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Managing Asthma Policy

This policy can be downloaded as a Word document here.

Introduction and background 

Black Horse Hill Junior School recognises that asthma is a widespread, serious but controllable condition affecting many pupils at the school. The school positively welcomes all pupils with asthma. Our school encourages pupils with asthma to achieve their potential in all aspects of school life by having a clear policy that is understood by school staff, their employers (the local authority) and pupils. Supply teachers and new staff are also made aware of the policy. Staff who come into contact with pupils with asthma are provided with training as part of their first aid qualification.

Asthma medicines

Immediate access to reliever medicines is essential. Pupils with asthma are encouraged to carry their reliever inhaler as soon as the parent, doctor or nurse and class teacher agree they are mature enough.

Parents are asked to ensure that the school is provided with a labelled spare reliever inhaler. The class teacher will hold this separately in case the pupil’s own inhaler runs out, or is lost or forgotten. All inhalers must be labelled with the child’s name by the parent

School staff are not required to administer asthma medicines to pupils (except in an emergency), however many of the staff at this school are happy to do this. School staff who agree to administer medicines are insured by the local education authority when acting in agreement with this policy. All school staff will let pupils take their own medicines when they need to

Record keeping

At the beginning of each school year or when a child joins the school, parents are asked if their child has any medical conditions including asthma on their enrolment form

All parents of children with asthma are consequently sent an Asthma UK school asthma card to give to their child’s doctor or nurse to complete. Parents are asked to return them to the school. From this information the school keeps its asthma register, which is available to all school staff. School asthma cards are then sent to parents of children with asthma on an annual basis to update. Parents are also asked to update or exchange the card for a new one if their child’s medicines or how much they take, changes during the year

PE, games and activities

Taking part in sports, games and activities is an essential part of school life for all pupils. All teachers know which children in their class have asthma and all teachers at the school are aware of which pupils have asthma from the school’s asthma register.

Pupils with asthma are encouraged to participate fully in all PE lessons. Teachers will remind pupils whose asthma is triggered by exercise, to take their reliever inhaler before the lesson and to thoroughly warm up and down before and after the lesson. Pupil’s inhaler should be labelled and kept at the site of the lesson. If a pupil needs to use their inhaler during a lesson they will be encouraged to do so.

Out-of-hours sport

There has been a large emphasis in recent years on increasing the number of children and young people involved in exercise and sport in and outside of school. The health benefits of exercise are well documented and this is also true for children and young people with asthma. It is therefore important that the school involve pupils with asthma as much as possible in after school clubs.

The school environment

The school does all that it can to ensure the school environment is favourable to pupils with asthma. The school does not keep furry or feathery animals and has a definite no-smoking policy. As far as possible the school does not use chemicals in science and art lessons that are potential triggers for pupils with asthma. Pupils with asthma are encouraged to leave the room and go and sit in the school office if particular fumes trigger their asthma.

Making the school asthma-friendly

The school ensures that all pupils understand asthma. Asthma can be included in the National Curriculum Key Stages 2 in science, design and technology, geography, history and PE (for more details see below).

When a child or young person is falling behind in lessons

If a child or young person is missing a lot of time from school or is always tired because their asthma is disturbing their sleep at night, the class teacher will initially talk to the parents to work out how to prevent their child from falling behind. If appropriate, the teacher will then talk to the school nurse and special education needs coordinator about the pupil’s needs

The school recognises that it is possible for pupils with asthma to have special education needs due to their asthma

Asthma attacks 

All staff who come into contact with pupils with asthma know what to do in the event of an asthma attack (see advice below) This procedure is visibly displayed in every classroom.

Asthma attacks: action to take

The school follows the following procedure which is appropriately displayed in school:

  • Ensure that the reliever inhaler is taken immediately
  • Stay calm and reassure the child
  • Help the child to breathe by ensuring tight clothing is loosened
  • If the child is in extreme distress, call an ambulance.

Emergency procedure/Severe attacks 

A severe attack is defined as:

  • The inhaler has no effect after five to ten minutes;
  • The child is distressed or unable to talk;
  • The child is becoming exhausted;
  • The child shows signs of rapid deterioration;
  • There is any doubt at all about the child’s condition;

Call an ambulance!

Repeat the reliever inhaler every few minutes until help arrives. If a child is in severe distress, or experiences any loss of consciousness, call an ambulance immediately.

Roles And Responsibilities 

Asthma UK recommends the following roles in developing an asthma policy:

Employers/Governors 

Employers have a responsibility to:

  • Ensure the health and safety of their employees (all staff) and anyone else on the premises or taking part in school activities (this includes pupils). This responsibility extends to those staff and others leading activities taking place off site, such as visits, outings or field trips. Employers therefore have a responsibility to ensure that an appropriate asthma policy is in place
  • Make sure the asthma policy is effectively monitored and regularly updated
  • Report to parents, pupils, school staff and local health authorities about the successes and failures of the policy
  • Provide indemnity for teachers who volunteer to administer medicine to pupils with asthma who need help

Head teachers and principals 

Head teachers and principals have a responsibility to:

  • Plan an individually tailored school asthma policy with the help of school staff, school nurses, local education authority advice and the support of their employers
  • Plan the school’s asthma policy in line with devolved national guidance
  • Liaise between interested parties – school staff, school nurses, parents, governors, the school health service and pupils
  • Ensure the plan is put into action, with good communication of the policy to everyone
  • Ensure every aspect of the policy is maintained
  • Assess the training and development needs of staff and arrange for them to be met
  • Ensure all supply teachers and new staff know the school asthma policy
  • Regularly monitor the policy and how well it is working
  • Delegate a staff member to check the expiry date of spare reliever inhalers and maintain the school asthma register
  • Report back to their employers and their local education authority about the school asthma policy

School staff 

All school staff have a responsibility to:

  • Understand the school asthma policy
  • Know which pupils they come into contact with have asthma
  • Know what to do in an asthma attack
  • Allow pupils with asthma immediate access to their reliever inhaler
  • Tell parents if their child has had an asthma attack and if they used their reliever medicines
  • Ensure pupils have their asthma medicines with them when they go on a school trip or out of the classroom
  • Ensure pupils who have been unwell catch up on missed school work
  • Be aware that a pupil may be tired because of night-time symptoms
  • Keep an eye out for pupils with asthma experiencing bullying
  • Liaise with parents, the school nurse and Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCO)/Learning Support & Special Educational Needs Department (LSSEND) if a child is falling behind with their work because of their asthma

PE teachers 

PE teachers have a responsibility to:

  • Understand asthma and the impact it can have on pupils. Pupils with asthma should not be forced to take part in activity if they feel unwell. They should also not be excluded from activities that they wish to take part in if their asthma is well controlled
  • Ensure pupils have their reliever inhaler with them during activity or exercise and are allowed to take it when they need to
  • If a pupil has asthma symptoms while exercising, allow them to stop, take their reliever inhaler and as soon as they feel better allow them to return to activity. (Most pupils with asthma should wait at least five minutes)
  • Remind pupils with asthma whose symptoms are triggered by exercise, to use their reliever inhaler a few minutes before warming up
  • Ensure pupils with asthma always warm up and down thoroughly

School nurses 

School nurses have a responsibility to:

  • Help plan/update the school asthma policy
  • If the school nurse has an asthma qualification it should be their responsibility to provide regular training for school staff in managing asthma
  • Provide information about where schools can get training if they are not able to provide specialist training themselves
  • In some boarding schools, school nurses may hold further responsibilities in the management and monitoring of pupils’ asthma (for example, ensuring all pupils with asthma have a written personal asthma action plan)

Individual doctor/nurse of a child or young person with asthma 

  • Doctors and nurses have a responsibility to:
  • Complete the school asthma cards provided by parents
  • Ensure the child or young person knows how to use their asthma inhaler (and spacer) effectively
  • Provide the school with information and advice if a child or young person in their care has severe asthma symptoms (with the consent of the child or young person and their parents)

Parents/carers 

Parents/carers have a responsibility to:

  • Tell the school if their child has asthma
  • Ensure the school has a completed and up-to-date school asthma card for their child
  • Inform the school about the medicines their child requires during school hours
  • Inform the school of any medicines the child requires while taking part in visits, outings or field trips and other out of school hours activities such as school team sports
  • Tell the school about any changes to their child’s medicines. What they take and how much
  • Inform the school of any changes to their child’s asthma (for example, if their symptoms are getting worse or they are sleeping badly due to their asthma)
  • Provide the school with a spare reliever inhaler (and spacer where relevant) labelled with their child’s name
  • Ensure their child’s reliever inhaler that they take to school with them is labelled with his/her name
  • Ensure that their child’s reliever inhaler and the spare is within its expiry date
  • Keep their child at home if he/she is not well enough to attend school
  • Ensure their child catches up on school work missed if their child is unwell

Pupils 

Pupils have a responsibility to:

  • Treat other pupils with and without asthma equally
  • Let any pupil having an asthma attack take their blue inhaler and ensure a member of staff is called
  • Tell their parents, teacher or PE teacher when they are not feeling well
  • Treat asthma medicines with respect
  • Know how to gain access to their medicine in an emergency
  • Know how to take their own asthma medicines
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