Our recent pilot in 10 primary schools in Gloucestershire has been assessed by our academic partners at University of the West of England (UWE). We looked at a total of 324 pupils about half of whom were controls (5 schools in each group). For me the aim of the pilot was to see if we could start a debate about illness without causing any harm.
Well, it looks like we did well on both accounts – see John’s post this morning: Facts4Life Intervention Changes Children’s Attitudes to Illness. It looks like children are very interested to talk about illness and discover what’s going on. They like the open ended approach that we are trying to foster and there seems to be no evidence that we have actually made them more anxious about illness – something we were aware we could cause.
We feel that there is enormous potential for children to learn about the world through a study of illness in themselves, their families, the wider community, nationally and internationally and that pulling all these threads together will give them a better grounding and better understanding of health and their role in maintaining it.
We also feel that children grasp the idea that illness is a continuum, that chance plays a role and that they can handle the idea that some things are not black and white – the grey idea.
We are very much looking forward to the expansion of the project into more primary schools and back into secondary schools with the help of our funders, GCCG and Public Health Gloucestershire and of our other partners, Gloucestershire Healthy Living and UWE.