Training and awareness
Training for staff
All staff working with a young person with epilepsy should be trained to ensure they understand the young person’s condition and its impact on their life.
Training for school staff should include:
- Seizure types and how to identify them
- Seizure management including seizure first aid
- What to record when witnessing a seizure
- The impact of epilepsy on learning and behaviour
- What information should be included in an Individual Healthcare Plan (IHP)
- The importance of risk assessing activities and examples of adjustments that can be made to ensure a young person is safe and included at school
Whole school epilepsy awareness training can be delivered as part of the school’s safeguarding training programme, at an INSET day, in a specific staff development session or undertaken as online training.
Some members of staff with a specific responsibility for a young person with epilepsy may need additional training. If a young person is at risk of prolonged seizures, they may be prescribed emergency medication. If this is the case, staff will require appropriate training on how to administer this. An epilepsy specialist nurse or school nurse may be able to provide this training.
Schools must ensure that sufficient numbers of staff are trained to ensure a young person’s safety and inclusion across the school site, on school trips and when staff are absent.
Awareness raising for pupils
Much of the stigma and exclusion associated with epilepsy comes from a lack of understanding about the condition. Raising awareness about the facts of epilepsy, and dispelling common myths, can improve safety and inclusion at school. It can improve confidence in the young person affected, other pupils, and staff who are supporting them.
The young person affected might want to be involved in awareness raising, for example by presenting an assembly. Epilepsy charities, healthcare workers and other partners may also be able to help with awareness raising. Initiatives could include:
- Epilepsy being included in PSHE (Personal, social, health and economic education) lessons
- Seizure first aid being taught in life-skills/personal programmes
- Epilepsy awareness days being supported in school
Support for staff and pupils
Watching someone have a seizure can be traumatic even if it only lasts a few seconds. Schools should make sure that staff and pupils are made aware of who they can talk to for emotional/pastoral support.
The siblings of a young person with epilepsy may be particularly affected. They are living alongside the condition every day and may experience anxiety and sleep disturbance. Although siblings may not be registered and receiving external support for being a young carer, the school should be aware of the additional responsibility that these siblings have and support them both academically and pastorally.