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Common Sense Guidance for Parents re Allergens

Allergens in School – Clear, Common Sense Guidance for Parents


You will be aware of the drive to support children with serious allergic reactions in school and the guidance I have put in place for parents, staff and pupils. Recent high public events have led to increased anxiety about the risks posed to the 50% of people in the UK reported to have a food allergen. This letter should make expectations clear.

My task is to protect the children as much as reasonably possible, whilst balancing the needs of all. This is not easy and we cannot please all.


This term, working alongside allergen charity guidance and the NHS, I have created a clear code of practice for the school. This is referred to as the Allergen Practices and Statement of Intent. This document is now available on the school website under ‘Key Information > Policies’. Parents are advised to read this carefully.


Key principles of the document.

  • The school does, and will continue, to act reasonably (see expectations) to meet the needs of children with allergies and follow the practice and guidance issued by professionals and associated groups.
  • The school cannot guarantee that pupils will not be exposed to allergens, although steps are in place to reduce risks. Owing to the high number of possible allergens, it is not reasonable to assume that all can be removed in their entirety and this will not be practical in some cases.
  • Key professionals and allergen charities agree that the key to meeting needs is education;focussing on the impact of allergens on individuals, avoidance of cross contamination where reasonable and practicable, and embedding a culture of awareness.
  • The school will confiscate items that are known to behigh risk(see expectations)to pupils where this is practical. However, it is not possible to search or monitor lunchboxes and snacks at all times.


Working within reasonable expectation (Guidance for adults)

Promote with your child the policy of not sharing food with other children and discuss the reasons why this is important.


Avoid packing or using items that state ‘contains nuts’. High-risk products include (but not exclusively):

  • Snickers bars
  • Nutella spread / peanut butter spread
  • Cereal Bars (Please read labels carefully)


Such items will be confiscated by staff if found.


Items WILL NO LONGER extend to ‘may contain’ or ‘may contain trace’as these are too widespread and places unreasonable expectations on staff and parents, as well impacting on pupil dietary needs. Guidance from allergen charities highlight that attempting to ban all products that contain allergensis neither practical or possible, and doing so may increase risk to pupils by embedding a false sense of security. The cross contamination risk reduction strategies the school adopts are contained within the Allergen Practices and Statement of Intent, referred to earlier.


Parents are to be aware that snacks sold at school will not knowingly ‘contain nuts’, but may be labelled as ‘may contain’ or ‘contain nut trace’. Pupils known to have nut allergies should be given guidance by the parent. We will not knowingly sell items with a direct risk orcross contamination to pupils where their individual medical plan states nut allergy.


Finally: The school does all it can to support healthy eating. Therefore, whilst not directly linked to allergens, parents are requested to avoid sending items such as crisps, chocolate bars and sweets. Your continued support is appreciated, as is the feedback received requesting clarity.