HELP School not taking Asthma seriously!

Hi after picking my 9 yr old Son up from after school club today he informed he he had a severe asthma attack in the morning at school!!, staggered into the cupboard to get his inhaler then felt so bad dragged the nebuliser out then got help to set it up and use it. It has written in BIG letters to call an ambulance once he's been on neb as his asthma is brittle at the moment.The school had lost his inhalers this term (been taking stuff in from home) and before school this morning I insisted on looking in the cupboard for his treatment and neb. I found his and all other asthmatic kids inhalers in a box with the dustpan and brush full of dust on top of it mmm!

Thank God I found it this morning or it would be a different story tonight. I was not given a message that he'd been ill. I phoned someone I know who works in the class and she told me he had indeed had a very bad attack and it freaked them all out. He walked to the after school club for half an hour in the rain feeling really ill. I would have been there like a shot, he said he was upset and wanted me.

What the hell do I do now? I don't think they can be trusted to look after him, the teacher wanted my son to go away with the school for 3 days but my husband and I refused to let them take him and the teacher thinks I'm just making a fuss. I can tell he thinks ""it's only asthma!!!""

Sorry for the rant but I'm so upset and don't know what to do. My son has collapsed 3 times in the last few months because of asthma but is so well normally with very high peakflows so we are under a specialist but they are 80 miles away and can't always contact who I need and he's always going through a well patch when we see him, feel very alone

Thanks for listening

Kate x

13 Replies

  • Hi Kate,

    You poor soul! What a dreadful experience for all of you.

    Can I ask - have you had a meeting with your school nurse and have they put a formal care plan in place for him in school?

    Anyone with a medical condition at school should have a care plan. I used to be a school nurse btw :o)

    It sounds like the school need updating on the way to manage your sons asthma in school, they do have a duty of care and if they haven't followed your asthma management instructions then it sounds like there's been a major communication breakdown!

    Do you have a paediatric respiratory nurse in your area? We have one and she is fantastic about going out to the schools and offering training to them, she is also very specific about management plans.

    There is very good website you might want to look at with excellent resources for you, the school and the school nurse at medicalconditionsatschool.o... by school nurse I don't mean the first aiders (excellent though they are don't get me wrong anyone), I mean the school nursing team who take over from health visitor when your child turns 5.

    Another document you might like to look at can be found on the DoH website, I'll past the link below but it's a big one

    if it doesn't work go onto the DoH site and search for ""Supporting pupils with medical needs a good practice guide""

    Hope this helps a bit,

    feel free to PM me if I can be of any more help,


  • Hi many thanks for the reply, I will look at the websites. We have a letter in Matty's inhaler bag telling the school he has brittle asthma and what to do if he needs treatment. We've also signed it stating we are happy for anyone to give him treatment when needed. I tell the teacher daily how Matty is and if we are having a good day or bad one.We had a wonderful teacher in yr 1 who wrote down how much ventolin he had (as I've requested but the book has conveniently gone missing!) and what kind of day he had. It was the healthiest he has ever been.

    The school nurse goes to the school every three weeks and if you try to get hold of her it usually takes a week or more to get an answer, when she phones I'm told if your not happy with how they are dealing with it, keep him off school.This has happened before. I keep Matty off when he's really bad and we got an unsatisfactory attendance on his report last year with mentioning his medical condition.

    I have printed off information on Brittle asthma type 2 from the web and high lighted the bits I want them to notice.I'm going to have to scare them into dealing with this. I've put it in an envelope and will take it in Monday. I've told the teacher I don't want my Son seeing this as a frightened asthmatic is harder to treat (they'll probably put it in his drawer!!!)

    My Mum says I should write to the Schools Governing Body and the head saying that they have failed their duty of care and to keep my Son off school until I feel they have dealt with the situation seriously.

    We used to have a respiratory nurse at our hospital who was amazing and without her help Matty wouldn't be here. She went to the school when he was in reception and did a demonstration and talk on how to use inhalers and the nebuliser. I used to call when we were struggling and would be put on open ward to take the pressure off. Unfotunately she is working elsewhere and not with children.

    We have a respiratory nurse 80 miles away with specialist who is really Good and when I tell the consultant what has happened he may well sort out some training at the school.

    Thanks so much for the info, will look into it. I will go to the school Monday and get some answers if not Matty will be coming home with me.Part of me wants to go to the press with this but my Son would hate it so I shall keep quiet.

    Kate x

  • Hi Rattles,

    I have some documents which you might find useful as ""ammunition"". Your son is entitled to appropriate care and the school are not fulfilling their obligations from what you post.

    I can't PM you as you haven't ticked to allow it. If you could change it and PM me perhaps we could exchange email addresses (don't want to put it on the forum for obvious reasons!) and I could send you this info.


  • hi Rattles,

    Sorry to here your not having the support you need,

    Make an appointment with the head and the class teacher and fill in the care plan for your child and get them to sign it.Also maybe a book they can fill in each day on any asthma treatment.

    Hope you soon get better contact from your school with your child's Asthma

    Love Glynis xxx

  • Everyone's right in their replies - about what you should do to try and get your school to address their duty of care.

    But why should you have to go to such great lengths? It's appalling. Anyone with even half a brain knows that you need to breathe to be alive. It ain't rocket science. Are they out of their minds? They should want to know what to do for every child under their care - emphasis on the care there. Why go to be a teacher if you do not actually care about children? I don't understand it either Kate. They should be asking you for all this extra information. Even if it were just to cover themselves legally. And to not call you. I'm flabbergasted. I really am. I'd have gone nuts. I must say that it sounds as though you've managed to keep your cool really well!! You must be very proud of yourself - not sure that I could have. But then, what choice do you have? He's got to go to school. So you're forced to keep cool and not get personal with his teacher or else it could be detrimental to your son. We've been in a similar situation with my Dad who has dementia. He's been treated appallingly in hospital but Mum won't complain because she's worried that they'll neglect Dad even more the next time he's admitted. It's a horrible, horrible situation that makes you (collective you) feel extremely vulnerable.

