Epilepsy in school

30th July 2019

It’s crucial that children with epilepsy have unrestricted access to an education and quite often this might mean that some adjustments need to be made within the school. It may be that special considerations need to be made to ensure the child’s safety whilst they are in school. 

School can be a stressful time for many children, which means that it’s possible they may be more likely to experience a seizure within school hours. Firstly, it’s critical that there are safety measures in place and that staff are trained to recognise seizures and to care for children should they have them. 

There are also a variety of other factors that parents and teachers should consider.

Exams

For many children with epilepsy, exam season can be particularly difficult. Whilst exams are a hard time for any child, the additional stress and potential lack of sleep can often be a trigger for seizures. It may be that a child with epilepsy requires additional support or considerations during this time, examples of this might include: 

  • Supervised rest breaks during exams
  • Additional time to complete an exam (or a piece of coursework)
  • One to one support during practical exams
  • A change of time for an exam, especially if a child is known to be more prone to seizures at a certain time of day

In certain circumstances, it’s also possible that special considerations will be given to the grading of a child with epilepsy. Scaling can be up to 5% depending on the situation if it is deemed that a child’s epilepsy has affected their ability to take an exam. This isn’t something that is given lightly and the exam board may take into account previous coursework, past exam results and the testimonial of teachers. A scaled grade is likely to be considered if a seizure has taken place before or during an exam and is deemed to have affected the performance of a child. 

Transport to and from school

Some children with epilepsy may be eligible for school transport through the local authority. An assessment can be made that will take into account a variety of factors that will determine whether a child is eligible for this service, including:

  • Walking distance from home to school
  • The family circumstances 
  • How safe the route to school is for a child with epilepsy
  • Any additional health and safety needs of the child

If you are a parent that feels your child would benefit from home to school transport, contact your local authority to enquire about the service and to begin the assessment process. 

What to do if you feel the school isn’t meeting your child’s needs

If you feel that your child’s school hasn’t made adequate preparations for your child and you are concerned for their safety you should definitely talk to someone within the school. This might be a class teacher, head of year or headmaster/mistress who should be able to discuss the situation with you and start to put measures in place. 

If you are still not satisfied, you can make a formal complaint to the Department of Education who should be able to offer advice and guidance on the situation. You can also contact the Information, Advice and Support Services Network (IASS) who have a duty to provide information, advice and support to children with special education requirements and their parents. 

Finally, epilepsy awareness training can be provided to school staff and volunteers to ensure they are trained to respond in the event of a seizure. Read more about our epilepsy awareness training course here. 

National Epilepsy Training can help

For more information and advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01706 373075 or email admin@nationalepilepsytraining.co.uk