For Schools

Information and advice for schools helping to safeguard pupils living with allergy.

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As educators and caretakers, it’s crucial to prioritise the well-being and safety of all pupils, including those with known allergies. The information and resources on this page aims to help equip schools with practical advice and strategies to effectively manage and support pupils with allergies.

Schools must provide a safe environment for all their pupils, with policies to support children with medical conditions and with the number of schools-aged children with allergic conditions on the rise, it is estimated that, on average, most school classes in the UK will have one or two children with food allergy.

On this page:

Policies and legislations

In 2014, the Children and Families Act 2014 made it a legal duty for schools to make arrangements for pupils with medical conditions – this includes children with food allergies. All pupils with medical conditions – including food allergies – should have an Individual Healthcare Plan agreed between the parents and the school. Where a pupil has been prescribed an adrenaline auto-injector (AAI) for use in an emergency, teachers and other non-healthcare professionals are permitted – but not obligated – to administer an AAI under existing legislation.

From 1 October 2017, the Human Medicines (Amendment) Regulations 2017 allows schools to purchase their own supply of AAIs from a pharmaceutical supplier (such as a local pharmacy) without a prescription, if they wish to.

This is subject to the following conditions:

  • Only a reasonable number can be purchased, on an occasional basis.
  • The school does not intend to profit from the purchase.
  • A request, signed by the principal or head teacher, is provided which states:
    • the name of the school for which the product is required
    • the purpose for which that product is required
    • the total quantity required.

Schools are not required to hold spare AAI’s, this is a discretionary change enabling schools to do this, if they wish. This applies to all primary and secondary schools in the UK. The spare AAI can be used if the pupil’s own prescribed AAI’s are not immediately available.

Establish clear allergy policies

Develop and implement clear and concise allergy policies that outline procedures for managing allergies within the school premises. Ensure these policies are communicated effectively to all staff, parents, pupils and caterers.

Periodically review each term and update allergy policies and procedures based on new information, changes in student needs, or best practices.

Model policy for allergy at school

Allergy UK and Anaphylaxis UK have worked with the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) and the Medical Conditions in Schools Alliance, supported by the Department for Education (DfE), to develop a Model Policy for Allergy at School guide. It has been designed to support schools to develop a ‘Gold Standard’ policy to manage children’s allergies safely, so that children and their parents feel reassured that a robust policy is in place. The Model Policy for Allergy at School draws on lessons learnt from Prevention of Future Deaths reports where children have sadly died as a consequence of anaphylaxis while they are at school.

Model policy for allergy at school

Model policy for allergy at school

This Policy, which has been reviewed by leading allergy clinicians, contains advice on the storage and use of allergy medication, bullying in the school setting, what to do in an emergency and much more. Encourage your child's school to work with you to develop a robust policy for your child.

Legal requirements for schools and caterers

Legal requirements for schools and caterers

Under section 100 of the Children and Families Act 2014, schools have a duty to support pupils at their school with medical conditions. This document includes practical measures and advice.

Allergy action management plans

Collaborate with parents and healthcare providers to create personalised allergy action plans for pupils with known allergies. These plans should detail specific allergens, symptoms, emergency contacts, and necessary steps for managing allergic reactions.

The British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) has produced a range of allergy management plans, which can be used for this purpose, and can be downloaded below.

Adrenaline-auto injectors and medications at school  

If a pupil has a severe allergy, it is essential that parents provide the school with two Adrenaline-Auto Injectors (AAIs) as well as any other allergy medication their child may need. All medication should be in date and expired ones should be replaced. Medication should be kept with the pupil at school and not locked away where it is not easily accessible. In an anaphylactic reaction, seconds count. If you have a pupil of a younger age, staff will need to ensure their medication is passed between activity to activity if they change classrooms at all.

If a pupil is old enough and capabile of doing so, they can carry it with them in their bags. Any teacher or staff member in contact with a pupil needing to carry an AAI should be trained to use all available AAI brands, if this is not currently the case, training will need to be organised/provided.

All members of staff who would supervise a child with a severe allergy at any time should be aware of the warning signs of an allergic reaction. Download our Anaphylaxis and Severe Allergic Reactions factsheet to share with staff members.

Be prepared for emergencies

Have designated staff members trained in administering allergy medications in case of severe allergic reactions. Ensure that medications and adrenaline auto-injectors are easily accessible, and that staff are familiar with their usage. Ensure that the school’s first-aid kit contains appropriate supplies to manage allergic reactions and that staff know where to locate and how to use these resources.

