Safer Schools Programme

The information and resources on this page will support your school to develop best practice policies and procedures to ensure children with allergies are managed safely. This includes the importance of whole school allergy awareness, information about our AllergyWise® for Schools online training course with additional benefits, best practice resources, such as a model policy for allergy management at school, a downloadable allergy awareness assembly presentation, information about spare pens in schools, responsibilities, allergy bullying, FAQs for schools, plus more!

Whole School Allergy Awareness

Every school class is likely to have at least one pupil with allergies. The most serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) usually begins within minutes and is potentially life-threatening. Unfortunately, there have been cases of fatal anaphylaxis happening when a child is at school. Lessons learnt from these tragic cases emphasise the need for all school staff to be able to recognise the signs of an allergic reaction and have the confidence to manage this.

We encourage a whole school allergy awareness approach where all staff and pupils are allergy aware. Our AllergyWise® for Schools online training course for all school staff includes lesson resource packs to help educate your pupils about allergies.

AllergyWise® for Schools online training

Whether you’re a headteacher, teacher, teaching assistant, lunchtime supervisor or member of administration staff, our online training is for you and will support your school to keep pupils with allergies safe. 

Our new and improved AllergyWise® for Schools course will help you understand the common causes of an allergic reaction, how to recognise and manage anaphylaxis, how to use adrenaline auto-injectors, and provides practical tips for safely managing pupils with allergies.

The course takes ~1 hour and includes quizzes, practical scenario videos, optional narration, final assessment and downloadable digital certificate of completion. Additional benefits include our allergy awareness lesson resource packs and the opportunity to achieve our AllergyWise® School award!

Our lesson resource packs are included with our AllergyWise® for Schools online course!

Completing our AllergyWise® for Schools course before delivering our allergy awareness lesson resources will give staff the knowledge and expertise to feel confident teaching about allergies.

All schools that complete our AllergyWise® for Schools online training are eligible for our AllergyWise® School award!

Awarded schools receive a digital certificate and a digital logo to use on their website and letterheads.

Looking for online training for early years settings?

See our early years guidance

Best Practice Resources

Schools have a legal duty to make arrangements for supporting children with medical conditions, including allergies. Statutory guidance is available for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on supporting children at school with medical conditions (see the UK Guidance Useful Links section).

The following best practice resources are designed to support schools to safely manage pupils with allergies.

  • Model policy for allergy management at school

    Anaphylaxis UK and Allergy UK have worked with the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) and the Medical Conditions in Schools Alliance, to develop a Model Policy for Allergy Management at School guide. It is designed to support schools to develop a ‘Gold Standard’ policy to manage children’s allergies safely, so that children and their parents feel reassured that a robust policy is in place.

    The guide has been reviewed by Professor Adam Fox, Paediatric Allergist at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospitals, London, Dr Paul Turner, MRC Clinician Scientist in Paediatric Allergy & Immunology at Imperial College and the BSACI Standards of Care Group.

    Click here to view the model policy for allergy management at school guide

    Click here for an example, editable template model policy

  • Allergy Action Plans

    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.

    We recommend that all parents and schools use the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) Allergy Action Plan to ensure continuity. This is a national plan that has been agreed by the BSACI, Anaphylaxis UK and Allergy UK. These plans have been designed to facilitate first aid treatment of anaphylaxis, to be delivered by people without any special medical training or equipment apart from access to an adrenaline auto-injector. Please note, the plans are medical documents and should be completed by a child’s health professional, in partnership with parents/carers.

    There are four plans available; a generic plan for individuals assessed as not needing an adrenaline auto-injector, and a personal plan for individuals prescribed an EpiPen, Jext or Emerade.

    Click here to download the four different Allergy Action Plans here

  • Risk assessment and allergy best practice guide

    Understanding and managing risk is key to ensuring that pupils with allergies are kept safe in school. An individual risk assessment will enable the school to understand the pupil’s allergies and by coproducing it in collaboration with the parent/carer, the school will find themselves equipped to appropriately safeguard the pupil.  These were produced by our Education and AllergyWise Manger when she was a serving headteacher and our Education Ambassador.

    Click here to download the Allergy Management risk assessment for individual students

    Click here to download an example Allergy Management risk assessment for individual students

    The allergy in school good practice guide will lead you through the steps necessary to ensure that the school is fulfilling it’s duty of care to pupils (and staff) with allergies.

    Click here to download the Allergy in school best practice guide


  • Template allergy awareness letters

    Tracey Dunn, primary school headteacher and Education Ambassador for Anaphylaxis UK, has produced two template letters for you to adapt to your school’s needs.

    Click here to download the Starting Reception Template Allergy Letter

    Click here to download the School Template Allergy Letter

  • Webinars

    Watch our webinars and podcasts on a range of allergy topics here.

Download our free allergy awareness assembly presentation for schools

Use our assembly presentation with your school pupils to help encourage whole school allergy awareness. Depending on the age of your pupils, you can choose which slides are most appropriate to present. Further information for each slide can be found in the slide notes.

