8 May 2024
Vara calls for safer schools for children with allergies

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Shailesh Vara called for better safeguards and support in schools for children with allergies and secured a meeting with the Health Secretary to discuss this further.

Shailesh Vara (North West Cambridgeshire) (Con)

Q14. Five-year-old Benedict Blythe was a lovely little boy who attended a primary school in my constituency. Sadly, he died of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction. The coroner’s inquest has not yet reported, but on average, two children in every class have a food allergy, and more allergic reactions take place in school than in other setting outside the home. Severe allergic reactions are on the rise and can be fatal, yet there is no explicit legal requirement for schools to have allergy medication and an allergy policy, or for other recommended safeguards to be made available; there is only guidance. Will the Prime Minister meet me and Benedict’s parents, Helen and Pete, so that we can discuss a way forward to ensure that children who suffer from allergies can be safer in school, including by ensuring that schools have an allergy policy, adrenalin pens, and staff who know how to use them? (902740)

The Prime Minister (Rishi Sunak)

First, may I extend my sympathy to Benedict’s family? It is always tragic to hear about the loss of a child. We fully understand the seriousness of severe allergies, and believe that children with medical conditions should be properly supported to enjoy a full education and be safe at school. There is a legal duty on the governing body of schools to make arrangements for supporting pupils, including setting out what needs to be done, symptoms and treatment, but I will ensure that my right hon. Friend gets a meeting with the Health Secretary to discuss how we could further support pupils with serious allergies.