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New Schools Allergy Code part of Stamford parents’ campaign to change allergy laws for schools following death of son Benedict Blythe, a former Barnack Primary School pupil

The parents of a five-year-old boy who died after an allergic reaction are a step forward in their campaign to keep children safe at school.

A new code of practice aimed at keeping pupils with allergies safer at school comes into place on Thursday (November 23).

It follows a campaign by Helen and Pete Blythe, after their son Benedict Blythe, a pupil at Barnack Primary School who lived in Stamford, died suddenly on December 1, 2021 after collapsing at school.

Benedict Blythe and his sister Etta
Benedict Blythe and his sister Etta

A post-mortem examination found the cause of death to be an anaphylactic allergic reaction.

Helen said: “Too many children with allergies face unacceptable levels of risk at school, somewhere they should feel safe and protected.

“Since Benedict died, I have spoken to countless parents and carers whose children have suffered allergic reactions or near-misses at school.

Benedict Blythe and his sister Etta
Benedict Blythe and his sister Etta

“I hope this new code will ensure schools interrogate their own processes, improve their understanding of allergies and know how to respond in an emergency.”

Currently schools do have overarching allergy policies but Helen believes they are not specific enough and can be interpreted differently.

The new Schools Allergy Code is a collaboration between the Benedict Blythe Foundation, Independent Schools' Bursars Association and The Allergy Team, which supports families living with food allergy and provides training to thousands of teachers.

It is a code of practice covering awareness, emergency response protocol, training and policies.

Benedict Blythe
Benedict Blythe

Schools wanting to show their commitment to good allergy management can apply to join a register held by The Allergy Team, and they will be assessed and awarded a trust mark if they meet the criteria.

Sarah Knight, founder of The Allergy Team, said: “Knowing that a school meets the criteria set out in the Schools Allergy Code will give parents huge confidence when choosing a school for a child with allergies.

“To join the register and display the trust mark, schools will be assessed, this ensures they don’t just pay lip-service to the Code but put it into practice, with buy-in from the whole school community.”

Helen and Pete Blythe
Helen and Pete Blythe

Earlier this year Helen set up a petition asking the government to introduce new requirements to protect pupils with allergies in school, which received 13,027 signatures.

The Government responded saying ‘that existing guidance is appropriate’ and ‘schools/governing bodies are best placed to make decisions about individual pupils’.

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