Creating a policy on managing special diets

All schools should have a policy in place for dealing with special diet requests, as well as a clear procedure to manage these requests. This procedure should include:

Requesting full information from the child’s parents/carers, so you are fully aware of the foods the child cannot eat. If appropriate, request written confirmation of the allergy/medical need from the child’s GP, dietitian or other medical professional to make sure children are not having foods removed from their diet without a diagnosed medical need.

Communicating with the child’s parents/carers (and medical professionals if required) to come up with a clear plan on how to manage their child’s allergy/special dietary requirements in school. This could include identifying foods from the existing school menu that are appropriate for their child, agreeing how existing recipes could be adapted to make them suitable for their child or agreeing how suitable foods can be prepared or supplied for the child.

Making sure that all catering staff are fully informed (and fully understand) about children’s special dietary requirements, and how these are being met, so they can ensure the right food is provided. Consider whether catering and serving staff need training to understand food allergies and how to ensure children are provided with food appropriate for their needs.

Ensure clear information is available so that all catering and serving staff are aware of children’s allergies – for example by displaying photos of children with allergies and details of the foods that they are allergic to. Template allergy management plans can be downloaded from the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) and used by schools.