Watch our podcast about nut-free schools

Should schools go nut-free? Dr Adrian Sie and Anaphylaxis UK's Simon Williams in conversation

Dr Adrian Sie, consultant in paediatrics at NHS Lanarkshire and lead allergy specialist speaks with Simon Williams about nut-free schools. Is it a good idea for schools to go nut-free to minimise the risk for children with a nut allergy? Should a school go nut free?

Download our free allergy awareness posters

Use our posters for adults and children to raise allergy awareness in your school.

Want to learn more about anaphylaxis symptoms and treatment?

Find out more

Spare adrenaline auto-injectors

Since 2017, schools and local authority maintained nurseries can buy spare adrenaline auto-injectors without a prescription, for emergency use in children who are at risk of anaphylaxis but their own devices are not available or not working (e.g. because they are out of date). These are a back up, and not to replace a child’s own prescribed adrenaline auto-injectors.

Schools and local authority maintained nurseries can buy spare adrenaline auto-injectors from any pharmacy. A letter on headed paper from the head teacher is needed. View a template letter.

The change in law only extends to schools and local authority maintained nurseries. Private nurseries, childminders, nannies, children’s organisations, clubs and groups outside of school can’t buy spare adrenaline auto-injectors.

For further information about spare adrenaline auto-injectors in school, see the FAQs and the UK Guidance Useful Links sections below.


Schools should:

  • Follow and implement statutory supporting pupils at school with medical conditions guidance. Links to UK guidance can be found at the end of this page.
  • Arrange anaphylaxis training for all staff. Training should be provided on a yearly basis and on an ad-hoc basis for any new members of staff.
  • Ensure staff are aware of the pupils in their care (regular or cover classes) who have known allergies as an allergic reaction could happen at any time and not just at meal times.
  • Include children with allergies in all school activities.

  • Communicate regularly to catering staff about the specific needs of children with allergies in the school.
  • Ensure staff leading school trips carry all relevant emergency supplies. Trip leaders need to check that all pupils with medical conditions, including allergies, carry (or have access to) their medication.
  • Ensure that medications kept in school are appropriately stored, and easily accessible in a secure location (but not locked away).
  • Check medications kept in school termly to ensure they are stored correctly, are still in date, and ready for use (it is the parent’s responsibility to ensure all medication is in date, however, it is good practice for schools to check).

School FAQs

  • How many adrenaline auto-injectors should a child with allergies have at school?

    Anyone prescribed adrenaline must carry or have immediate access to two of their own adrenaline auto-injectors. Two are needed in case one misfires, or a second dose is needed.

  • Where should adrenaline auto-injectors be stored?

    Younger children, who cannot be expected to carry their own medication, should have an emergency kit which is available to the child at all times, not locked away, and accessible to all staff.

    Older children and teenagers should, whenever possible, assume responsibility for their emergency kit under the guidance of their parents. They should carry two adrenaline auto-injectors on them at all times and be supported to have the confidence to self administer in an emergency. However, symptoms of anaphylaxis can come on very quickly, so school staff need to be prepared to administer medication if they need assistance.

    Spare adrenaline auto-injectors should be stored in a central location, not locked away, where they can be with the child within 5 minutes. All staff must know the location of the spare adrenaline auto-injectors.

  • Who is allowed to administer adrenaline in an emergency?

    Any member of staff may volunteer to provide first aid to support pupils with medical conditions. However, Regulation 238 of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 allows for adrenaline to be administered by anyone for the purpose of saving a life in an emergency.

    In many schools, it would be appropriate for there to be multiple designated members of staff who can administer adrenaline to avoid any delay in treatment and to ensure cover when staff are absent. Best practice would be for all school staff have anaphylaxis training, particularly all staff working closely with the allergic child.

  • Can all schools buy spare adrenaline auto-injectors?

    The change in law applies to local authority-maintained nurseries, primary, secondary and special schools, academies, pupil referral units and independent schools in England, Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland this applies to grant aided schools and independent schools as defined in the Education and Libraries (NI) Order 1986. The ‘Human Medicines (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2014’ defined what the term ‘school’ means. This definition can be found here.


    Any other organisations or clubs outside of school, cannot purchase spare adrenaline auto-injectors. Children at risk of anaphylaxis must have their own prescribed adrenaline auto-injectors with them at all times.

  • Which brands of spare adrenaline auto-injector can a school buy?

    The adrenaline auto-injectors prescribed in the UK are EpiPen®, Jext® and Emerade®. The decision as to how many and what brands to purchase will depend on the individual circumstances within your school. However, the Department of Health guidance advises:

    “Where all pupils are prescribed the same device, the school should obtain the same brand for the spare adrenaline auto-injector. If two or more brands are currently held by the school, the school may wish to purchase the brand most commonly prescribed to its pupils.”

    The place where the adrenaline auto-injector is administered is the same for Emerade®, EpiPen® and Jext®; they are injected into the upper, outer thigh. However, there is some variation in operating each one and training on each device should be given to all school staff who might be required to administer adrenaline in an emergency.

  • How much do spare adrenaline auto-injectors cost?

