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Call for clarity on pupils' asthma

A lack of understanding surrounding asthma is causing thousands of children to miss out on key elements of their school life, according to a charity.

A study by Asthma UK found young sufferers were being inadvertently excluded from education by teaching professionals who do not have a proper understanding of the condition.

The Missing Out report revealed that around 75% of children with the condition have difficulties joining PE lessons, while four in 10 complained that asthma had stopped them having fun.

The study, published on World Asthma Day, said there were concerns about teachers' understanding, with half of pupils even saying they had problems joining in with lessons and going on trips.

Examples were given of teachers banning sufferers from certain activities, and of school staff dismissing them for being "melodramatic" or "over-reacting".

The government has now been called on to give teachers more guidance on how to help children with the condition through the introduction of well-defined asthma policies in schools.

The charity says asthma is the most common long-term condition affecting children in the UK, and on average there are two children with asthma in every classroom.

It called for an increase in the numbers of school nurses, and the introduction of clear guidelines for schools on their responsibilities for supporting children with asthma.

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Asthma UK