Food Allergies and Dietary Requirements
We often have a number of children on roll in our school with severe food allergies. In these cases, anaphylaxis (an allergic reaction) can occur as a result of digestion inhalation or sometimes, contact with the skin. For this reason, we aim to be a nut-free school, as promoted by Anaphylaxis UK. Due to the severity of such allergies, if a child is found with a nut-based product, it will be removed, and parents contacted immediately. I would like to thank all of you for your on-going care in this matter.
I would like to reassure parents that we follow guidance from the DfE in these matters. We collect dietary information about all our children, and we fulfil our duty of care by ensuring that children are served appropriate food for their lunch. I know parents choose their child's order (or send it in as a packed lunch) and we ensure that the correct food is served and that, when food is substituted, that this food is appropriate and safe.
In 2021, Natasha's Law became statute. Natasha's Law applies to food outlets or to sites where food events are organised and regular. It applies to all wrapped food, and/or food that is not pre-ordered.
Whilst school is not a food outlet, in the strict sense, we do have food events which are regular and organised. If cooking is part of the curriculum or when OSCAR organise one of their events and food is offered (either free or paid for) then Natasha's Law applies.
This means, for all wrapped food (and even a napkin counts as wrapping) the school will provide a list of ingredients, with the item. For curriculum events, staff will always check for any allergies in their class before planning such an event, and we will share the ingredients with parents beforehand, as that makes a lot of sense. For OSCAR events, where food is not pre-ordered, OSCAR have been instructed to provide the ingredients too. This would most likely be where OSCAR are selling food items, at one of the fairs.
Other Foodstuffs in School
One of the time-honoured traditions in a primary school is for children to bring in and share birthday treats. As some classes may have several children with different allergies, it is impractical for Class Teachers to oversee this themselves. It just may take 15-20 minutes to check all cases within a class. Instead, I've asked Class Teachers to allow children to distribute any birthday treats outside the door. With all children, parents are very welcome to help. As a parent collecting your child, you will then see this distribution and can approach and check the item if you need to, though I imagine that all parents will be very aware of their own child's options. For those in Y5 and Y6 who walk home alone, Class Teachers will always remind those children to take treats home and check with parents first.
We have also noticed that at Christmas, some children add treats to cards, posted in school to friends. We always distribute such cards at the end of the day and ask children to open them after school, so you can see what's included.