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Epilepsy Smart Schools

Government policy

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Australian state and territory government departments responsible for public schooling have a duty of care to ensure that clear policies and procedures or guidelines are available to schools on the management of the health and wellbeing needs of students in their care.

Under the Disability Standards for Education 2005 schools are obliged to ensure that students with disability can access and participate in education on the same basis as other students.

Training completed by school staff as part of the process towards recognition as an Epilepsy Smart School, and the resources available on this website, will assist in supporting school staff in their teaching practice so that they can meet the expectations of schools under the Disability Standards for Education 2005 as it relates to students living with epilepsy.

Follow the links below to read more about each Australian state and territory government department’s response to supporting a student living with epilepsy.

For further information Contact us.

Epilepsy Smart Australia Branding

Victoria

The Victorian Department of Education Victorian Department of Education programs and support for students with disabilities or additional needs in government schools.
The policy ensures that schools support students diagnosed with epilepsy and students having a non-epileptic seizure event appropriately. The policy requires schools to implement strategies to assist students with epilepsy according to their specific needs:
  • Schools are required to ensure appropriate health and management plans are in place for students with epilepsy. For each student diagnosed with epilepsy, schools must have a current written: Epilepsy Management Plan (EMP) – signed by a doctor and provided to the school by the student’s parents/carers. There are five different plans, however the doctor will provide one plan to the family depending on the type of treatment required.
  • Where the student’s Epilepsy Management Plan states that emergency medication has been prescribed then the school must hold a current Emergency Medication Management Plan (EMMP) signed by a doctor and provided by the student’s parents/guardians. The staff will also need to be trained by a recognised epilepsy provider to provide medical assistance in accordance with that plan. Training is available from the Epilepsy Foundation.
  • Training of staff – School staff with a direct teaching role or other staff as directed by the principal who have a duty of care responsibility for a student living with epilepsy are required to receive training in:
    • Introduction to Understanding and Managing Epilepsy for Educators
    • Administration of Emergency Medication – Theory
    • Administration of Emergency Medication – Practical.
  • Schools must also provide appropriate emergency first aid response and post-seizure support when a student has a non-epileptic seizure event.
Further Information

New South Wales

The Department of Education in NSW requires that individual healthcare planning is undertaken for all students living with epilepsy. Planning for a student with epilepsy will include developing and implementing an individual health support plan. Individual health support planning ensures that all students have the opportunity to participate in education regardless of their health support needs.

While a student’s health support rests primarily with the parent, school staff have a duty to keep students safe while they are at school or are involved in school activities. A First Aid Seizure Management Plan (Epilepsy Management Plan) should be completed by the student’s doctor and form part of the individual health care plan. The individual health support plan will detail the procedures to be followed if a seizure does occur.

Epilepsy management documents, including the First Aid Seizure Management Plan and First Aid Seizure Poster are available on the Paediatric Epilepsy Network website and can be used by schools to assist them to respond to a seizure. Alternatively, parents could utilise the Epilepsy Management Plan resources located on the Epilepsy Smart Australia website.

A conversation should be held with both the school and treating doctor on the documentation required. All staff should be trained to recognise seizures and know what to do if one occurs in the classroom or playground. Training is available from the Epilepsy Foundation.

Further Information

Australian Capital Territory

The Education Directorate (EDU) has a commitment to the inclusion of all students in public education. Students living with epilepsy will receive support as identified in their individualised Known Medical Condition Response Plan available from the EDU and completed in conjunction with the family.

Planned management is undertaken by an authorised person/first aid officer trained to provide the required support. Students with complex or invasive health care needs, including epilepsy, requiring an emergency response administration of medication, may be referred to the ACT Healthcare Access At School (HAAS). HAAS provides nurse-led care to students with complex or invasive health care needs while they are at any ACT public school.

The Registered Nurse (RN) completes an initial assessment and develops a Healthcare Plan in partnership with the parents and other health providers as needed. EDU HAAS workers are then trained in the health tasks that are required in order for the student to safely attend school and are assessed by the RN as competent.

The RN provides ongoing support to the student, school and parents and updates the healthcare plan periodically and/or as needed, such as if health requirements change. Alternatively, parents could utilise the Epilepsy Management Plan resources located on this website. A conversation should be held with both the school and treating doctor on the documentation required. Staff are trained to support the individualised Known Medical Condition Response Plan of the student.

Training and education is available via the Epilepsy Smart Schools program.

Further Information

South Australia

The South Australia Department of Education and Child Development supports the importance of health care planning for student. The department supports that a child or student’s health and wellbeing is closely tied to their ability to learn. The department aims to ensure the best educational outcomes for all children and students by providing support to their health and wellbeing needs.

Health care plans specify the arrangements and staff training necessary to help children with health conditions attend school or preschool. Epilepsy is recognised as a specific health care need requiring a clear support plan and training for school staff. Refer to specific care documentation available on the department website.

Also, parents can use the Epilepsy Management Plan resources located on this website. A conversation should be held with both the school and treating doctor on the documentation required. All staff should be trained to recognise seizures and know what to do if one occurs while a student living with epilepsy is in their care.

Training and education is available via the Epilepsy Smart Schools program.

