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Southampton Health Technology Assessments CentreNews

What impact does health training during initial teacher education have on teachers’ practice in schools?

Published: 11 June 2014
Health training for teachers

SHTAC researchers are aiming to answer this question as part of a new research study exploring the impact of an innovative health education programme, developed by the University of Southampton, on teachers’ attitudes, confidence and competence to teach and promote health and well-being in schools.

The 18-month longitudinal study, funded by The Leverhulme Trust, is being led by the Southampton Education School, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, in collaboration with SHTAC and Primary Care and Population Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton. Teachers are in a prime position to influence and improve the health and well-being of children and young people and it is important that teachers are adequately trained for this role. Yet previous research conducted by SHTAC and colleagues found that the extent to which new teachers receive training in health and well-being issues during their initial teacher education (ITE) is variable in England. A systematic review conducted as part of the same project also found that few studies had examined the impact of health training in ITE on teachers’ later practice in school, once they had qualified. The new study aims to address this gap.

Southampton Education School and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton developed the innovative health education programme, which has been delivered annually to over 1000 postgraduate pre-service primary and secondary teachers since 2010. The programme includes a Health Day, with sessions delivered by health experts from external agencies, the completion of a health portfolio and the opportunity for teachers to achieve the PSHE Association’s Chartered Teacher status. As part of the new study, researchers will be sending a questionnaire in 2014 and then again in 2015 to three cohorts of current and previous trainee teachers. A subsample will also be invited to participate in interviews. The aims of the study are to assess the impact of the training on the teachers’ attitudes, confidence and competence to teach and promote health and well-being in schools, and to explore the factors that influence teachers to teach and promote health and well-being during their training and early career. The study will also assess the feasibility of following-up teachers post qualification, to inform the design of a future controlled study.

For more information about SHTAC’s previous research into school-based health promotion, visit our Research page. More information about our and others’ school-based health promotion research at Southampton can also be found on the website of the multidisciplinary School Health research group, which is part of the Population Health University Strategic Research Group.

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