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?

You can also contact your local epilepsy organisation to speak to one of their support staff.

Why become an Epilepsy Smart School?

1 in 200 students has epilepsy.  In an average school of 600 students, you might expect three to four students will have epilepsy.  It is likely every teacher will teach a student with epilepsy in their career.

Within the school community, you may also find some staff and/or parents have epilepsy.  Becoming a recognised Epilepsy Smart School ensures your staff and school are educated to meet your duty of care requirements while showing the community that you provide a welcoming and supportive environment for all students.

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. 

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

Epilepsy Smart Schools is a comprehensive evidenced-based program, which has been evaluated by Melbourne University, and which is designed to support students, teachers and the broader school community to learn more about epilepsy.  We are very proud of the support Epilepsy Smart Schools provides for teachers who undertake our program

First aid training is focused on responding to an emergency situation.  Beyond seizures, epilepsy impacts on memory and concentration; this, in turn, will have an impact on student learning and well-being.  Our training extends beyond this to support teachers to understand how epilepsy may affect each student.

Most schools have individual student plans for asthma and anaphylaxis.  Epilepsy Smart Schools has been developed to enable schools to acquire the knowledge they need to support students with epilepsy.

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 three 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, in place. 
  2. Undertake our Epilepsy Smart Schools training program to ensure all teachers, nurses and other relevant staff are properly trained in understanding epilepsy and managing each child’s individual epilepsy.
  3. Undertake a Purple Day 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.

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, however, chances are that your school community does, in fact, have at least one child with epilepsy.  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 all three steps?

By confirming on this website that you have completed all three steps (or two steps if you do not currently have a known child with epilepsy in your school), you will be able to print and download your Epilepsy Smart School Certificate of Recognition.  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.

How can I promote that our school is Epilepsy Smart?

You will have a Certificate of Recognition and a sticker to place in your school.  We will also send you our Epilepsy Smart Schools three-tick logo, which you will be able to use on your letterhead, email footers, website and other marketing and promotional collateral. 

How long does my Epilepsy Smart Schools recognition last?

All students should have in place a current Epilepsy Management Plan and, if required, an Epilepsy Emergency Medication Plan.  All identified teachers, nurses etc. with a duty of care must be trained in the management of these plans.  To remain an Epilepsy Smart School, retraining should occur every two years.  Our programs are continually being developed and are evolving in line with best practice.  Retraining will ensure you have the latest evidence-based knowledge, that new teachers are trained and that the needs of any new students with epilepsy are identified and met.