Why food allergy matters: supporting your school

Last month The Allergy Team partnered with Towergate Insurance and The Education Broker to host a Q&A for schools. It was packed with advice about managing the risks posed by food allergies.

Eminent allergist, Professor Adam Fox and Sarah Knight, Founder of The Allergy Team laid out why ensuring pupils with food allergy are safe and included at school is so important. They discussed the impact of not taking food allergy seriously and offered practical tips to help schools embed best practice.

If you have a passcode from Towergate Insurance, The Education Broker or The Allergy Team, you can watch the recording here.

Towergate Insurance and The Education Broker school clients also benefit from 20% off The Allergy Team’s whole school training for staff.

N

Here are our top 4 take-aways from the session:

1. Allergic reactions happen quickly and require an immediate response. Professor Fox told our live audience: “These reactions are usually pretty easy to spot. They’re not subtle…although the nature of the reaction can be very unpredictable. So, on one occasion it might be swelling of the lips and hives… But, on occasion and unpredictably, it can suddenly be a lot worse than that and be what we call anaphylaxis, which is where the reaction involves difficulty in breathing or a problem with your blood circulation. That’s a medical emergency and the only real cure for it is early administration of adrenaline”

2. A whole-school approach is vital. Sarah Knight explained that senior leaders cannot dismiss food allergy as the catering team’s problem. She explained, “It’s everyone’s [problem]. One or two children in every average class of 30 has a food allergy and 20% of allergic reactions in school-age children happen in school. 20% of these children were not even known to have a food allergy and 79% of allergic reactions [in school] happen outside of the dining hall.”

3. Be aware of bullying because of food allergy. Professor Fox urged staff to take food allergy bullying seriously. He said that almost half of children with food allergies report that they have been chased around the playground with food they’re allergic to or had these foods thrown at them or put in their locker.

4. Allergic reactions in school affect everyone. Sarah Knight explained that all reactions and near-misses can have a long-lasting impact on mental health for pupils, families and school staff, who sometimes need to take time off work following an incident.

If you would like support from The Allergy Team to manage food allergies, we provide whole-school Allergy Reviews and CPD-accredited online training for staff. Training includes:

  • What is a food allergy? Identifying symptoms and knowing how to treat allergic reactions including adrenaline pen training.
  • Reducing the risk of accidental allergen exposure during school activities including school trips.
  • The emotional and mental effect on pupils including bullying, impact on school attendance and how to create inclusion.
  • Working with families, managing anxieties and supporting new pupils and fostering trust in schools.
  • Other topics include: Natasha’s Law and the PTA, Spare Pens In Schools, school clubs, managing paperwork, best practice examples, developing healthy communication and ideas to embed inclusion throughout school life.

To get a quote for training for your school, please call The Allergy Team on 07957 780800 or email schools@theallergyteam.com.

Schools we work with: