Facts4Life pilot in schools

Facts4Life pilot in schools

I never realised when I started to think of ways to teach about illness more than 20 years ago how long it would take for the idea to begin to take hold. But it has, finally. We started in earnest about 9 years ago with an after school project at Rednock School engaged with year 12 and 13 students. Two things came out of this – a game for primary school children which has been redesigned and included in the new resource and a conclusion that we should concentrate our initial efforts in primary schools where the curriculum is less constrained by subject specific agendas. This led to the pilot we’ve just completed funded initially by Stroud and Berkeley Vale Local Executive Group and then by it’s parent organisation, the Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (GCCG).

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.