Asthma friendly schools pilot

Creating ‘asthma friendly’ schools

A blog for World Asthma Day, 2nd May 2023

 What is the ‘asthma friendly’ schools programme?

The Asthma Friendly Schools programme is currently being piloted in Manchester. Developed originally by Islington CCG and Healthy London Partnership, the aim is to improve outcomes for children living with chronic asthma and to enable schools to achieve recognition and meet agreed standards of care.

Why is this important?

Asthma is the most common long-term medical condition in children in the UK, with around one in 11 children and young people living with asthma. The UK has one of the highest prevalence, emergency admission and death rates for childhood asthma in Europe. Outcomes are worse for children and young people living in the most deprived areas (Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (2020) State of Child Health).

In Greater Manchester, between January 2022 and January 2023, 6482 children and young people (0-19 years) attended A&E due to asthma and 1346 were admitted to hospital.

Improving care and support for children and young people living with asthma is a key priority for the Children and Young People’s Network. Asthma is also one of the key conditions within the Core20PLUS5 framework for tackling health inequalities in terms of addressing over reliance on medications and decreasing the number of asthma attacks.

Who is involved in the ‘asthma friendly’ schools pilot?

Seven schools based in Manchester are involved in the pilot phase. Six primary schools and one secondary school in the Manchester area:

  • The Co-operative Academy of Manchester Secondary School
  • St Agnes CofE Primary School
  • Old Moat Primary School
  • Ringway Primary School
  • Oasis Academy Temple Primary School
  • Chapel Street Primary School
  • Green End Primary School

What does the pilot involve?

During the pilot we are are providing support to the six schools to:

  • Register all children and young people with asthma in the school
  • Develop a management plan for each child
  • Identify a named individual responsible for asthma in each school
  • Develop a policy for inhaler techniques and care of children with asthma
  • Develop a policy for emergency treatment
  • Provide asthma training and education for staff
  • Develop a system for identifying children who are missing school because of their asthma or who are not taking part in sports or other activities due to poor control.

How did we identify the schools to take part?

Data analysts from the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Manchester City Education reviewed all schools in Manchester, looking at number of pupils, demographics, attendance, admission profiles, and school attendance over the previous two years.

We were able to see the data about A&E attendances and hospital admissions for asthma for each school. By identifying those with higher attendances and admissions, we were able to put together a list of schools for potential involvement in this project.

Contact was made with the schools, and we were delighted that seven schools wanted to take part in the pilot. All the schools that are part of the pilot are situated in areas of Manchester which have very high levels of deprivation.

What happens next?

We are delighted with the progress being made with the schools involved in the pilot and the outcomes look promising.

The pilot will run until April 2024. We will evaluate the impact of the interventions described above and if successful we will create a plan for how this could be rolled out to schools across the region.

Our aim is to standardise asthma care within all educational settings in Greater Manchester.

Claire Slattery,

Asthma Friendly School Nurse Lead, Children and Young People Network


Links to more information: