A Carrickfergus school has been crowned winner of an Epilepsy Action education award for its work in supporting pupils with the condition.
Acorn Integrated Primary School was presented with its ‘Edward’ award by Epilepsy Action’s Northern Ireland manager, Morina Clarke, last Wednesday afternoon as part of National Epilepsy Week.
The Epilepsy Action ‘Edwards’ aim to recognise educational establishments that demonstrate good practice in supporting pupils and students with epilepsy.
Acorn Primary was chosen as a winner because of its work in supporting one of its pupils who has epilepsy, nine year-old Bethany Railton.
Staff at the school have received epilepsy awareness training and know what to do if Bethany has a seizure. The school keeps in constant communication with Bethany’s parents, while staff members are very alert to any effect Bethany’s seizures may have on her progress.
The school has developed a specialist individual healthcare plan for Bethany to make sure that they provide the best support possible. This is reviewed every year.
Bethany is also part of a buddy scheme that allows her to eat her lunch at a separate time to the rest of her class. This means she has more focussed attention from members of staff. Bethany is allowed to pick a friend to eat with her every day, meaning she does not feel isolated.
The school is determined that Bethany will fully take part in school life, sometimes providing extra staff to ensure that she can participate in activities. Acorn has provided extra support for Bethany to make sure that she keeps up with her peers, such as a special one-to-one reading scheme.
Kiara McElroy, Bethany’s mum, nominated the school for the award. She said: “I’m so pleased Acorn Integrated Primary School has received an Edward award. They have dealt with Bethany’s epilepsy so well and have always treated her with sensitivity and the utmost respect.”
Clodagh Webb, head teacher at Acorn, said: “We are delighted to accept this award and are very grateful to Bethany’s mum for nominating us.”