Sarah Alliott is a pastoral head of year at Bishop’s Hatfield Girls’ School.
Abbie is 14 and was diagnosed with epilepsy last year. She nominated Mrs Alliott for our Helping Hands award.
“I was diagnosed with epilepsy in December 2020,” says Abbie. “It has ruined my life and lost me my independence, but Mrs Alliott has stood by me every step of the way. She has changed my care plan over and over again and made it possible for me to feel safe in school, even if I just go in for lunch. She has supported me so much. I call her my school Mum.
“Mrs Alliott meets me at the office and gives me a drink, just so I can get into school. She organised seizure first aid and buccolam training for the staff. When I’ve had a seizure, she is always the first one there to care for me and make me feel safe. She is amazing and I could not have got through the last year without her support. I love her so much.
“Mrs Alliott, thank you for everything you have done for me, you are a real-life Miss Honey from Matilda.”
Abbie’s mum Mel says, “Mrs Alliott is a teacher, social worker and therapist all rolled into one. Abbie can go to her any time. In fact, the whole school is amazing. They couldn’t do more for Abbie. Even when she can’t get to school, they involve her in the community. They deal with her changing seizures and medications without question. As for school work, they have been brilliant. She has Google classroom and is never put on a deadline. This year they were so flexible in working around what GCSE options would suit Abbie.
“Abbie’s two older siblings also have epilepsy. But her seizures are very different and unpredictable. We’ve had delays getting her diagnosed and issues with treatment and support. Abbie has gone into status epilepticus twice recently and was so close to being intubated. She struggles with the side-effects of her medications, gets tired, slurs her words and her bones ache. We are just so lucky to have Mrs Alliott and the school as our constant source of support. It’s the place Abbie feels not only safe, but where she can feel like just a regular teenage girl.”
Accepting our Helping Hands award, Sarah Alliott said: “I feel very honoured to have received this award. For me, it recognises what can be achieved when everyone pulls together. We have a wonderfully caring, inclusive and supportive team at Bishop’s. Mrs Hackworth has put her trust in us and worked with us every step of the way; it’s been a real team effort! Abbie is tremendously courageous and has overcome obstacle after obstacle. I have huge respect for her.”