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It is important that Nurseries, Schools, Colleges, and other Educational Organisations know how to support any child or young person with epilepsy. The information outlined in this section aims to equip education staff and settings with knowledge and tools to meet each child and young person’s individual needs.

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Epilepsy and learning

Supporting a child or young person with epilepsy in schools is more than managing a seizure in an emergency. Epilepsy may impact a person’s ability to learn, and affect concentration and memory. In some cases, a pupil may require an Education and Health Care Plan to ensure the appropriate additional provisions and adjustments are made to support them. Some students may require additional time for tests and exams (typically 15 extra minutes per hour of examination).

Epilepsy and behaviour

Some children and young people with epilepsy may experience changes in behaviour. Behavioural changes also can be a side-effect caused by some anti-epileptic medication. Please discuss with the parent(s)/carer(s), so they can raise concerns with the epilepsy team.

Epilepsy and Mental Health

Children and young people with epilepsy are at higher risk of mental health and associated psychological difficulties. Where available, educational staff should ensure child and young people are aware of any local mental health support services including School-counselling services.

Epilepsy and Individualised health care plans

It is important that a child or young person with epilepsy has an individualised health care plan describing their seizure(s) type(s), and what education staff should do in an emergency situation including information about administration of emergency medications. More details about seizure rescue medication can be found in the ‘What To Do During A Seizure’ section.

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Epilepsy training

Education staff should have regular epilepsy awareness training, which should include an overview of epilepsy and seizure first aid. If a pupil attending the educational setting has been prescribed seizure rescue medication, training on how to administer this will also be required.

Epilepsy and educational organisations responsibilities

Children and Young People with epilepsy should not be excluded from attending school, or participating in activities which they could do with a risk assessment and reasonable adjustments. The Department of Education published Statutory Guidance in 2015, Supporting Pupils at School with Medical Conditions covers this issue.

with special thanks to Ms Stacey 
Ratcliff, Paediatric Epilepsy CNS,
Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust

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