Asthma friendly schools initiative launched across South Yorkshire

As the new school year begins, NHS South Yorkshire’s Children and Young People’s Alliance are calling upon schools across the region to join a new initiative named ‘Asthma Friendly Schools’ as part of the Excellent Asthma Care Programme

Partnership news
Press release
Four people stand outside a school as a doctor presents a certificate to the school's principal; they are joined by two nurses and a teacher

This new programme aims to enrol and support local schools to become ‘Asthma Friendly’. The initiative’s purpose is to improve the care of pupils with asthma and raise awareness of this common long-term medical condition by delivering training, resources, and support.

To achieve the Asthma Friendly accredited status schools will need to meet the following key objectives:

  • all staff to be trained in Asthma Awareness;
  • have an Asthma Policy and Asthma register;
  • ensure a consistent approach to where and how inhalers are stored in the school;
  • develop a notification system of when inhalers are due to expire;
  • ensure the school has a spare emergency inhaler and spacer; and
  • have a process in place of when to escalate individual cases to a health professional and/or parents/carers.

Dr Sonal Kansra, Clinical Lead for the South Yorkshire Excellent Asthma Care Programme said “The UK has some of the highest death rates in Europe for childhood asthma. With children starting the new academic year, it is important to start the conversation about asthma care within school settings, as we know this is when children are most likely to have an asthma flare up. Every year we see an increased number of children and young people attending GP practices and being admitted to hospital, as they start the new school year.

This new initiative builds on the work already undertaken by our local specialist nursing colleagues who continue to support children and young people with asthma in educational settings. Piloted in 8 primary and secondary schools across South Yorkshire with great success, the programme is now open to all schools in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.

We are encouraging all local schools 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.”

Astrea Academy Woodfields in Doncaster was one of the 8 schools involved in the programme pilot and is now an accredited asthma friendly school. David Scales, Principal said “One of the things we want to do here at Astrea Academy Woodfields is to make children feel safe and welcome. To do that, they need to feel well and able to engage with education in the same way as all of the scholars in our school and as someone with a history of asthma as well, I know that can sometimes be difficult.

The Asthma Friendly Accreditation process was really easy thanks to the support of our local NHS colleagues and 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.

It's going to make a big difference for these young people who will now feel safer, which we hope will enable them to succeed and thrive during their time in school.”

To find out more about the Asthma Friendly Schools initiative in South Yorkshire, please contact:

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact