This policy has been written with advice from the Scottish Education Department, Falkirk Council Education Services, Asthma UK, local healthcare professionals and the school health service (NHS Forth Valley), parents, teachers and pupils.
This school recognises that asthma is a widespread, serious but controllable condition affecting many pupils at the school. This school positively welcomes all pupils with asthma. We encourage pupils with asthma to achieve their potential in all aspects of school life by having a clear policy that is understood by school, staff and pupils. Supply teachers and new staff are also made aware of the policy. All staff who come into contact with pupils with Asthma are provided with training on asthma from a qualified nurse organised through the school nurse team. Training is updated annually.
Immediate access to reliever medicines is essential. Pupils with asthma are encouraged to carry their reliever inhaler as soon as their parent, doctor or asthma nurse agree they are mature enough. The reliever inhalers of younger children are kept in the classroom in a designated place where they are easily accessible.
Parents / carers are asked to ensure that the school is provided with a labelled spare reliever inhaler. The class teacher or nursery team 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 / carer.
School staff are not required to administer asthma medicines to pupils (except in an emergency), however many of the staff at the school are happy to do this. School staff who agree to administer medicines are covered/insured by Falkirk Council’s Service Circulars when acting in agreement with this policy. All school staff will allow pupils to take their own asthma medicines when they need to.
Where children develop an asthma condition during the school session parents are encouraged via newsletter and the school website to inform us promptly to allow us to support their child’s health and wellbeing.
At the beginning of each school year or when a child joins the school, parents / carers are asked if their child has any medical conditions including asthma on their enrolment form.
All parents / carers of children with asthma are consequently sent an Asthma UK School Asthma Card to give their child’s doctor or asthma nurse to complete. Parents / carers are asked to return them to 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 / carers of children with asthma on an annual basis to update. Parents / carers 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.
Exercise and Activity – PE and Games
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 our PE teacher is aware of which pupils have asthma from the school’s asthma register.
Pupils with asthma are encouraged to participate fully in all PE lessons. The class teacher or PE Specialist 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. It is agreed with the PE Specialist / Class Teacher that each pupil’s inhaler will be labelled and kept in a box at the site of the lesson. If a pupil needs to use their inhaler during the lesson they will be encouraged to do so.
Class teachers follow the same principles as described above for games and activities involving physical activity.
Out – of – hours sport
There has been a huge emphasis in recent years on increasing the number of children and young people involved in exercise and sport outside of school. The health benefits of exercise are well documented and this is also true of 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.
Class teachers, PE Specialists and out-of-hours school sport coaches are aware of the potential triggers for pupils with asthma when exercising, tips to minimise these triggers and what to do in the event of an asthma attack. All school staff have asthma training.
This information is also provided in the Asthma UK Out There and Active poster, which is displayed in several relevant locations around the school. The poster helps to encourage pupils with asthma to be active and get more involved in PE and exercise and has tips to help them do this.
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 adheres to Falkirk Councils 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. In the event that there was a trigger to their asthma pupils are encouraged to leave the classroom and go and sit at the school office under adult supervision.
Making the school asthma friendly.
The school ensures that all pupils gain understanding of asthma. Asthma can be included within the Health and Wellbeing component of the Curriculum for Excellence where appropriate experiences and outcomes are explored at different stages from nursery to primary 7.
When a pupil is falling behind in lessons.
If a pupil in missing a lot of time at school or is always tired because their asthma is disturbing their sleep at night, the class teacher or member of school leadership team will initially talk to parents to work out how to prevent their child from falling behind. If appropriate, the teacher or SMT will with the parents’ permission speak to the school nurse and school’s Additional Needs Co-ordinator about the child’s needs.
The school recognises that it is possible for pupils with asthma to have additional educational needs due to their asthma.
All staff who come into contact with pupils with asthma know what to do in the event of an asthma attack.
In the event of an asthma attack the school follows the procedure outlined by Asthma UK in its School Asthma Pack and by Falkirk Council Service Circulars and the advice from NHS Forth Valley. This procedure is visibly displayed in the staffroom and every classroom (see appendices 1 and 2).
Using a school Asthma Card
The school uses Asthma UK ‘School Asthma Cards’ which are sent with an accompanying letter to parents / carers to allows them to ask their child’s doctor or asthma nurse to fill it in. Appendix 3 provides a sample letter for parents.