Policy, Guidance and Procedure on Allergies

Updated Nov 2022 (DM)

Policy, Guidance and Procedure on Allergies



Wimbledon School of English is committed to reducing the risk to our school community from allergens which could lead to a serious allergic reaction. This policy applies to all members of our community, including staff, students, homestay providers, suppliers, visitors to the school and any other stakeholder.


This policy can be found in the Employee Handbook and is made available to the public on our website and is reviewed annually.



Wimbledon School of English is not in a position to guarantee a completely allergen free environment in either the main school building, school residences, homestays, or any other building we may, on occasion, make use of. Rather, we take measures to minimise the risk of exposure, encourage self-responsibility, and plan for effective response to possible emergencies.


Policy Objectives


Allergy Labelling Legislation

Since December 2014 (updated 2021) legislation has required food businesses to provide allergy information on food sold that is unpackaged. Although Wimbledon School of English is not primarily a food business, we do sell unpackaged pastries to students and staff in the Coffee Shop and provide unpackaged, cooked meals to staff and some groups of students when requested.



What is an allergy?

An allergy is an abnormal reaction of the body’s defence system to a normally harmless “trigger” substance (or allergen). An allergy can present itself as a mild itching, swelling, wheezing or digestive condition, or can progress to full-blown anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock, which can occur within seconds or minutes of exposure to an offending allergen.


The difference between food allergies and food intolerance

Food intolerances are not the same as food allergies, although some of the symptoms may be similar. Food intolerances aren’t life-threatening, although they can be very problematic for those affected.


Common Allergens (non-food)

The following is a list of typical allergens with suggested ways of avoiding risk of exposure.



The allergic reaction is usually known as hay fever.

People who suffer from hay fever are usually able to manage their symptoms with over-the-counter antihistamines.

On days of high pollen count, doors and windows should be kept closed to avoid the potential for exposure to pollen.


dust mites

Unlike hay fever, the potential to suffer from this allergy is year-round.

Keeping rooms and workspaces clean and dusted, and removing items that have the potential to gather dust, will help reduce exposure.

Students’ rooms at homestays should be kept as dust free as possible and hosts are required to wash student’s bedding once a week.


animal dander and saliva

The risk of exposure to any of these in the school is extremely low. However, staff who have pets at home should be aware that traces of these may be found on their clothing. The Anaphylaxis Campaign recommends that coats and jackets should be hung away from main working areas.

The risk to students is more likely to come at homestays. However, students are not placed in homestays with pets if we are informed of any allergy to animals or if they request a pet-free home.


insect stings

Some people may have an extreme reaction to insect stings, such as from bees, hornets and wasps.

If someone has never been stung before they may not know whether or not they are allergic.

As a precaution, a first aider should be informed if any student or staff member reports being stung.

The risk of being stung can be reduced by making yourself less attractive to insects, such as avoiding brightly coloured clothes and scented lotions or cosmetics.



Some people may have a mild allergic reaction to products made of latex. In some rare cases, contact with latex can lead to anaphylaxis.

First Aiders are required to ensure that no latex product in the First Aid kit is used on someone with a known severe allergy to latex.



Some people are allergic to certain medicines such as penicillin or aspirin.

Students, their parents and agents are requested to let us know if any student has a known allergy to any medicines.



Keeping all areas clean will reduce the likelihood of mould. Indoor plants should be watered regularly, and topsoil removed to ensure mould isn’t harboured.


Common Food Allergens

Below is a non-exhaustive list of typical food items that may be allergens.


celery and celeriac

Often found in salads, soups, celery salt, stock cubes, stew packs, and some meat products.



Found in bread, wheat flour, biscuits, crackers, pasta, breakfast cereals, cakes, pastry, semolina, soya sauce.


crustaceans, fish and molluscs

Found in Soy and Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, relish, some salad dressing, fish extracts, oils and paste.



Found in cakes, sauces, pasta, mayonnaise, some meat products, quiche, mousse, Quorn, any food brushed with egg.



Found in some types of pastries.



Found in milk powder, yoghurt, butter, margarine, cheese, cream, ghee, ice cream and custard.



Found in mustard paste, salad dressings, marinades, soups, sauces, curries, some meat products and sometimes in cheese scones.


tree nuts


Almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, hickory nuts, macadamia nuts, pecan nuts, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts.



Found in cakes, biscuits, ice cream desserts, breakfast cereal, salad dressing, confectionary, and some vegetarian products.


sesame seeds

Often found in hummus, furikake, gomashio and some bread products.



People with a soy allergy should avoid foods such as edamame, miso, soymilk and meat alternatives.


