House of Lords debate epilepsy support at school
On Thursday 13 December 2017, Baroness Brinton spoke in the House of Lords about support for children with epilepsy at school, calling on the Government to take action.
This follows the launch of Young Epilepsy’s Rules 4 Schools campaign and the charity’s work with the Health Conditions in Schools Alliance (HCSA).
It is a legal requirements on state schools in England to support children with epilepsy and other conditions. However many young people are still receiving inadequate support. Baroness Brinton – who is also the president of the Liberal Democrats - highlighted Young Epilepsy’s campaign asks by urging the Government to introduce a requirement for schools to publish medical conditions policies online. She also called for regulatory school inspections to include a routine check for support for pupils with medical conditions.
In addition, Baroness Brinton spoke about the HCSA’s survey of 200 schools which showed that only 47.5% had policies in place to support children with medical conditions, and only 11.5% had policies which complied with Government standards.
Baroness Brinton highlighted Young Epilepsy’s survey of young people with epilepsy and their parents and carers. This showed that one in three children with epilepsy still do not have an individual healthcare plan (IHP) in place, which should set out essential information, including what school staff should do in an emergency. For those children that do have IHPs, two out of three do not include how epilepsy might affect learning. Baroness Brinton stated that one of the key aims of the requirements on schools was to make sure that impact on education was considered.
Baroness Brinton went on to mention that only half the families surveyed said that school staff had been trained to support a child with epilepsy. She said that one in six children with epilepsy being excluded from activities at school was ‘not good enough’.