The long-term consequences of preterm birth: what do teachers know?
journal contributionposted on 16.03.2015, 14:28 by Samantha Johnson, Camilla GilmoreCamilla Gilmore, Ian Gallimore, Julia Jaekel, Dieter Wolke
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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