Foundation calls for urgent action for school children with allergies

Foundation calls for urgent action for school children with allergies

  • 17 July 2023
  • News
  • Schools News

The Benedict Blythe Foundation has published an Action Paper detailing recommendations for schools to help keep pupils with allergies safe.

Five-year-old Benedict Blythe died of anaphylaxis on 1st December 2021 after collapsing at school. His parents have spent the last 18 months speaking with families, charities, educators and paediatric allergy specialists to understand what protections were in place, and what could be improved. They, along with national charities and organisations such as Anaphylaxis UK, are calling for new legislation to protect pupils.

Around 7 to 8% of children are affected by food allergy with hospital admissions for food-related anaphylaxis in children increasing in recent years. Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening condition which requires an immediate response.

The recommendations in the Action Paper include:

“Making it mandatory for all schools:

  1. To have an allergy policy, including an anaphylaxis plan.
  2. For pupils with food allergies, an individual healthcare plan and anaphylaxis action plan completed (and regularly updated) collaboratively by the child, parents/carers and school staff.
  3. To hold spare AAIs that are in-date
  4. To implement training for school staff and teachers on allergies and anaphylaxis and a whole school allergy awareness approach.”

Helen Blythe, mother of Benedict Blythe and Founder of Benedict Blythe Foundation, said:

“Through the recommendations outlined in this paper, we intend to lead the ask for legislation to provide protection for pupils with allergies through mandatory allergy and anaphylaxis training, statutory allergy policies, and individual healthcare plans for all children with allergies as well as spare pens in every school.

“We hope that no other parents experience the death of a child through anaphylaxis while at school, and welcome the support of national charities including Allergy UK and Anaphylaxis UK to reduce the risk of this happening.”

Simon Williams, Chief Executive of Anaphylaxis UK, said:

“Lessons learnt from fatal anaphylaxis cases in school highlight the importance of allergy policies and procedures, allergy training of all staff and whole school allergy awareness.

“Anaphylaxis UK’s Safer Schools Programme includes online training for all school staff, allergy awareness resources to share with pupils, and best practice resources, such as a template model allergy policy, to support schools to safely manage children with serious allergies.

“Anaphylaxis UK encourages schools to have robust allergy management systems in place and for all staff and pupils to have an understanding of allergies, to be able to recognise the signs of a serious allergic reaction and to know what to do in an emergency. Whole school allergy awareness, involving the education of all staff and pupils, is the safest way to manage children with allergies.”

You can read the full Action Paper on the Foundation’s website.