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Government response
government response summary
Food allergies can be worrying for parents. Government is taking steps to help schools meet their legal duties to support pupils with medical conditions.
government response details
We feel existing legislation is enough to ensure children are kept safe in school.The Department for Education understands food allergies can be complex and worrying for parents and that they need to feel that their children are properly supported and kept safe in school. The government has taken a number of steps to raise awareness of allergies and how to deal with an allergic reaction in schools, including: - Making allergies part of the new Health Education curriculum for all pupils in state funded schools, which will be mandatory from September 2020. Guidance sets out that pupils should be taught about the facts and science relating to allergies, immunisation and vaccination: - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education. - Policy officials working closely with the Health Conditions in Schools Alliance, of which the Anaphylaxis Campaign is a member, to explore how we can share accessible resources to help schools to improve the way they support children with allergies. - Acting to prevent exposure to allergens in food. Allergen rules within the EU Food Information for Consumers Regulation No. 1169/2011 became statutory from 13 December 2014. All food businesses, including school caterers, are required to make available the allergen ingredients information for the food and drink they serve. - The Department has produced a wide range of guidance on managing food allergies in schools. - And the Food Standards Agency has published its own allergen guidance for caterers - Reviewing the current statutory guidance this year and working with allergy organisations to ensure that they are part of the review process. We are looking to build on these actions to help schools support pupils with allergies. To help identify the best way forward, officials are working with a range of organisations with expertise in allergies and anaphylaxis. It is important that schools provide high quality support for children with allergies, to help prevent exposure to allergens and to respond appropriately to any allergic reactions. Our approach, which combines legislation and statutory guidance, sets out a high expectation of schools whilst giving them the necessary flexibility in deciding how best to support their pupils with allergies. Section 100 Children and Families Act 2014 places a statutory duty on governing bodies of maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units to make arrangements at school to support pupils with medical conditions. The Department’s statutory guidance Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supporting-pupils-at-school-with-medical-conditions--3) makes it clear to schools what is expected of them to fulfil their legal obligations and to meet the needs of pupils with any medical condition, including allergies. The key expectations are that: - Pupils at school with medical conditions should be properly supported so that they have full access to education, including school trips and physical education. - Governing bodies must ensure that arrangements are in place in schools to support pupils with medical conditions. - Governing bodies should ensure that school leaders consult health and social care professionals, pupils and parents to ensure that the needs of children with medical conditions are properly understood and effectively supported. The guidance does not refer to any specific medical conditions: rather the approach is to seek to ensure that pupils with any medical condition are properly supported. Local authorities and schools also have duties relating to the making of arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of pupils (sections 175 of the Education Act 2002 and regulation 3 of and paragraph 7 of the Schedule to the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014). This Government has changed the law so that, since 1 October 2017, all primary and secondary schools can buy adrenaline auto-injectors (AAIs) from a pharmacy, without a prescription, for use in emergencies. The Department of Health and Social Care issued guidance for schools on AAIs to accompany this change: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/using-emergency-adrenaline-auto-injectors-in-schools. This guidance gives advice on: - how to recognise and respond to an anaphylactic shock; - how to use an AAI in schools; - how to reduce the risk of allergen exposure in children with food allergies; - arrangements for the supply, storage, care and disposal of AAIs; and - useful links to further information. In response to the suggestion that further statutory legislation is needed, for the reasons outlined above we do not feel that this is necessary. While we recognise your concerns about children’s safety in school, we believe the existing legislation plus statutory guidance is sufficient to ensure schools are aware of their legal duties in relation to supporting pupils with medical conditions, including allergies. Department for EducationThis is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more sensitively addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/259303)
government response created at
2019-10-10T07:49:37.617000+00:00
government response updated at
2020-03-31T09:35:27.624000+00:00
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