Paediatric Epilepsy Training (PET)

Paediatric Epilepsy Training (PET) is a series of 1 and 2-day courses developed by the British Paediatric Neurology Association (BPNA) in response to concerns about standards of care for children with epilepsy in the UK. PET has been running in the UK since 2005 and is now being established worldwide.

PET is aimed at paediatricians, medical officers and emergency department professionals. It aims to improve the diagnosis of epileptic and non-epileptic events; improve the standard of care; and raise awareness of when to liaise with a Paediatric Neurologist, a children’s epilepsy expert.

The International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) endorses PET. The ILAE identified PET as an effective, sustainable format to teach safe standard epilepsy practice to clinicians across all levels of healthcare. PET has been critically reviewed by Paediatric Neurologists around the world who have concluded that this course teaches “safe standard epilepsy practice to clinicians, applicable to children in all countries” and are “sensible, practical and pragmatic”.

PET courses

PET courses are running worldwide and every PET course is listed on this website. 

  • PET1:  1-day course recommended for all doctors and nurses who contribute to the initial or ongoing care of a child experiencing paroxysmal disorders in the acute and community setting.
  • PET2:  2-day course covers general aspects of epilepsy (history taking, differential diagnosis, investigation etc) and concentrating on epilepsies in infants and young children. Recommended for all doctors and nurses who care for young children with epilepsies.
  • PET3:  2-day course concentrating on the epilepsies presenting in older children and adolescents and transition to adult services. Recommended for all doctors and nurses who care for older children, adolescents and young adults with epilepsy.

Each PET course has short didactic lectures and interactive small-group workshops. There are many opportunities within each course to consider difficult cases, share ‘experience in the real world’, and debate ‘the evidence’. The size of workshops is limited to 8 attendees, to ensure everyone is able to contribute and gain the most from the learning experience.

Each course has standardised course materials that are taught to the same high standard worldwide by a trained local faculty of experienced paediatric neurologists and paediatricians with an expertise in epilepsy. Pre-course reading, and a course handbook are provided to attendees.

PET is evidence based, refers to internationally recognised guidelines, and provide a consensus view for paediatricians. Content is internationally peer reviewed. Course materials are updated every 3-years. PET1 was last updated in March 2023 and PET2/3 was last updated in 2019. It is recommended that the courses are completed in sequence (as each course presumes prior knowledge from the previous one) and are repeated every 5 years. Alternative to repeating the course every 5 years, the newly developed PET4ward course has been introduced to follow on from PET123 for those wishing to be kept up to date with new and breaking topics in paediatric epilepsy. Anyone wishing to attend the PET4ward course must have attended the PET123 courses.

PET is supplemented by the BPNA Distance Learning Unit 6: Epilepsy & Paroxysmal Disorders for health professionals who would like to learn more.

PET attendee feedback:

  • 95% of attendees would definitely recommend PET to a colleague, 5% that they probably will
  • 99% of attendees rated PET excellent or very good (excellent=61%, very good=39%)
  • 87% report their expectations were exceeded for fulfilled (exceeded=30%, fulfilled=57%)

Attitudes and practice survey

We routinely survey all PET1 attendees worldwide 6-months after attending the course, to record changes in attendees’ attitudes and practice. Results from the 2017 PET1 Outcome Measures:

  • 85% report they have improved ability to distinguish between epileptic and non-epileptic events
  • 82% report they have improved history taking
  • 80% report PET has prompted them to try to improve the way clinical services are set up to support children with epilepsy
  • 75% report they have made moderate or significant changes to their practice, diagnosis and caring for children and young people with epilepsies
  • 63% report they recognise more quickly when a patient needs to be referred to an expert
  • 58% report they always provide first aid advice to parents and care givers
  • 57% have made improvements in information sharing
  • 54% have introduced changes to services resulting in improvements in prolonged seizure management in their unit
  • Many have introduced or improved teaching about epilepsy to parents and families (88%), undergraduates (70%), post graduates (63%), professional colleagues (65%)