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Allergy-safe food lessons checklist created by Benedict Blythe Foundation, founded by Stamford parents, and The Food Teachers Centre

An allergy-safe food lessons checklist has been created by the parents of a five-year-old boy who died after an allergic reaction at school.

Benedict Blythe, a pupil at Barnack Primary School who lived in Stamford, died suddenly on December 1, 2021 after collapsing at school.

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

Benedict Blythe
Benedict Blythe

His parents Helen and Pete created the Benedict Blythe Foundation, founded in her son’s memory, and have been continuously campaigning for changes to the law to keep children safe.

They have today (Friday, June 21) launched what they claim to be the UK’s first allergy-safe food lessons checklist.

Helen said: “The stories we heard from food teachers would strike fear into any parent of a child with allergies wanting to take up cookery at school.

Helen Blythe. Photo: Lucy Glen
Helen Blythe. Photo: Lucy Glen

“Since Benedict died, we have heard too many examples of crowded classrooms with bubbling saucepans four to a hob, inadequate time and resource to plan allergy-safe meals, or to clean down properly between lessons, and children sadly being excluded entirely from a subject that’s particularly beneficial for those with a food allergy.”

Described as ‘life-saving protection for pupils with allergies’, the Allergy Safe Food Lessons Checklist for Schools gives headteachers, governors and teachers a clear understanding of what needs to be done to make food lessons safe for everyone.

The checklist is in collaboration with The Food Teachers Centre, a UK based self-help group for more than 9,000 food teachers and support staff that has been running for over two decades.

The Blythe family
The Blythe family

Helen said: “This checklist gives headteachers and governors clarity about what good looks like when it comes to teaching food lessons in an allergy safe way.

“It also gives parents and food teachers a tool to use to request that the school does its best to adopt good practice.

“We hope this will enable more children to access the food curriculum, and to do so safely.”

Through the Benedict Blythe Foundation, freedom of information requests on the subject of allergies were made to more than 20,000 schools in England. Responses from about 2,000 schools were received and analysed.

It was found one in three schools do not have recommended allergy safeguards in place.

Would you like to see more schools adopt this? Let us know in the comments.

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