Alicia Kearns MP for Rutland represents Stamford family at a Westminster Hall debate
An MP is leading a push to change laws to protect school children with allergies.
Alicia Kearns, Tory MP for Rutland, raised the issue at a Westminster Hall debate on Thursday (November 30).
She spoke on behalf of Helen and Pete Blythe from Stamford following the death of their son Benedict on December 1, 2021 after he collapsed at Barnack Primary School.
A post-mortem examination found the cause of death to be an anaphylactic allergic reaction.
Mrs Kearns, who hopes to represent Stamford after the next general election, said: “Allergic reactions and deaths are avoidable with the right guidance and policy.
“I am urging the Government to take these few simple steps to protect pupils with allergies in the future, and in doing so honour Benedict Blythe’s legacy.”
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’.
Helen said: “Following our devastating experience, and the loss of our beloved son, my husband and I received messages from families and teachers, telling their stories of allergies at school.
“Some were full of joy, and others full of pain and fear.
“It cannot be left to chance whether children with allergies get to attend a safe, inclusive school, which is why we founded Benedict Blythe Foundation and started the campaign.”
Mrs Kearns is joining the campaign and calling for the Government to make changes. These include replacing voluntary advice for schools with mandatory regulations, ensuring conversations about allergies are standard in school education, requiring individual risk assessments for pupils with allergies and for schools to keep a spare adrenaline auto-injector pen for emergency cases.
She said: “My heart goes out to Helen and Pete Blythe, whose incredible work through the Benedict Blythe Foundation is keeping his memory alive, and doing everything they can to protect all children with allergies.”
Recently alongside the Independent Schools Bursars Association, and The Allergy Team, the Benedict Blythe Foundation created the Schools Allergy Code, a code of practice outlining steps for schools to improve their allergy safety.
“My son’s death is the darkness in our lives, but our love for him lights the way for others,” said Helen.
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