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The longer-term effects of teacher training in health education – new SHTAC publication

Published: 18 July 2016
Children eating apples
Teacher training to promote health in schools

SHTAC researchers have published a study exploring the longer-term effects of the University of Southampton’s innovative health education training programme for trainee teachers.

Since 2010, the University’s Southampton Education School has run an innovative health education programme for all its trainee teachers as part of its initial teacher training courses. The programme was developed by a multi-disciplinary team of experts from the University and external agencies. The aim of the programme is to raise trainee teachers’ awareness of the importance of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education and to increase their knowledge, skills and confidence to teach it. An 18-month research project, led by the Southampton Education School in collaboration with SHTAC and the Primary Care and Population Sciences academic units, sought to gauge the potential longer-term effects of the training. Researchers sent surveys to and held interviews with teachers at the end of their training and those up to 3 years post-training to evaluate their attitudes and perceived confidence and competence to teach PSHE and promote health and well-being in schools. The research was funded by The Leverhulme Trust.

The findings from the survey component of the first phase of the project have now been published in Pedagogy in Health Promotion: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (also available here). The survey was completed by 164 teachers who were either at the end of their training (108 teachers) or who were in their first or second year of teaching in schools (56 teachers). The majority of them stated they found the training useful. Of the teachers, 99% reported they thought it was very important for schools to teach PSHE education and to promote children and young people’s health and well-being. The majority of the teachers felt skilled, knowledgeable and confident teaching a range of health issues, including healthy eating, emotional well-being, smoking prevention, sex and relationships education, alcohol use and substance/drug abuse. The teachers particularly valued practical experience for developing their competence to teach and promote health in schools. The researchers concluded that the training is associated with positive, long-term effects on attitudes towards health education and perceived skills for teaching it among those who responded to the survey.

This paper is among a number that SHTAC has published on school-based health promotion. Please visit our Research page to view more of our publications in this area. More information about the health education programme for trainee teachers and the University of Southampton’s previous research evaluating its impact can be found on the School Health page of the University’s Population Health University Strategic Research Group website.

 

 

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