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Southampton leads the way in raising awareness of feet and foot health in schools across the UK

Published: 7 March 2012

A senior academic at the University of Southampton is leading a pioneering new classroom programme for 7-11 year olds to encourage school pupils to look after their feet.

Exclusively piloted at Bitterne Park Junior School in Southampton, the Podiatry and School Science (PASS) project is now being developed across the UK.

Dr Julia Potter, the University’s admission lead for podiatry, has developed the PASS project in collaboration with Paul Walker, curriculum manager and science lead at Bitterne Park Junior School.

The project, commissioned by the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, aims to raise awareness of foot health and podiatry through the science curriculum.

As well as inspiring children to take an interest in the science behind their feet, the project also aims to generate a better understanding of where to go about foot health issues amongst parents and in turn keep people mobile for longer.

Dr Julia Potter with pupils of Bitterne Park Junior School
Feet and foot health in schools

Following successful pilots with Year 4 Key Stage 2 children (8-9 year olds) at Bitterne Park, the lesson is now being delivered on a national level by the Universities of Brighton, Northampton and East London, reaching over 700 children.

Year 4 lessons address the subject of whether taller people have bigger feet with children participating in activities such as ink printing and measuring their own feet.

Year 5 lessons are now also being piloted at Bitterne Park Junior School, getting children to look at how exercise affects our bodies, and there are plans to develop the project further for Key Stage 3 pupils.

Dr Julia Potter comments: “This project has proved to be a fun way of engaging children who have all been extremely enthusiastic. Delivering lessons through schools is a great way to raise awareness of such an important issue to children at a key stage of their development and is also incredibly rewarding for podiatry students. It’s fantastic for the University of Southampton be leading this project and I very much look forward to seeing the positive benefits of it rolling out across the UK.”

Bitterne Park Junior School’s Paul Walker says: “The PASS project pilot scheme has been a real success and helped our children engage with science through real life experience. They have a much better understanding of podiatry and foot health than before and feedback from children has been extremely positive. We are very proud to be piloting the programme on behalf of all UK schools and would urge them to take up the lessons.”

To get involved with the programme, podiatrists and schools can register their interest with Alison Hart at ah@scpod.org.

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