Food Allergies and School – Our Experiences
My youngest daughter, E, is coming to the end of her Reception year (the first year of school in the UK), so I thought I would share our experiences of starting school with food allergies. She has non-IgE food allergies (delayed reactions – usually) to milk and soya. Thankfully, she is halfway up the milk ladder, so she can tolerate cooked foods containing milk. She still has to avoid any uncooked dairy foods such as cheese, yogurt, cream, ice cream etc and of course milk itself. She is very sensitive to soya and cannot even tolerate soya lecithin. A reaction can make her poorly for about a week, so it’s something we really want to avoid, but our experience will of course be very different from someone who is at risk of anaphylaxis.
Choosing a School
My older daughter, K, was already at primary school. Luckily I already had a good relationship with the school. K has food intolerances herself. She’s had to do exclusion diets whilst at school and thankfully the school have been very supportive.]
The headteacher prides herself on running an inclusive school. There are a few children in the school with special dietary needs – allergies, intolerances, coeliac disease, and religious diets too. So all the teachers keep Haribos (suitable for most kids) on standby for any special occasions, meaning no one is left out. Plus, it’s a nut-free school, as there is someone with a nut allergy, so they do have some awareness of food allergies already.