A local primary school in Dudley has been named as the first ‘Asthma Friendly School’ in the Black Country.

Caslon Primary School in Halesowen has been awarded the Asthma Friendly School accreditation in recognition for its work in helping children with asthma stay well.

The initiative, led by the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board’s Asthma team, encourages all schools to welcome children with asthma and put simple strategies in place to ensure they can fully participate in school life.

To achieve the Asthma Friendly accredited status, schools must meet the following key objectives:

  • Adopt and adhere to their local authority recommended asthma policy
  • Have a named asthma lead/champion amongst its staff
  • Maintain an up-to-date asthma register of the children in its care
  • Ensure staff complete baseline asthma training and annual updates
  • Ensure staff can recognise when a child is having an asthma attack and know what to do if this happens
  • Ensure children always have easy access to their reliever/rescue (usually blue) inhaler
  • Provide a school emergency inhaler and spacer device within the allowable legislation or ensures every child with asthma has a spare inhaler for emergency use stored safely on site.

Caslon Primary School was the first in the Black Country to get involved in the programme, with Year 5 pupil, Archie, designing the logo that now features on the Asthma Friendly School certificate.

The local NHS has worked with the staff and pupils at Caslon Primary School to create a video about the Asthma Friendly School programme. You can watch the video on YouTube.

Lynnette Holden-Gough, Headteacher at Caslon Primary School, said: “We are delighted to have achieved the asthma-friendly school award and it is a huge honour to be the first in Black Country. As soon as we received the certificate, we put it up in reception for everyone to see and put it on our school letterheads too, as well as informing all staff and parents.

“The main reason we wanted to take part was to ensure all our children feel safe and supported in school. It's going to make a big difference for our pupils who have asthma, which we hope will enable them to succeed and thrive during their time in school.

“The whole process was really easy thanks to the support of our school nurse and local NHS colleagues. The training was really informative and supported all of our staff to be in the best position to deliver the new policies that we have put in place.”

Viv Marsh, specialist asthma nurse and Black Country clinical lead for children and young people’s asthma transformation, said: “The Asthma Friendly Schools programme is a partnership between health and education whereby we are recognising the role that schools have in children’s lives and in supporting their health.

“One in 11 children in the UK have asthma and two to three children in every school class will have asthma. That’s why it’s important that children feel safe at school, that parents feel confident to send their children to school and that children with asthma can fully participate, just like any other child, in all elements of school life. By being supported both at home and school to proactively manage their asthma, children do not need to miss out.

“We are encouraging all local schools to become an ‘asthma friendly school’ as the benefits of improving asthma awareness and management include reduced absences for pupils with asthma, an inclusive environment for all those with the condition and ultimately support the health, safety and well-being of students and staff.”

As part of the Asthma Friendly Schools programme, the NHS worked with The Dog, Duck and Cat Trust, a charity that provides educational stories for children aged 0 - 9 years, to create a dedicated asthma resource for school children. The story, ‘Moggy’s New Medicine’, aims to highlight what asthma is and increase understanding of how, when, and why those with asthma might need to get help and has been shared with all schools in the Black Country.

Headteacher Lynnette added: “We also had a visit from The Dog, Duck and Cat Trust, who read Moggy’s New Medicine to the children, and they loved it. It was a really fun and engaging way for our pupils to learn about what living with asthma means to those who have the condition and to help them understand why it’s important that we are an asthma friendly school.”

For more information about the Asthma Friendly School programme, and how to take part, visit the Black Country 0-18 website.

Moggy’s New Medicine and the associated lesson plan are freely available to all via the Dog, Duck and Cat Trust website.


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