Asthma UK community forum
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For the sake of our children contact OFSTED

Ask your school what there policy is on inhalers! and complain to OFSTED.

It was reported in a national paper that A boy died last week at school due to asthma, the teacher is being blamed for neglect. yes the teacher had a duty but it is the scholl and more importantly OFSTED who are negligent. My son could have died a few times because of a school refusing his inhalers and him ending up in hospital on oxygen treatment. Resulting in a change of schools. As a governor I've been informed that now OFSTED are coming down strong demanding medications being locked away, where does this stand on inhalers?? Schools don't know what to do. We need to protect our children!

complain by going to this link

8 Replies

OMG don't those peole at OFSTED know that a person woith asthma cannot have there inhalers locked away as they need them up-on the first sign of an attack happening for them to be the most benefictal to the children. I will be asking questions tomorrow at my son's school and if this stupid riule happens the my son will not be going ot school anymore I will home-tutor him myself which we have the rights to do. As long as our children are getting the education they need then it doesn't matter if they are in a school or at home


The secondary school my son attends allows him to carry his inhalers and other medication around with him. But at his primary school all medication was locked away. Having said that, the school let him keep his inhaler on him in Yr 6 as his asthma was bad and they knew he was sensible. Don't know if that would be permitted now - probably not.

Surely it can't be too difficult for school authorities to put together a workable system for children to access their medication swiftly!! Whatever happened to Education's mantra 'Every Child Matters'....


I can't believe OFSTED would go back to the idea that inhalers should be locked away?

Do you have a link to this proposal?

AUK campaigned many years ago for children to have access to their inhalers. I think this was taken up in many schools. Many schools do use the information from AUK for their asthma policies.

I would ask AUK their view on the situation as well as expressing your concerns to OFSTED.

Perhaps OFSTED should ensure that medical guidelines issued by charities such as AUK, Diabetes UK , Epilepsy charities etc should be implemented and perhaps any failings in these areas should be made public in the report.



when OFSTED are telling schools this they do not say with the exception of...... Therefore the schools are left wondering where these lifesaving medications come into this. OFSTED and DCFS should issue strict guidelines to all schools stating which medications should be locked away and how lifesaving drugs should be handled, I think there should also be a national policy. At the moment some schools with common sense realise the difference and importance of inhalers and are more in tune with the ins and outs of asthma, but many schools are clueless and just see medication as being 'all medication.


We are currently living abroad so are outside of the UK school system. And I can not believe what I am reading. This is Health and Safety gone mad...or rather it seems that such is the fear of being sued that ridiculous policies such as these are drawn up. What about our children’s lives?

As a comparison where we live there is very little concern for Health and Safety (pros and cons of that of course) and the culture of suing is pretty much non-existent. A common sense approach is adopted at school with input on a case by case basis for children with medical issues from their parents and doctors.

The school our son attends does have 2 full-time nurses on site. They have a nebuliser just for him in their office plus copies of his asthma action plan and a full set of medicines. None of these are locked up. The class teacher also has the asthma action plan plus a full set of medicines in the classroom. Plus our son can keep whatever medicines we feel appropriate in his school bag. He is 10 now but has been carrying them for at least a couple of years.

His photo is also posted in the staff room warning other teachers about his asthma and allergies. Although this is a large primary school (500 children) all the staff know who he is!!!

The presence of the full-time nurses at school is great as it allows our son to have nebuliser treatments at lunchtime during his chronic periods and so therefore attend school.

He also attends the after school day care centre 3 times a week - where once again there is a full-time nurse with a nebuliser and full set of medicines and another set is kept in his classroom there.

We have also set up a cascade system at the centre whereby when his after school day care teacher is absent he does not stay in the group with a temporary staff member but moves on to another group and teacher. Following a preordained cascade list. I have to say that admittedly it was us who set the cascade plan up but it has now been adopted for other children with chronic illnesses too.

I also offered to run a training session for all the teachers on what to do with our son with regards to allergies and asthma. The teachers seemed to appreciate it as they all felt that they were on the same page afterwards.

It would be interesting to hear about other ways in which parents ensure their children are safe in school.

If we did not have all of these safety measures in place I too think that we may have home-schooled our son.

Hopefully the OFSTED recommendations can be adjusted to cover the need for life-saving drugs to be kept in the classroom or with the child.

May common sense prevail before we see another tragic death.


Just a quick factual correction. This poor lad died in 2007 - the reason it's in the news now is because the inquest has just recently concluded. Hopefully in the meantime progress has been made - but, judging by some of the posts we get on the message boards, lots of parents still struggle with schools and asthma.


I went onto OFSTED's website and read the things about medication and it being locked away and it can be interpreted in many ways. But I read it as if I was planning on re-starting my child-milding as it does state all medication has to be locked away.

I spoke to the head at my children's school and she has said that the only medication she feels needs ot be locked away are things like anti-bios, oral steriods, reflux meds, anti-seizure meds, Insoline and things like that. Epi=pens, inhalers and the hyper/hypo pens should not be locked away as they are needed at click of a finger to save a child's life. She has resured me that when OFSTED come in to school she will telling them that thsi is not happening in her school as she knows herself that when she is exposed to her allengen then she requires her epi-pen ASAP. She has a basket in every class for inahlers that is goes in a cupbaord that is keeped closed but not locked and the handle is out of the children's react. If a child or TA sees a child that is asthmatci at that cupboard then either the class teacher or head-TA of the class has to go in that cupboard. But general their is either the class teacher or head TA are sat right infront of the cupboard so that they can give the child and supervise them taking the inhalers as soon as they require it. The Epi-pen and Hyper/hypo pens are keeped in the staff-room fridge and the class teacher has to send a child from the class with a red-card to allow them ot run in the corridor togo and get the pen that is required and the card is the child's name that requires the medication.

I think thsi is a lovely idea and one of the office staff goes back to class with the child with the card so that it is an adult that hands the pen over to the teacher. It makes the children feel part in helping htere friends get better and for the older children gives them the sence of responsibility. This doesn'thappen with the children in key-stage 1 though as they are too young then it is one of the TA's that has to do the run and get the pen and bring it back


Just a quick note.... Epipens shouldn't be kept in the fridge! It isn't required!



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