Suffolk Asthma Friendly Schools Initiative – all schools to respond please

For the past 10 years, the prevalence of asthma for all ages in Suffolk has been higher than the East of England and England overall.

Not only is asthma prevalence higher in Suffolk than England as a whole, but more children are at riskfrom asthma exacerbations. There was a higher rate of under 19s admitted to hospital with asthma exacerbations in Suffolk than England overall in 2021-22 (181 vs 132 per 100,000). Fortunately, between 2017/18 and 2021/22, there were fewer than five deaths in total of under 19s in Suffolk where the underlying cause was asthma.

As asthma can prove fatal without appropriate management, helping schools to improve management of asthma in Suffolk is vital in preventing avoidable harm to children with asthma.

Suffolk’s Public Health & Communities team kindly request that any schools who have not yet responded to previous emails about this initiative, get in contact to nominate their named asthma champions (members of staff who will act as a link through whom AFS programme will be set up and followed through).

Becoming “Asthma Friendly” involves meeting the following criteria:

  1. Each school is recommended to have at least one named Asthma Champion who can provide leadership in this area (two champions are preferred for business continuity)
  2. The school must implement an asthma policy and monitor it through annual audit using the checklist
  3. The school must have an up-to-date register of children with asthma to support the pupils throughout the school year
  4. The school must have a copy of their pupils’ Asthma Annual Plan to effectively support them
  5. The school must have access to an emergency asthma kit and can evidence that it is regularly checked and has well trained staff who can use them during emergency
  6. All staff should complete asthma training and be able to support asthmatic children well at school

Most schools will already be implementing much of these criteria and the Public Health & Communities team would like to acknowledge this. Please be aware that parents/carers are likely to be aware of this initiative through SCC communications/ newsletters and may approach your school about this initiative.

Benefits of becoming an Asthma Friendly School are as follows:

  • Improving asthma awareness and management in the school.
  • Improving support to students with asthma encouraging an inclusive environment.
  • Supporting responsibilities for the health, safety and wellbeing of students and staff.
  • Ensures the school is implementing current and best practice asthma management strategies.
  • Enables the school to promote its self-evaluated status to ensure that the community is aware of the school’s commitment to Asthma Friendly strategies.

Please send the names and email addresses of your nominated asthma champions to the Schools Engagement Manager, Jane Stannard, at [email protected].

All of the information regarding the criteria/actions for schools is available on the Suffolk Learning website:

Attached is a list of frequently asked questions that schools have asked about the Asthma Friendly Schools Initiative and the actions involved.