Top tips

  • Ensure that parents provide an emergency medical kit for their child that contains any medication required and an allergy action plan.
  • Have an alert system for expiry dates of each child’s adrenaline auto-injector to ensure that it is still in date.
  • Ensure emergency medical kits are easily accessible and that all staff know where these are kept.
  • Write an emergency response plan that describes exactly what to do and who to contact in the event that a child has an allergic reaction.
Paediatric Allergy Action Plans

Paediatric Allergy Action Plans

These plans have been designed to facilitate first aid treatment of anaphylaxis, to be delivered by people without any special medical training nor equipment apart from access to an adrenaline autoinjector (AAI).

Anaphylaxis and Severe Allergic Reactions

Anaphylaxis and Severe Allergic Reactions

This page provides the most up-to-date guidance on anaphylaxis and AAIs. Knowing how to recognise the early signs of anaphylaxis and administer AAI’s can save a life. Find out more with our factsheets, how to videos and leaflets.

Adrenaline Auto-Injectors (AAI's)

Adrenaline Auto-Injectors (AAI's)

This factsheet has been developed to highlight the importance of carrying your adrenaline auto injector. It will also cover the different types and brands of adrenaline auto injectors available in the UK as well as how to care for your adrenaline auto injector.

Food allergies in school

Food allergy is common – on average, most school classes in the UK will have one or two children with a food allergy. Schools need to consider how to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction, in line with the statutory guidance ‘Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions’.

  • Food should not be given to food-allergic children in primary schools without parental engagement and permission (e.g. birthday parties, food treats).
  • When planning out-of-school activities such as sporting events, excursions (e.g. restaurants and food processing plants), school outings or camps, think early about the catering requirements for food-allergic children, and emergency planning (including access to emergency medication and medical care).
  • Clearly label allergens in food items and encourage pupils to wash their hands before and after meals to help prevent cross-contamination.
  • Manage classroom activities by taking food allergies into account when planning classroom activities, crafts, or celebrations. Provide alternative options or modifications to accommodate pupils with allergies.

School meals and catering

The provision of medical or special diets in schools is not legally defined. Advice from the Department for Education, however, states that schools should make reasonable adjustments for pupils with particular requirements, for example to reflect medical, dietary and cultural needs (School food in England, Advice for governing boards, March 2019). It is the responsibility of the school and/or caterer to decide if provision of a medical diet meal is feasible and reasonable efforts should be made to cater for all pupils needs. It is recommended that all schools develop a policy and have a clear procedure to make sure all requests for a medical diet are handled efficiently and appropriately.

Schools may reject an application for a request if a risk assessment indicates that food could not reasonably be produced which would be safe for a pupil.

More information on legal requirements, free school meals and school food standards can be found below in ‘Allergen Management Guidance for Catering in Education’, provided by The Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA), the lead body for catering in education.

Did you know...

  • 2-5%

    of children in the UK live with a food allergy.

    Model Policy for Allergy at School.

  • 20%

    of severe allergic reactions to food happen whilst a child is at school.

    Model Policy for Allergy at School.

  • 32%

    of children surveyed reported having been bullied due to food allergy at least once.

    Model Policy for Allergy at School.


‘No nut’ policies and allergen bans

Many parents and schools try to implement a ‘ban’ certain foods (such as nuts) from school premises. However, we do not recommend a ‘no nut policy’ in schools, as it is not possible to guarantee and enforce a nut free zone, as staff cannot monitor all lunches and snacks brought in from home. A free from environment creates a false sense of security and does not safely prepare children for environments where nuts may be present. School would need to consider other children with different food allergies and it is not practical to restrict them all. Therefore, school’s should have procedures in place to minimise risk of reaction via cross contamination.

Food Treats

Many teachers and childcare workers use food treats to reward children when they have achieved something or been especially well behaved. If you have a child with food allergies in your class/classroom, avoid using food treats where possible however if you do decide to use food treats, make sure that you offer treats that do not contain any of the allergens that children in your care are allergic to.

Food allergy information and advice

Food allergy information and advice

Allergy symptoms can affect all aspects of a child’s day to day life, including their health and wellbeing, education, and social activities. Further information on types of food allergies, signs and symptoms can be found here.

Food allergen information poster

Food allergen information poster

From the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and supported by the Department of Education, this poster is a free resource available to download for schools to display in common areas where food is either sold or available.

