Two schools have been presented with awards for their work supporting pupils with epilepsy. Puss Bank Primary School, in Macclesfield, Cheshire, and Pontypridd High School, in Pontypridd, South Wales have been judged winners of the 2019 Epilepsy Action Awards – in the primary school and secondary school categories respectively.
The Epilepsy Action Awards celebrate the UK’s epilepsy heroes. They recognise and celebrate those who have made a real difference to those with epilepsy in the UK. A total of 11 awards were presented across the country during November, honouring the work and commitment of volunteers, fundraisers, schools, employers and healthcare professionals.
The education awards go to one nursery, one primary school and one secondary school every year. The winners are schools who provide outstanding support to children and young people with epilepsy.
The condition affects an estimated 63,400 children and young people aged under 18 in the UK. On average, there will be one child with epilepsy in every primary school and five in every secondary school.
About the schools:
Puss Bank Primary School, Macclesfield, Cheshire
Puss Bank Primary School supports Claire Mullen, aged nine. Claire has epilepsy. Unfortunately, Claire’s epilepsy isn’t controlled by medication. She has regular seizures, and experiences lots of side effects from the many medicines she takes.
Claire has attended Puss Bank school since she was four. The school has worked tirelessly to make sure that Claire’s needs are met. She has a one to one support worker who stays with her throughout the school day. Staff adapt every activity so that Claire can take part. She has never had to miss out. Beyond this, the school support Claire’s whole family, always checking in with her parents about how they are.
Staff at the school have worked closely with Claire’s epilepsy specialist nurse. They have received epilepsy training, including training about how to use Claire’s emergency medicine. As well as this, they have a thorough plan about how to manage Claire’s epilepsy and seizures. This has been put together by the school, Claire’s parents and Claire’s medical professionals.
Claire is actually leaving the school soon to attend a special school which will be more suited to her needs. But she has only been able to stay at Puss Bank for so long because of the school’s outstanding support.
Pontypridd High School, Pontypridd, South Wales
This is the second year in a row that Pontypridd High School have won this award. This year’s award is specifically in recognition of the work the school do to support Kira-Lea Crockett, aged 12. Even when she is taking many different types of epilepsy medicines, Kira can still have around four seizures a day. She can also have up to seven seizures at night. Kira has mostly focal seizures, where she doesn’t lose consciousness and her awareness is altered.
The staff at Pontypridd High School have been incredibly supportive of Kira. Kira can leave lessons earlier than the rest of the school. This means she avoids moving around the crowded corridors, which has made her feel much less anxious. The school has also helped Kira access things that help her wellbeing and mental health. Kira has had counselling sessions which she has found really helpful. There are staff at the school who Kira can access and talk to any time.
Kira’s epilepsy means she has to miss a lot of school, because of seizures and medical appointments. Staff at Pontypridd always make sure that she is given work she can do at home to help her catch up. As a result, her education is thriving. The school has also made changes to help keep Kira safe. Once, when Kira had a seizure during a science lesson, she almost fell off the stool she as sitting on. By the next lesson, the school had replaced the stool with one that had more support.
Epilepsy Action’s response
Philip Lee, chief executive at Epilepsy Action said: “We’re delighted to acknowledge the wonderful work of these schools by giving them an Epilepsy Action award. This award is a deserved tribute for their efforts and successes. Getting the right support from school is vital for a young person with epilepsy.
“As a charity we rely on the support of people who are committed to improving the lives of people with epilepsy. These awards reflect the wonderful efforts of the recipients and mark our appreciation for their passion and commitment to the support of people with epilepsy.”
The condition affects around one in every 100 people in the UK alone and 87 people are diagnosed with the condition every day. Each year, Epilepsy Action directly helps over two million people through a range of services, including its Helpline, freephone 0808 800 5050, support group network and award-winning website, epilepsy.org.uk