An observational study investigating the health provision for children with epilepsy within secondary schools in the East Midlands, UK

Authors

  • C. Dunkley,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Paediatric Neurology, Queen's Medical Centre,
    2. Mansfield Primary Care Trust, and
      Dr Colin Dunkley, Specialist Registrar in Paediatrics, Department of Paediatric Neurology, E Floor East Block, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK
      E-mail: c.dunkley@virgin.net
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  • B. Waldron,

    1. Department of Paediatric Neurology, Queen's Medical Centre,
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  • N. Ahmad,

    1. Mansfield Primary Care Trust, and
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  • W. Whitehouse

    1. Department of Paediatric Neurology, Queen's Medical Centre,
    2. Academic Division of Child Health, School of Human Development, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
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Dr Colin Dunkley, Specialist Registrar in Paediatrics, Department of Paediatric Neurology, E Floor East Block, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK
E-mail: c.dunkley@virgin.net

Abstract

Background  Epilepsy is a common medical condition affecting many children in mainstream education. The practice of local secondary schools and the health service with regard to pupils with epilepsy was examined. The extent to which these children had activities at schools restricted and the schools’ perception of the health service with regard to epilepsy was explored.

Method  A structured interview was conducted with selected staff members from mainstream secondary schools in East Midlands region, UK.

Results  Fourteen out of 17 schools participated. Fifty-seven children were identified from a total pupil population of 14 534. Seven schools used the DOH/DfEE (The Department of Health/Department for Education and Employment) ‘Supporting Pupils with Medical Needs’ publication as a resource. No schools created individual health care plans for children with epilepsy. Six out of seven schools reported appropriate provision for children during swimming activities. The commonest restriction was related to computer use. Nine schools stated a need for more training for staff members with regard to seizure management.

Conclusions  Schools rely heavily on obtaining medical information from non-medical sources. Individual health care plans for children with epilepsy are not commonly undertaken. Few children had any restriction or special provision placed upon them because of their epilepsy except in the area of computer use. Further action is needed to consider how the system for providing for such children can be improved so that each child's individual health needs can be satisfactorily met.

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