Frequently Asked Questions
Epilepsy is a medical condition that affects the brain and causes seizures. Seizures happen because of a disruption to electrical activity in the brain, leading to a change in a person’s movement, behaviour, level of awareness and/or feelings. 1 in 200 students live with epilepsy. This means every teacher is likely to teach a child with epilepsy during their career.
1 in 200 students has epilepsy, in an average school of 600 students, you might expect 3-4 students will have epilepsy in each school.
It is likely every teacher will teach a student with epilepsy in their career.
Epilepsy can have a big impact on a child’s experience at school due to the impact of seizures and medication, making it hard for a child to concentrate or remember information from class. Epilepsy is more than seizures and first aid training is not enough.
Teachers need epilepsy-specific training. All schools have a duty of care to provide a safe learning environment for all students. Understanding epilepsy will assist teachers modify their training plans. This site also has come great resources for teachers and schools to support students with epilepsy.
Within the school community you may also find staff and, or parents may have epilepsy. Becoming a recognised Epilepsy Smart School ensures your staff and school is educated to meet duty of care requirements as well as show the community that you provide a welcoming and supportive environment for all students.
Epilepsy Smart Schools is a comprehensive evidenced-based program designed to support students, teachers and the broader school community to learn more about epilepsy.
First aid training is focused on responding to an emergency situation. However, beyond the period of time when seizures are occurring, epilepsy impacts on memory and concentration, which in turn will have an impact on student learning and wellbeing. Our training extends beyond this to support teachers to understand how epilepsy may affect each student.
There are three steps to becoming a recognised Epilepsy Smart School:
- Identify all students in your school community who have epilepsy. Work with the parents/carers to ensure that each child has a current, individualised Epilepsy Management Plan and, if necessary, an Emergency Medication Management Plan and ensure those with a duty of care know where the plan/s are located.
- Undertake our Epilepsy Smart Schools training program to ensure all teachers, nurses and other staff with a duty of care are properly trained in understanding epilepsy and managing each child’s individual epilepsy.
- Undertake a Make March Purple or other awareness raising activity in your school, or use our school resources in your curriculum to educate your school community about epilepsy, and to help creative a safe and inclusive environment for students living with epilepsy.
If you do not currently have any known students with epilepsy, you can still become an Epilepsy Smart School.
Without any known students you can simply:
Complete this training module: An Introduction to understanding and managing epilepsy – this 1-hour module can be delivered on line or face-to-face (each teacher will receive a certificate and may be able to claim this towards CPD); and
Raise awareness about epilepsy at your school: Part of reducing stigma is to educate your school community about epilepsy. By raising awareness, your school can demonstrate that it understands epilepsy and provides a welcoming environment for all students. You can use our online classroom activities to add to your curriculum or, like many schools, you can choose to hold a Make March Purple activity to raise awareness
**Remember, not all students or parents will disclose that a child has epilepsy due to the stigma that still exists today.
You can ensure your staff are in a position to understand and manage a child’s epilepsy, and be ready for future students who have epilepsy, by undertaking the Epilepsy Smart Schools program.
Once you have undertaken the necessary actions (plans in place if you have a student or students with epilepsy, undertaken the necessary training and conducted an awareness-raising activity), please contact your local epilepsy service provider to request an Epilepsy Smart Schools certificate.
We will also post out to you a sticker that you can place in an appropriate place in your school to inform your community that you have completed the necessary steps and are, in fact, an Epilepsy Smart School. Your school will also have access to promotional material to show that you are a recognised Epilepsy Smart School.
You will have a Certificate of Recognition and a sticker to place in your school. We will also send you our Epilepsy Smart Schools logo, which you will be able to use on your letterhead, email footers, website and other marketing and promotional collateral.
We would also like to showcase that your school is #EpilepsySmart on our Hall of fame and encourage you to show your status through your own social media.