First asthma-friendly Sussex school

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Woodlands Meed in Burgess Hill becomes the first special school to be presented with the Sussex Asthma Friendly School award.

Asthma Education Empowers is the theme for World Asthma Day today (May 7). Supporting this vision, the NHS Sussex Asthma Friendly Schools accreditation aims to encourage, educate and support schools to be proactive at managing asthma at their school and upskill all their staff with training and awareness sessions.

Edwina Wooler, NHS Sussex Clinical Lead for Children and Young People with Asthma, said: “Around 10 per cent of all children have asthma and 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.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The theme of World Asthma Day today is Asthma Education Empowers and we are so passionate about making sure both children and their families are equipped with the skills and knowledge, as well as the medicines, to proactively manage their condition in the best possible way to live a rich and fulfilled life.”

Woodlands Meed in Burgess Hill.Woodlands Meed in Burgess Hill.
Woodlands Meed in Burgess Hill.

The NHS Sussex Asthma Friendly Schools initiative aims to equip schools to care for any child or young person who has asthma during the school day. Making simple changes makes a big difference to a person’s experience of asthma, both at home and at school. This work is part of the National Bundle of Care for Children and Young People with Asthma launched by NHS England in 2021 and is being rolled out UK wide.

To become an Asthma Friendly School, schools must have a register and management plan for all children with asthma; a named lead for asthma; the correct policies in place; and a system for identifying children who are missing school because of their asthma or who are not partaking in sports or other activities due to their asthma. The school must also show that their staff have undertaken additional training in asthma awareness and management.

Woodlands Meed asthma leads, Yvette Martin and Cindy Knight, said: “As a special school we felt it was vitally important to achieve the Asthma Friendly School Award as we aim to be an inclusive environment for all pupils – whatever their additional needs or disability may be. We are extremely pleased to be the first special school to achieve this award in West Sussex.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Deputy Headteacher, Gillian Barton, added: “We have a large team of teachers and support staff who are responsible for the medical care and general wellbeing of our pupils on a day-to-day basis. Having this training will enable them to feel more confident in their role of supporting our vulnerable children.

“Our children have a range of medical needs, but asthma is one of the most prevalent, with one in 10 of our pupils needing this support. Some of our children lack the communication skills to alert us to medical issues so our staff have to be extra vigilant.

“Woodlands Meed have participated in many different types of training so that staff are equipped to deal with the complex needs of our range of learners. I would recommend this asthma training both for increasing the knowledge of staff and ease of completion.”

Several more schools across Sussex are currently undergoing training and are being supported by the team at NHS Sussex to become Asthma Friendly Schools.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Edwina Wooler added: “Our aim is for all schools in Sussex to become asthma friendly. Simple changes to children and young people’s care can make a big difference to how they experience their asthma.”

Notes to editors

There are just four simple and effective measures teachers and parents can take to help a child or young person to control their asthma:

1. Get an asthma action plan in place

A written asthma action plan drawn up between a clinician and patient means people are four times less likely to have to go to hospital for their asthma.

1. Understand how to use inhalers correctly

Less than three-quarters of children and young people have any form of instruction in how to use their inhaler. Poor inhaler technique means patients don’t get the full benefit of their asthma medication.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

2. Schedule an asthma review – every year and after every attack

An asthma review by an appropriately trained clinician after every attack helps to work out what went wrong. An annual review ensures effective management of the condition.

3. Consider air quality and its impact on lung health

We want to ensure that every asthma conversation considers the impact of outdoor and indoor air pollution on children and young people’s asthma.