12:12pm Friday 15 November 2019

GPs join forces with headache charities to help schools

Today (18 October 2011), the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and Headache UK launch new guidance to help schools, teachers and parents identify the students affected and ensure that they receive the appropriate attention and care that they need.

School Policy Guidelines for Students with Migraine and Troublesome Headache highlights the impact of the conditions on the wellbeing and academic performance of individual pupils, and suggests simple methods for dealing with the problem.

The guidance provides advice on identifying the causes of the problem, tips on reducing the impact of migraine and headache, and easy-to-follow treatments. Schools are also provided with a series of sample policies, letters and documents that they can adapt and issue to parents and students.

Dr David Kernick, RCGP Clinical Champion for Headache and author of the policy, said: ”Most students will experience headache at some point, and for some, the impact on their school work and life at home can be significant. On average, seven days of school a year will be lost because of headache and at other times the effects will make it harder for a student to concentrate on their work.

“Yet for a number of reasons most school-age headache sufferers do not seek medical help, even when their problem is severe. It is already common for schools to address the needs of students with asthma, diabetes, epilepsy and allergies. We hope that the new guidelines will help foster a better understanding of headaches, and improve communication between schools, GPs and parents.

“Schools can play a key role in identifying the problem and encouraging pupils and their parents to seek help from their GP. Having a simple school policy in place should really help improve both the school and home life of many pupils.”

Wendy Thomas, Chair of Headache UK and Chief Executive of The Migraine Trust said “The impact of migraine and headache, particularly on children, is often underestimated. These conditions are common among school children and can have a detrimental effect on school attendance, educational attainment and emotional wellbeing. For example, population-based studies have shown that children with migraine miss up to 82 days of school per year. By helping schools and parents understand the problem, we hope to encourage them to work together to provide better support for students affected by migraine and headache.”

School Policy Guidelines for Students with Migraine and Troublesome Headache PDF logo


Further information

RCGP Press office – 020 3188 7574/7575/7576/7569
Out of hours: 020 3188 7659

Headache UK Press Office – 020 7631 6983
Out of hours: 07703 605 784


Notes to editors

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of over 44,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.


RCGP Clinical Champions are appointed by the College’s Clinical Innovation and Research Centre (CIRC). The Centre carries out a range of work to improve clinical standards for the care of patients through clinical effectiveness, quality improvement and research initiatives linked to GP education, training and continuing professional development.


Headache UK is an alliance of six patient and professional organisations representing the 10 million people living with migraine and headache in the UK. The alliance aims to gain more recognition of the public health impact of chronic headache and seeks an improvement in diagnosis and treatment for sufferers.


Dr David Kernick will be discussing the report at a briefing session on 18 October 2011 at 1600, Thatcher Room, Portcullis House, Westminster. For an invitation contact press@migrainetrust.org.

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