Communicate effectively

Maintain open and consistent communication with parents of children with living with allergies. Allergy UK encourages parents to establish open communication channels with their child’s school by informing teachers, administrators, and the school nurse about their allergies, triggers, symptoms, and emergency action plan. Equally, schools should be willing to regularly update and review allergy action plans and ensure that all relevant staff members are aware of any changes or updates.

Educate staff and pupils

Conduct regular training sessions for school staff, including teachers, cafeteria and lunchtime staff, and administrative personnel, on allergy awareness, recognising symptoms, and emergency protocols including the use of adrenaline auto-injectors. This training should be updated on a regular basis.

Educate pupils on the importance of allergy safety and fostering a supportive environment for their peers.

Encourage inclusivity and support

Foster a culture of inclusivity and understanding among pupils and staff. Encourage empathy, discourage bullying or teasing related to allergies, and promote an environment where pupils feel comfortable sharing their concerns.

By implementing these strategies and fostering a proactive and supportive environment, schools can significantly contribute to the safety and well-being of pupils with allergies. Collaboration between school staff, parents, and pupils is crucial in creating an inclusive and safe learning environment for everyone. Together, we can ensure that every child feels supported and can thrive at school, regardless of their allergies.

Promoting Inclusivity at school

Creating a safe and nurturing atmosphere that embraces diversity and individual needs is crucial for the well-being and mental health of every student, especially those managing allergies.

It’s essential to understand that singling out or isolating a child because of their allergies can have profound negative effects, both emotionally and socially. Here’s why it’s crucial to avoid such practices.

  • Promoting inclusivity: Every child deserves to feel included and valued in the school community. Singling out a child due to their allergies can lead to feelings of exclusion and may affect their sense of belonging.
  • Preventing stigmatisation: When a child is consistently singled out or treated differently because of their allergies, it can lead to stigmatisation. This can negatively impact their self-esteem and confidence.
  • Encouraging empathy and understanding: Instead of singling out a child, fostering an environment of empathy and understanding helps create a supportive community. Teaching classmates about allergies promotes compassion and inclusivity.
  • Reducing anxiety: Being isolated or highlighted for their allergies can increase a child’s anxiety and stress levels. While it is important to ensure all relevant staff are made aware of a child’s allergies, it’s important to create an environment where they feel comfortable and supported.
  • Encouraging Normalcy: Children with allergies want to feel like any other student, not defined solely by their condition. Emphasising inclusivity allows them to focus on learning and socialising like their peers.

Here are practical steps to ensure an inclusive environment:

  • Education and awareness: Educate pupils, teachers, and staff about allergies. Raise awareness about the importance of inclusivity and understanding different health conditions.
  • Create a supportive culture: Foster an inclusive culture where differences are celebrated and respected. Emphasise that allergies are a part of life for some children but don’t define who they are.
  •  Encourage teamwork and support: Encourage pupils to support each other. Teach them the importance of helping their peers manage their allergies by being mindful of shared spaces and food items.
  • Avoid overemphasising allergies: While safety measures are crucial, avoid excessive emphasis on a child’s allergies. Instead, focus on creating an environment where safety measures are seamlessly integrated into daily routines.
  • Empower all pupils: Teach pupils about the importance of inclusivity, empathy, and standing up against bullying or exclusionary behaviour.


Bullying is a problem that can affect all children and children with food allergies are no exception. Children may tease, taunt, or try to trick them into eating a food or threaten them with the food they are allergic to.

If you are told about or discover this sort of behaviour, your school is likely to have general strategies in place for dealing with bullying situations and these should be followed. However, you can also tailor your reaction to this specific situation as follows.

  • Talk to the child performing the bullying and explain that an allergic reaction, especially anaphylaxis is extremely serious and possibly life threatening.
  • Emphasise to the child that any behaviour or attempts to harm a child who has a food allergy with the allergen they are allergic to is treated as a serious and dangerous incident and managed accordingly.
  • Remind the child about the ways children with food allergies can he helped.
  • Ensure there is an up-to-date bullying policy.

By embracing inclusivity and avoiding singling out children with allergies, schools can create a more positive and supportive environment where every child feels accepted, valued, and empowered to thrive academically and socially. Let’s work together to build a school community that embraces and supports all its members.

Additional support

Our helpline offers support to both parents and schools, helping to provide peace of mind and guidance on navigating allergies in a school environment. For further advice and resources call us on 01322 619898, email or use our web chat service to talk directly to one of our advisors.

Navigating allergies in a school setting requires collaboration, understanding, and proactive measures from parents, schools, and the wider community. By working together and staying informed, we can create a safer and more inclusive environment for children with allergies to thrive academically and socially.

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