Further Information

Queensland

The primary purpose of health care provision in schools is to implement health care practises that maintain and promote the good health and wellbeing of all students.

The Managing students’ health support needs at school procedure outlines the measures schools must take to support students with health support needs at school, so that all students can safely participate in all aspects of school life.

The principal is responsible for ensuring safe management of students’ specialised health needs, including those requiring specialised health procedures such as students living with epilepsy, whilst attending school or school-related activities. While there are no specific requirements of staff as it relates to a student living with epilepsy, parents of students with special health needs are required to complete/sign and provide all relevant documents, equipment, medication and consumables to support the student’s health needs prior to enrolment or as required, including:

Alternatively, parents could use the Epilepsy Management Plan resources located on this website. A conversation should be held with both the school and treating doctor on the documentation required. All staff who support a student living with epilepsy should be trained to recognise seizures and know what to do if one occurs while the student is in their care.

Training and education is available via the Epilepsy Smart Schools program.

Further Information

Western Australia

The Department of Education in Western Australia lists epilepsy as a seizure disorder on the standardised list of medical conditions requiring health support for a student living with the condition. No specific guidelines for supporting a student living with epilepsy are covered in the Student Health in Public Schools Policy, however, the policy does require that appropriate support is provided for students with special health needs.

The Emergency Response Plan for Student with Special Need provides an overview of the health care needs and emergency response requirements for students with multiple health care needs who are frequently admitted to hospital during school hours. This form can be handed to ambulance and/or emergency ward staff. This form can be used to document the support required for a student living with epilepsy.

Where a student is unable to self-administer prescribed medication as is the case in the emergency administration of medication in the event of seizure, school staff, who in their role, support a student living with epilepsy should be trained to recognise seizures and know what to do if one occurs while the student is in their care. The requirements for administration must be documented Administration of Medication form.

Training and education is available via the Epilepsy Smart Schools program.

Alternatively, parents could utilise the Epilepsy Management Plan resources located on this website. A conversation should be held with both the school and treating doctor on the documentation required. While schools and teachers have a duty of care to support the needs of students with special needs, if a parent applies to enrol a student with a complex or high risk to life health condition, and the principal believes the school may not be able to provide the level of health care support required for the child to sustain health or life, a review process will be implemented to ensure that the student is enrolled in an appropriate school to provide the best available supports.

Tasmania

The Tasmanian Department of Education has a clear policy and position on support for students living with epilepsy. The requirements of schools can be found in the following Health and Wellbeing document Specific Health Issues Procedures, Information and Contacts. This document must be read in conjunction with the Administration of Student Medication Procedure and the Department of Education‘s Health Care and Safety Policy.

Department of Education staff members have a duty of care to all students. Principals must ensure that any student with a medical condition has the following documentation completed and updated:

  • Authorisation for Administration of Student Medication form, which must be signed by a medical practitioner or nurse and which must include a record of when medication is administered to a student on each and every occasion.
  • Authorisation by the parent/s is required for the administration of all medication. This includes prescribed and non-prescribed medication.
  • Authorisation by a doctor, dispensing pharmacist or nurse is required for the administration of all prescribed medication.
  • These plans need to be updated and reviewed by the practising medical specialist team every twelve months or at any given time when the specific health issues management changes.

Alternatively, parents could utilise the Epilepsy Management Plan resources located on this website. A conversation should be held with both the school and treating doctor on the documentation required. Staff must receive training in how to support a student living with epilepsy in accordance with their health and wellbeing plan.

Training and education is available via the Epilepsy Smart Schools program.

Further Information

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory Department of Education policies and procedures for administration of medication and support to a student with a health condition provide advice for schools, students, parents and the wider school community on the provision of education services and decision-making processes across the Northern Territory as it relates to health care support.

Schools can also create their own policies in addition to the departmental policies. It is recommended that families talk to their school about local policies. Documents required to support a student living with epilepsy include a documented health care plan and actions to support student engagement in school life.

Additionally, a student living with epilepsy must have the following documentation attached to their health care plan, as appropriate:

  • Epilepsy Management Plan should be current, accurate and easy to understand. The plan should be developed by the person or people who have the most knowledge and experience of the person’s epilepsy and seizures. It is very important for the student with epilepsy to be part of this planning process. A team approach to developing a plan is often helpful. It is recommended that this plan be reviewed by the person’s doctor.
  • Emergency Medication Management Plan should be completed by the prescribing doctor in consultation with the student living with epilepsy and/or their family or carer. It must be attached to their Epilepsy Management Plan which has been signed by their doctor.

A conversation should be held with both the school and treating doctor on the documentation required.

Keeping a record of seizures is important because few doctors ever see their patient having a seizure and rely heavily on an accurate account from an observer when diagnosing epilepsy. There are more than 60 different types of seizure and other conditions that can be misdiagnosed as epilepsy. A precise diagnosis is easier to make if a clear description of the person’s seizures is available. Teachers are asked to record all seizure activity on this form.

In accordance with school policy, teachers are required to be trained in supporting the student living with epilepsy and in the administration of emergency medication as per the student’s health care and epilepsy management plans.

Training and education is available via the Epilepsy Smart Schools program.

Further Information
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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Epilepsy Smart Australia

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The Epilepsy Smart Australia program received funding from the Australian Government.