To avoid problems at school, particularly if your child is starting at a new school, talk to your head/class teacher about your child’s allergies as soon as possible.
Tips to help prevent problems for your child with allergies at school;
- Bring along any written information about the allergies eg what things to avoid, what symptoms might occur as well as an allergy management plan from your doctor
- Provide up to date contact details including alternatives in case you are unavailable. Providing a photo of your child can be very helpful.
- Consider purchasing a medical alert bracelet
- You may wish to provide your own birthday cake or other special treats so that your child is not excluded
- Go through these rules with your child:
- Don’t accept food that other children are sharing or offering
- Don’t eat anything if they are unsure of what the ingredients are
- Tell the teacher immediately they feel unwell, especially if they have just eaten something (even if you didn’t think it had anything in it you were allergic to)
- Wash your hands before and after eating your meals
Questions You May Like To Ask The School, Including Expected Answers
1. How will the school manage your child’s allergy/allergies?
Answer: We have staff trained in managing allergies. We keep a copy of your allergy management plan, together with your allergy medicines (eg Piriton, Epipen) in a labelled box somewhere easily accessible. The medicines are checked from time to time to see that the medicines are in date.
2. Does the teacher know what symptoms to look for if your child has an allergic reaction?
Answer: Yes, it has been discussed, and the teacher has had up to date training in allergy (this is provided to schools by school nurses). The teacher will give the class an awareness talk so that they know how they can help avoid reactions and what to do if they think your child is having an allergic reaction.
3. Does the teacher know that chronic allergic symptoms eg hayfever can affect concentration and behaviour?
4. Who in the school knows what to do about allergic reactions?
Answer: They are X and Y (and your child knows who these people are)
5. Has your school catering department been made aware of your dietary requirements? (Your child is entitled to a school meal, but it will help catering departments to have advance notice and a supply of any prescription foods eg gluten free)
Answer: Yes, and we will encourage serving staff to know which children are allergic, and to tables in the canteen are wiped clean before and after your lunch.
6. Are you aware that you should not be excluded from school activities because of your allergies?
7. Will the school do what it can to avoid allergic reactions?
Answer: The class teacher will take into account allergies when planning class activities (you may have to consider which lessons are likely to be an issue eg home economics, art, activities involving animals or animal feed). They will discourage food sharing among children in general, so that your child does not feel left out. Grass, pollen and bee/wasp allergic children will not sit next to open windows in the summer. Dust allergic children will not sit on dusty surfaces. Day trips and other trips away will be planned in advance so that staff are appropriately trained and have the right medicines and plans.
Management of Medications for Allergy
If you have been prescribed an adrenaline autoinjector pen, you might like to put the following questions to your school:
8. How will you make the Adrenaline autoinjector pen available in school?
Answer Primary: Kept with plan and antihistamine in unlocked cupboard in the school office
Answer Secondary: Child will keep one pen in own bag for taking between classrooms, and another pen will be kept with plan and antihistamine in unlocked cupboard in school office.