I am a parent/carer of a child with coeliac disease
Sending your child to school can be hard when they have coeliac disease.
If you're concerned, you're not alone. We hear from many parents who worry about whether their child is receiving the appropriate support from teachers and classmates. Whilst some schools are brilliantly supportive, this is not always the case. We're here to help you, whatever situation you're in.
By using the guidance and resources on this page, and working in partnership with your school, we hope you can feel confident that your child is happily living gluten free and enjoying their school experience.
Arrange a meeting with the school
- If your child has recently been diagnosed with coeliac disease or is about to start school, the first step is to contact the school to discuss how their condition will be managed.
- Schools are required to make arrangements to support children with medical conditions.
- It’s important the school puts the appropriate support in place and everyone involved in the care of your child knows about their needs.
- This will include form teachers, catering staff and school nurses.
- Check out the template school letter and the Individual Health Care Plan in the resource section below.
What to discuss with the class/form teacher
- Explain what coeliac disease is and the importance of following a gluten free diet. Remember to include that even a small amount of gluten can cause symptoms.
- Highlight that coeliac disease is not an allergy and will not cause an anaphylactic reaction.
- Explain what will happen if your child eats gluten by mistake so they are aware of what to expect.
- Clarify what foods are suitable for a gluten free diet and what foods must be avoided. Why not provide them with our gluten free checklist?
- You might also want to discuss school trips and cookery classes, you can find more information about this on the Schools FAQ page.
What to discuss with the catering team
- Discuss adjustments they could make to the normal weekly menu to provide gluten free choices.
- Ask for a copy of the menu if it's available so that you can keep a copy at home.
- Ask about the how they will identify your child at lunch time so they get the correct meal.
- Ask about school trips and packed lunches.
- Ensure the catering team understand how to read food labels.
- Make sure they know about the risk of cross contamination in the kitchen.
- Why not direct them to the Food Business section on our website, where there is an online catering training module and information about the Gluten Free Accreditation Scheme.