Reception admission and allergies(17 Posts)
Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but here goes...
DS will be starting reception next September and when I was talking to another mum from his nursery, she mentioned how she isn't considering one particular local school as it's so big and she is not sure they will be able to manage her son's allergies and asthma. This got me a bit worried as this is something I hadn't thought of while selecting schools!
DS has multiple allergies and even carries an epipen for his nut allergy. Fortunately, we have never had to use the epipen and we really don't know how severe his nut allergy is as he's never had any nuts. We do have nuts in the house and he's never had any reaction just because he is around nuts.
Also, DS has been with childminders and nurseries and everyone seemed to manage his allergies without any issues. So I always assumed that primary schools will just be the same. When I go and see the schools on open days, I always ask if they can provide separate meals for his allergies, and if they have other children with similar allergies, but that's all!
Should I be concerned with the size of the school? Will a school that takes in 30 children in reception be better than one that takes in 90?
And finally, the admissions form talks about children who fall under 'Medical and Special Needs' being given preference during the admission process. Do allergies count as a medical need? Should I be looking into making a separate application under this category due to DS's allergies?
Thanks if you have managed to read all of that!
I think the SeNCo/ medical needs tends to be for kids who have care plans which name specific schools
Don't worry about the size of the school, the number of staff increases with the number of children! Allergies are taken very seriously, teachers have to deal with medical things in classrooms all the time. I don't think you can argue his allergies mean he needs to go to a specific school though.
ds has allergy to nuts
he was perfectly safe in large infant and junior school
the schools are all prepared for children who have serious allergies
you'r friend is being a bit precious imo
allergies are not counted in the admission process as far as I know
My daughter is in year 6 of a big, 4 form entry primary. They've always managed her multiple food allergies, asthma and eczema just fine.
To qualify for priority under the medical needs category you need to show that this school is the only one that can handle your son's needs. It is very unlikely that an allergy would qualify. Any school should be able to deal with a child with allergies. Indeed, you could argue that a large school will have more experience of dealing with allergies than a small school. So no, I don't think you should be concerned about the size of the school and I don't think you will get anywhere arguing that your son's allergies mean he should be placed in the medical needs category. I'm sure he will be fine.
My ds has multiple food allergies and carries epipen.
He goes to 3 form entry primary. It's perfectly fine. I think big school are more used to children with allergies and regularly do staff training for epipen as well.
Other plus to go to big school with possibly other children with allergies is that he doesn't feel totally excluded. There are a lot of cases he needs special treatment. Lunch time, Christmas parties, cooking sessions. It's better not to be only one sitting on the separate table.
When you visit schools mention it and ask what their policies are and how they deal with it. You may find a bonus of a bigger school is they may have more experience in dealing with it.
When you have a place contact the school go arrange a meeting to discuss her needs so they are aware from the off. If needed arrange for the school Nurse to come in and put a care plan in place.
Ds has severe asthma so as well as the care plan from the school nurse I made sure that his class teacher had a very clear easy to follow "these are the early signs ds is struggling" list - each teacher has chosen to stick this up behind a cupboard door in the classroom so any cover staff can easily see it when they are in too. The same list is kept in his inhaler bag.
Check how the school store the medication - make sure that it isn't a blanket "it must all stay in the office" policy and that rescue medication is easily accessible to whichever member of staff in nearby not having to run halfway across school in an emergency. We have spares in the office but the main one goes around school with him (a TA even walked into the play carrying his red bag!)
My dd carries an epipen for a nut allergy.
She is now 22.
I was always confident when she was in primary - it wasn't a nut free environment but she was kept safe, nut free table, children taught to wipe things down.
I never demanded a nut free environment because the world isn't nut free, and she had to manage it.
I found the school and other parents very understanding and thoughtful though.
I found the teenage years the most difficult - the balance between wanting to keep her safe and let her go out and live her life a fine balancing act.
We made sure her friends knew and could administer the epipen if needed.
Her worst reaction ever was when she snogged a boy who had eaten nuts about an hour before.
She's traveled a lot, inc Asia, and can say 'I'm allergic to nuts and all food containing nuts" in about 10 languages
At my ds' school, I was asked to come in and explain his allergy to his class in reception.
It was a very good thing. A lot of children shown interest, and felt sympathetic towards what he had to go through, like blood tests, prick test, limited diet.
He has done show and tell with training epipen in consequent years, explaining what he has to suffer in daily basis, what happens if he gets a reaction.
Now in yr4, most of his friends/class mates understand his allergy, and most treat him as normal, but with a bit of protective cautiousness.
A larger school is more likely to have adults and children who know about allergies. (The children obviously won't be in charge of food and administering epipens but they will help normalise the allergy and be an extra layer of protection if they know that butter is dairy or whatever)
Size of school doesn't matter. In my local tiny village school (3classes) all staff know about allergies. In my single firm entry school every member of staff has received training on allergy awareness and using epipen, jext and emerade
Talk to the school. Their reaction will tell you all you need to know as to whether there is anything for you to be concerned about. Most primary schools are really good at dealing with the multitude of different issues and allergies.
I think the other mum is being over-cautious. You and your son seem to be taking a sensible route on dealing with the nut allergy because at the end of the day your son needs to control the allergy not you.
Thanks for your responses! Even as I was writing my original post, I knew DS would never qualify for any sort of preference for admissions as there are so many children with allergies these days! However, I was doubting myself since having spoken to this particular mum.
We love the large school that we are considering for DS and I have complete faith in their ability to manage DS's allergies. So I shall stop worrying now
Other things you need to look out in school environment is acquisition of environmental allergies.
My ds had severe reaction to very old book from school.(maybe dust, or old ink.)
Also acquired cat allergy from friends/teachers.
He is constantly covered in rash during nativity time.(Sitting in a crammed condition for long time.)
But all these aren't life threatening, and could happen in any school.
blimey every school will have a child with allergies I would have thought. We are three form and hane loads of DC with all sorts of medical needs
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