    I tend to agree with Freejay and Glynis - that you'll probably get better results speaking directly with the head and your son's teacher in person, face-to-face. With the biggest false smile on your face that you can muster.

    And to think of all those other children too who are not getting the right care at school. Maybe you should try and gather together a group of concerned parents of children with asthma at your son's school? They might have all had a bad experience too and you never know maybe someone's already started a formal complaint. Must say, I think your Mum's dead right on this.

    I really, really hope that you get this sorted Kate. Your nerves must be jangled. And you are not ranting nor over-reacting. You're being the best Mum ever!


  • I understand am/have veen in same boat

    I have had similar problems. My son's last school refused to let him take his inhalers, delaying treatment, therefore leading to hospital admissions! After this happened 3 times and with not getting anywhere with the school, I removed my son from the school and put him in another school where he has access to inhalers and the staff are good.

  • Thanks for all the replies, they have really helped. I thought I'd let you know whats happened so far. I rewrote Matty's care plan, 1 sheet to be kept on wall with all info on care and what to do, the other to be kept in office well away from Matty's eyes. with numbers of all his consultants and docs and what can happen if treatment is not given (mentions all the gory details about brittle asthmatics)I'm having to scare them into helping. I went into school early to talk to the teacher before class but he said he was too busy to talk to me so I asked to speak to the head and I wasn't leaving until I had, I was seething but should get an oscar for my performance. I had an asthma attack while waiting which made me more on edge.The head saw me immediately she is new to the school and was appalled at what had happened, she apologized and said she was asthmatic herself. From now on ALL Asthmatics are to have their spare treatment or spacers in clear boxes with child's name and information written on the lid and side and teachers told of needs. We shall see!!

    I had a meeting with Matty's teacher who is also the deputy head after school. He asked what treatment Matty needs so I told him to follow care plan and call 999 after nebulising, he didn't like that bit and said ""as you know by law I'm not allowed to give children meds"" to which I replied in the cupboard is a letter signed by both parents saying you can and you must.He also said he was ok after the neb last time can't we leave calling the ambulance and just see how he is? to which I replied no but thinking because I can't trust you. I've also put a notepad to have all his meds taken in day written on. Today I was told he has had 4 asthma attacks, two just twinges and two more severe. It's a start.

    I've spoken to consultant locally who is writing a letter to the school explaining how seriously they should be taking this but I'm still waiting for resp specialist to get back to me.

    It's going to be a long slog but I'm now ready to battle thanks to you guys, I thought I was over reacting a first but everyone seems horrified at what has happened.

    Many thanks all

    Kate xx

  • Hi Shelly here it is

    Kate x

  • Can I just add to this thread? I know this isn't going to be everybodies cup of tea but someone said ""He has to go to school"" and I just want to point out that he doesn't. You have the legal right to remove him from school and educate him at home yourself. Happy to be pm'd by anyone with queries on this one but please don't think that he HAS to go to school. You do have another option. It doesn't suit every family but it is an option and I'm just flagging it as such.

    Jacqui Mac

  • That was me saying he has to go to school! sorry, i didn't mean it like that (have thought of home schooling myself at times). but, it's still not right that someone feels that their child can't go to school, just because the schools isn't listening to parents and children with asthma. if all schools took that attitude where would we be?

  • Your right Wheels and the school seriously needs to pull its finger out given the number of asthmatic pupils they must have. I was only flagging the option because some people have never heard of HE or think that it is illegal. Threatening to pull your child out to HE can bring about some dramatic changes in a schools attitude too;~) Might be worth a try Kate. Scares the socks off some of them;~)

  • I know this thread hasn't been replied to for a while but thought I would post anyway

    Huge hugs and how frustrating.

    My son has had asthma since he was born and at present he is on salbutamol, becotide and seretide daily and someweeks he also has to have a nebuliser but we have to call the ambulance to get that while we continue his treatment. Do you know if the school have a wall in the staff room with details of children with any medical issues like asthma? If they don't then they really need to do this and they need educating on what asthma is and how to care for the children's treatments.

    My son's school have all the children's treatments in seperate zip wallets with there name, treatment and full list of mediction including home meds in the wallet so that if they ever need to call an ambulance they have all the details there. Me and his father also have regular meetings with our son' class teachers to discuss his asthma and do treatment reviews.

    I also would recommended that you organise a meeting with the class teacher, teaching assistances school nurse and head-teacher and have it out with them. Make it clear that you ar enot happy with the way they are storing asthma treatment and that they need to get things sorted before they really do your son some real hrm. It might just make them pay attention to how made there asthma practice is. Huge hugs and good luck

  • Hi Thanks for your replies, I bumped this up to help someone else going through the same problems. Thanks I didn't realise I could pull him out of school, Jacqui that's great (wondered why I've never had any trouble keeping him for months at a time, was waiting for education authority or police on my doorstep!!)When he becomes ill again I shall feel more confident about my actions.

    I printed 2 letters out, one for the door in classroom on how to treat my Son. One with info on Brittle asthma type 2 for staff room (says about fatal consequences of ignoring an attack) also a letter from consultant explaining about condition and fatal consequences. I think it has scared the teachers silly and my Son is regularly asked how he is feeling. His peak flow is dropping, (cold and Birthday excitement!!)Info is also kept with meds in a plastic container. I bet I'll be writing again in September, no one ever passes info on. My friends daughter had cancer and school failed to tell the new teacher!

    Many thanks

    Take care kate xxx

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