School wins top award for keeping children with asthma safe

Watch: ITV News Meridian's Kit Bradshaw reports on one school's pioneering efforts

A school in Worthing has become the first in Sussex to get special recognition for its work helping children with asthma stay safe and well.

Springfield Infant School was presented with the Asthma Friendly School Award by NHS Sussex after it overhauled staff training and changed the way teachers support pupils.

It is hoped the scheme will encourage other schools to adopt similar changes in their policies. Headteacher Becky Wycherley said she was “delighted” by the recognition for her team.

Ms Wycherley added: “We want children to come to school, we don’t want anything that’s preventing them.Making sure we manage [their asthma] and understand it means they can come into school. So, it’s really important we’re on top of this.”

Several more schools in Sussex are currently being supported by the NHS to become Asthma Friendly Schools. Credit: PA Images

Springfield Infant School has 14 per cent of pupils registered with asthma, slightly higher than the national average of 10 per cent.

Medical officer Amy Carpenter said: “We do have a high number of children at this school with asthma… so, it is really important that all of us are trained to a high standard, so every child knows where to find their inhaler, and all the staff know where to find them.”

The school had to reach a number of criteria to get the award. That included having a register of children with asthma, ensuring all children have an asthma action plan, that they have an emergency asthma policy and a staff lead for asthma.

Edwina Wooler, NHS Sussex Clinical Lead for Children with Asthma, said: “During the autumn term we often see a larger number of children at GP practices and A&E departments in Sussex with asthma symptoms…

“Not controlling their symptoms may lead to them missing out on physical activity during the school day and having to take time off from school altogether. But, by being supported both at home and at school to proactively manage their asthma, children do not need to miss out.”

Advice on managing asthma symptoms is available on the NHS website.

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