    Schools can purchase adrenaline auto-injectors from any pharmacy, without a prescription. A template letter which must be complete on headed school paper can be downloaded here. It is also available on the website

    Pharmacies are not required to provide adrenaline auto-injectors free of charge to schools, your school must pay for them as a retail item. They cost around £35 each, but most pharmacies will add an additional handling charge of £10-£15 each.

  • Who are spare adrenaline auto-injectors for?

    Spare adrenaline auto-injectors are primarily for pupils known to be at risk of anaphylaxis and for who both medical authorisation and written parental consent for use of the spare auto-injector has been provided. The school’s spare auto-injector can be administered to a pupil whose own prescribed device cannot be administered correctly without delay.

    A schools’ spare adrenaline auto-injector can also be used for any pupils or other person not known by the school to be at risk of anaphylaxis in an emergency. Written permission is not required in these exceptional circumstances where the reaction could not have been foreseen.

    Further information on the use of spare adrenaline auto-injectors can be found in this Clarification of adrenaline autoinjector guidance for schools

  • Should schools ban nuts?

    We don’t typically recommend complete nut bans because they are very difficult to enforce and can lead to a false sense of security. Children can be allergic to other common food allergens, for example milk and egg, and it would be impossible to ban them all. We recommend a whole school allergy awareness approach of all allergens. Settings should carry out an individual risk assessment for any child with an allergy and put appropriate measures in place to reduce the risks as far as possible. Every setting is different, but this may include extra cleaning measures or adjustments of the timings and locations of meals and snacks if necessary.

    See our ‘Should schools go nut-free?’ podcast with Dr Adrian Sie here.

  • What about foods with precautionary allergen labels (PALs) for nuts?

    We don’t recommend a complete ban of any foods, including foods with precautionary allergen labels. A large variety of foods have nuts as an ingredient or ‘may contain’ warnings for nuts. Nuts are also not the only allergen, and it would be impossible to ban them all.

    See our ‘Should schools go nut-free?’ podcast with Dr Adrian Sie here.

  • Is there a risk for children with allergies from cosmetics, such as sun cream?

    Some cosmetics contain food ingredients, for example, some creams contain nut oils. It’s difficult to determine the level of risk posed by cosmetic products containing food ingredients, however, unless the allergic child accidentally ingests the cream it’s likely to be very low. Anaphylaxis from skin contact with the product alone is extremely unlikely, however, contact reactions such as a skin rash/hives could occur. Nut oils are made from the fats of the nut, so likely have very little amounts of nut protein in, reducing the risks further as the proteins cause allergic reactions.

    Further information about food ingredients in cosmetics can be found in our factsheet.

  • Could children kissing each other be a risk?

    Kissing can be risky if someone eats a food that the other person is allergic to. Allergens can remain in saliva for several hours – anywhere between 2 and 24 hours, and even brushing teeth may not get rid of them effectively. If, for example, a child eats something then kisses a child allergic to that food on the cheek, this is unlikely to cause anaphylaxis, but a contact reaction such as a skin rash/hives could occur.

    Kissing on the lips is more risky for someone with a food allergy, and could cause anaphylaxis if they kiss someone who has eaten their allergen. Our ‘Take the Kit‘ video, aimed at older students, highlights the importance of always carrying your adrenaline auto-injectors with you and the potential risk from kissing.

  • Can we hold cake sales?

    Cake sales to raise money for charity are a common feature of school life. There’s no reason why these shouldn’t go ahead, provided the activity is risk assessed and food allergies are considered. The more information that can be provided about the ingredients in the food, the better it is, so that those with allergies can make safe choices. The Food Standards Agency has further information about providing food at community events, such as school fetes.

Allergy Bullying

Unfortunately, we know allergy bullying is not uncommon. By law, all state schools must have a behaviour policy that includes measures to prevent all forms of bullying. All teachers, pupils and parents/carers must be told what it is, and allergy bullying should be treated seriously, like any other bullying. Schools must 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.

Food allergy bullying is included in our allergy awareness assembly presentation for schools.

The Department for Education has provided statutory guidance for schools and colleges on keeping children safe in education.

Bullying UK have provided advice for schools on creating anti bullying policies.

Heads Together have given information on how to provide peer support.

Other useful websites include Bully Busters, Anti-Bullying Alliance, Childline and NSPCC.

Tips to keep children with allergies safe

  • Ensure children prescribed adrenaline carry or have immediate access to their own two adrenaline auto-injectors.
  • Store spare adrenaline auto-injectors in a central location (not locked away), where they can be with the child within 5 minutes.
  • Before and after meal and snack times, tables should be cleaned thoroughly with hot, soapy water.
  • Encourage children to wash their hands before and after meal and snack times.
  • Staff need to be vigilant at meal and snack times, discourage food sharing but also try not to isolate the child with allergies.
  • All activities should be risk assessed. Staff need to check that any food or craft materials used are suitable for children with allergies.
  • Encourage whole school allergy awareness – ensure all staff can recognise anaphylaxis symptoms and know what to do in an emergency, and educate your pupils about allergies.
  • Review risk assessment and policies after a reaction has occurred.

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