A detailed study by the University of the West of England has highlighted the benefits to young people in following a Facts4Life course on illness and wellbeing. It points to “small, yet significant, improvements in certain aspects of pupils’ health-related attitudes, knowledge and behaviour.” The findings show that these improvements equip children to manage illness and suggest a “reduction in children’s perceived reliance on medical intervention when feeling unwell”. This is a very positive outcome and supports the Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group’s decision to sponsor a large expansion of Facts4Life’s work in schools and GP practices.
The University of the West of England were commissioned to conduct a pilot evaluation of the Facts4Life resource. Questionnaires completed before and after the Facts4Life intervention in five schools as well as five control schools show these encouraging results. In addition, the interviews with children show the strong interest in this approach to learning about illness.
“Lessons are always really exciting because you know what’s coming and you know that it’s going to help you in your future life.” (Year 5 student)
Interview responses support the questionnaire findings on changing attitudes and also reveal some examples of perceived changes in wider family behaviour.
“My mum goes to Aldi and she [now] buys the complete sugar free [soft drinks] and she used to buy the normal ones that are like…the Lucozade ones…” (Year 6 student)
In the light of this research, we are now revising and extending the resource for all primary age children and preparing the introduction to secondary schools. The new material will be available in January and primary schools will be invited to training in the Easter Term. We will continue to measure its impact on children’s attitudes and health behaviours, including school attendance.