Information Provided to Students and Staff

Most food provided in the Coffee Shop is sold pre-packaged with the ingredients listed in English on the packet. There is a sign in the coffee shop advising students with allergies to check with Coffee Shop staff if they have any questions about any of the products sold. This is particularly important for students whose English is low level.

A list of ingredients is also displayed for any loose products sold.

The school may be provided with cooked meals for certain groups of students at lunchtime. A list of ingredients for this food is provided by the caterer and it is displayed where the food is provided to the students. Common allergens are highlighted in bold on this list.


Guidance for Staff with Allergies

Staff with a severe allergy are strongly encouraged to give specific information on their allergy to their line manager and to colleagues with whom they work most closely. Information should include the seriousness of the allergy and how to recognise the signs of an allergic reaction.

Depending on the severity of the allergy, staff may wish to consider giving consent to their line manager to share their allergy information to the wider workforce.

Staff who have allergy medication or an Adrenaline Auto Injector are encouraged to tell their colleagues where they keep these and how to administer them in an event of an emergency. It is strongly advised that First Aiders as a minimum, should be aware of anyone with a serious allergy and where any Adrenaline Auto Injectors are kept.


Guidance for Students with Allergies, Parents of Students and ETOs

In order to minimise the risk of exposure to allergens we strongly advise students, parents of students who are under 18 and ETOs to inform us of any allergies a student is known to have and the level of severity. This is particularly important in the case of students requesting a homestay, as any student with a known allergy to pet hair will be placed in pet-free homes. Students with known food allergies will be placed in homestays who are known to cater well to such students. The school requires that anyone with a severe allergy to make this known to us at the time of booking. This is for the safety of the student coming to the school.

The school requires that anyone who has been prescribed an Adrenalin Auto Injector to make the fact that they have one known to the school. We also recommend that a second Auto Injector is brought to be stored at the school.


Guidance for Homestays

General guidance to Homestay providers is as follows:

Reducing the Risk of Exposure to Allergens

While we cannot guarantee a completely allergen-free environment, there are certain measures that all staff can take to reduce the risk to exposure to allergens. In addition to the suggestions listed under “Common Allergens” and “Common Food Allergens”, staff should follow the following procedures:


Measures to be put in place for a student or staff member with severe allergies

If a new member of staff or student joins the school who reports that they have a severe allergy, the following procedures should be followed:


Staff Members




Signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis

The following symptoms should help you recognise a potentially life-threatening reaction to an allergen.





Steady deterioration is also a warning sign that may mean an injection of adrenaline is vital.


Variations in symptoms can occur, in addition to the symptoms above there may also be:








Action to take in the event of someone suffering a severe allergic reaction




Severe reactions can take place within a few minutes and in extreme cases, where prompt treatment is not sought, can be fatal.


If a person with an allergy becomes ill, it is likely that person or someone with them will state that they are suffering from an allergic reaction. They may use the word:




Stay with the casualty and have someone call 999 immediately. Ask someone to fetch a first aider for assistance until the ambulance crew arrives.


Help the casualty to sit up in the position that best relieves any breathing difficulty. If they become pale with a weak pulse, help them to lie down with legs raised and treat for shock.


If someone is able to inform Reception of the situation, then they should do so. They should also check with Reception to see if the casualty has brought a second Auto Injector that has been stored at the school.


All staff trained in First Aid will know what to do if someone suffers from anaphylaxis. However, treatment should not be delayed in the immediate absence of a first aider.


If the casualty also has asthma, they should use their inhaler.


If they have an Auto Injector, help them to use it. If they are unable to use it, follow the procedure below:








The First Aiders are: Akosua Sarpong, Duncan MacInnes and Julian Oakley.


It is lawful for a lay person to administer adrenaline in a life-threatening situation.


Calling an ambulance

The person calling 999 should give the following information:


“This is an emergency. We have someone who has collapsed and we believe they are suffering from anaphylaxis”. (Pronunciation: anna – fill – axis).


Speak clearly and calmly, giving the address of the location.


The school:

Wimbledon School of English

41 Worple Road

SW19 4JZ


Tuition House:

27-37 St Georges Road

SW19 4EU

Enter the main door and go downstairs. Turn left.


Mansel Road Centre:

1 Mansel Road

SW19 4AA


Wimbledon High School:

Give the address for the Mansel Road Centre and have someone waiting outside to guide the ambulance crew in.


The operator may ask you to repeat the address to confirm they have it right. Give any other details about the casualty that they ask for and this will help them to confirm that this is an emergency situation.


Further Information

Information on allergies can found online by visiting:


NHS – Allergies Section: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/allergies/


The Anaphylaxis Campaign: https://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/