Aim To describe collaborative working with experts in childhood education and their influence on the delivery of health education to a group of children and young people (CYP).
Background Health education should meet the learning, psychosocial and developmental needs of the target population and be delivered by appropriately trained health professionals (HP). While developing a structured education course for CYP with diabetes we recognised the need to understand how CYP learn, how they are taught and what teaching skills are required by HP's, while ensuring consistency of teaching. We worked with education experts to achieve this.
Method Curriculum: Secondary school teachers helped to covert the desired diabetes skills into a curriculum format recognised by the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) and which addressed different learning styles. Teaching skills: University tutors in education provided a novel 5 day teaching skills training course for HP's. This included observing secondary school teachers and being peer reviewed during a teaching experience, understanding learning styles and their application for mixed ability groups and managing disruptive behaviour. Quality Assurance (QA): A QA framework was developed with staff from a University Department of Education. These components of our structured education programme were used in 31 courses for CYP, delivered across the UK. Qualitative feedback was gathered from educators and educationalists by observation, interview and questionnaires.
Results The curriculum has been used successfully by over 20 educators around the UK. The teacher training course was reported as extremely relevant with the biggest impact being the school visit, teaching practise and reflection. It is being developed as part of an accredited pathway for all HP's requiring teaching skills. QA documentation will be used to further develop peer review systems.
Conclusion Current health education is often delivered by untrained HP's with teaching materials which largely have no underpinning theoretical framework. Collaborative working with the education profession has provided us with a far better understanding of the way young people learn and how to deliver effective education. We would advocate healthcare professionals delivering health education do so in partnership with their local education experts to ensure the best learning opportunities for the child and young person.