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Under section 100 of the Children and Families Act 2014, schools have a duty to support pupils at their school with medical conditions.

The Food Information Regulations 2014 require all food businesses including school caterers to show the allergen ingredients’ information for the food they serve. This makes it easier for schools to identify the food that pupils with allergies can and cannot eat.

The Department for Education has published allergy guidance for schools which makes clear that supporting pupils with any medical conditions in school could include ensuring that a child with an allergy is able to eat a school lunch. The guidance tells schools:

If you’re making changes to your menus, or substituting food products due to supply changes or for religious and cultural reasons, you must make sure you can continue to meet any special dietary needs. This includes pupils who cannot eat certain ingredients due to an allergy or other medical condition. If you need to adapt your menus at short notice, you must make sure that the needs of these pupils are still met.


The Scottish Government website is clear that where a child has a special dietary need, such as an allergy, the school should cater for it.

For schools, the Scottish Government has published guidance on how they should support pupils with health conditions, including those with allergies.

The guidance states that awareness raising training about common conditions, such as allergies, should be provided to ensure that staff in schools have a basic understanding of the conditions, can recognise symptoms, and seek appropriate support – particularly in the case of anaphylaxis.


The Welsh Government has published statutory guidance on Supporting learners with healthcare needs. The guidance is issued under Section 175 of the Education Act 2002, which places a duty on local authorities and governing bodies to make arrangements to ensure their functions are exercised with a view to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in school or another place of learning, including supporting children’s healthcare needs.

The guidance states that where food is provided by or through the education setting, consideration must be given to dietary needs of learners – such as those who have allergies and food intolerances. 

The Welsh Government has also published guidance on The use of emergency adrenaline auto-injectors in schools.

Northern Ireland

The Education Authority in Northern Ireland has published Guidance for the provision of Special Diets in schools, which states that:

The provision of special diets is a shared responsibility and requires a joint approach and close communication between the School Principal, Parent/Guardian and School Catering Service to minimise risk and provide a safe educational environment for pupils with special dietary requirements.  

The guidance includes information on recommended procedures and forms to outline best practice in dealing with special diets.

The Department of Education in Northern Ireland has also published guidance on Support for pupils with medication needs, to support schools in managing related protocols.

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