The long-term consequences of preterm birth: what do teachers know?
journal contributionposted on 16.03.2015 by Samantha Johnson, Camilla Gilmore, Ian Gallimore, Julia Jaekel, Dieter Wolke
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
Aim: The knowledge and information needs of education professionals were assessed to determine how prepared they feel to support the growing number of preterm children entering schools today. Method: In a national survey, 585 teachers and 212 educational psychologists completed the Preterm Birth-Knowledge Scale (PB-KS) to assess knowledge of outcomes following preterm birth. Total scores (range 0-33) were compared between groups and the impact of demographic characteristics on knowledge was analysed. Training and information needs were also assessed. Results: Teaching staff (mean 14.7, SD 5.5) had significantly lower knowledge scores than educational psychologists (mean 17.1, SD 5.0; p<0.001); both had significantly lower scores than neonatal clinicians surveyed previously (mean 26.0, SD 3.6; p<0.001). Education professionals' poorest areas of knowledge related to the most frequent adverse outcomes following preterm birth. Only 16% of teaching staff had received training about preterm birth and more than 90% requested more information. Having a special educational needs role and being employed at least 16 years were associated with higher knowledge scores. Interpretation: Education professionals have poor knowledge of the needs of children born preterm and most feel ill-equipped to support them in school. As teachers have primary responsibility for providing long-term support for children born preterm, this is of significant public health and educational concern.
This study was supported by the Nuffield Foundation (grant no. EDU/40442); and a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship.
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