42% of school staff haven’t been trained to manage food allergies in the last year. This is despite government advice, and national allergy charities recommending that training should take place annually.

In March 2023 The Allergy Team surveyed 224 school staff members about allergy training they had received in school and how confident they felt to respond to an allergic reaction. The aim was to help build up a picture of current allergy management in education settings, to support our work with schools.

What we learned:

In the main, responses to the survey were positive with most school staff feeling confident they would know what to do if a pupil had an allergic reaction.

N

Over 80% of those surveyed said they felt they would know what to do to treat a student.

N
Almost half of respondents had not been trained to recognise and respond to an allergic reaction within the last 12 months.
N
Staff are confident they know how to use adrenaline auto-injectors to treat anaphylaxis.
N
A third of schools don’t have an allergy policy, or staff don’t know if they have one.
N

The availability of “spare” adrenaline pens could be improved.

Who completed the survey?

224 members of school staff completed the survey, 96.9% currently work in a school, with a further 2.2% working in a related education setting (e.g. nursery, after-school provision). Their roles include teacher, headteacher, deputy head, catering manager, school nurse, SENCO and bursar.

The pupils in their care ranged from pre-school age to sixth formers although the majority had pupils aged 4-11 years.

Where were respondents employed?

Other responses:

Adrenaline auto-injectors (AAIs) and “spare” pens

Do you know where pupils’ AAIs are kept in your school?

  • 198 (88.4%) said yes, I know exactly where to find them.
  • 18 (8%) said they do not know or were not certain on location.

Do you know where spare AAIs are kept in your school?

  • 18 (8%) I don’t know whether we have spare AAIs.
  • 29 (12.95%) We don’t have spare AAIs in the school
  • 16 (7.1%) No, I don’t know where I would find AAIs if I needed to treat a severe allergic reaction.

School allergy policies

130 (58%) of those who responded to our survey said their school has an allergy policy, but 70 (31.2%) said either their school does not have a policy, or they don’t know. Some staff told us that their school’s allergy policy was included in their general medical policy or that their policy was “in development.”

Resources & Insight