Looking for support? Call the National Epilepsy Support Service on 1300 761 487 Monday - Saturday

Epilepsy Smart Schools

Frequently asked questions

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What is epilepsy?

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.

 

Where can I find out more about epilepsy?

To find out more about epilepsy, visit Epilepsy Smart Australia.

Contact the National Epilepsy Support Service
Phone: 1300 761 487
Email: support@epilepsysmart.org.au

Why become an Epilepsy Smart School?

1 in 200 students has epilepsy. 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.

What makes Epilepsy Smart Schools different? All our staff already have first aid training.

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.

What Government policy applies to my state?

Follow this link to learn more about specific government policy in your state.

How can our school become an Epilepsy Smart School?

There are two steps to becoming a recognised Epilepsy Smart School:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

How can our school help to reduce stigma in our community?

Schools have an important role to play in raising awareness of epilepsy and reducing stigma. Understanding makes all the difference. 

In addition to helping to create a happier and more inclusive environment at school for students with epilepsy, today’s students are tomorrow’s adults who will take with them into adult life a far greater understanding of what it means to have epilepsy and how it affects the person with epilepsy.

Schools can undertake a Make March Purple or Purple Day (26 March) event, or other awareness raising activity.

Additionally, you can 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.

What if I don’t have a student with epilepsy?

If you do not currently have any known students with epilepsy, you can still become an Epilepsy Smart School. Remember, not all students or parents will disclose that a child has epilepsy due to the stigma that still exists today.

Without any known students you can simply complete the online training module Introduction to Understanding and Managing Epilepsy for Educators. This 1-hour module can also be delivered in a training session (in person or virtual).

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.

What do we do when we’ve completed the process?

Once you have undertaken the necessary actions (plans in place if you have a student or students with epilepsy and undertaken the necessary training, please contact your local epilepsy service provider to request an Epilepsy Smart Schools certificate.

How can I promote that our school is Epilepsy Smart?

You will have a Certificate of Recognition to place in your school. You can also promote on your socials that your school is Epilepsy Smart using the hashtag #EpilepsySmart. You are free to promote your Epilepsy Smart School status throughout your other communication channels such as on your website, in school newsletters etc.

Epilepsy Smart Australia, including the Epilepsy Smart Schools program, is a collaborative partnership between epilepsy service providers across Australia:
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Epilepsy Queensland Epilepsy WA and The Epilepsy Centre logos
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The Epilepsy Smart Australia program received funding from the Australian Government.