many adrenaline auto-injectors should an allergic pupil in school have?’ ‘How do I administer an adrenaline auto-injector’ and outlines the responsibilities of the school, the family and the pupil.
Fundraising at schools
We have a range of resources available to support awareness raising of severe allergies in schools. If you would like to discuss these or would like to fundraise in school for the Anaphylaxis Campaign, please contact [email protected]
It is so important to us that children understand the seriousness of severe allergies and how to support peers who may be managing them.
The poster competition has been designed to allow the children to get creative in demonstrating their understanding of allergies.
The competition can be run as a whole school initiative wither as homework or in school and then selected winning entries sent to us.
Alternatively, the children can send their posters directly to us. 50 winners will be chosen and each will receive an art/craft prize.