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Today we had some monumental news that we have been waiting for since 2013. The Department of Education announced health education alongside reformed sex and relationship education is to become compulsory in all schools across the country from September 2020.
This is a big step in the right direction for cancer education, which we have been banging on about since 2013 when we projected the UK cancer statistic onto the Houses of Parliament. Our #RETHINKCANCER Campaign was instigated to show the importance and value of teaching young people in schools about cancer. The campaign pushes for all pupils to have access to cancer education, for all teachers to receive appropriate training and protected time on the curriculum to deliver it.
The guidance released today by the Department of Education shows great progress to making this happen. The guidance explains the need for pupils to be taught about not only the benefits of healthy eating and keeping fit (important factors to preventing cancer), but also the prevention of health problems and self examination. As we all know, preventing and detecting cancer early is vital in order to give everyone the best chance of living a long and healthy life.
Here at Boob HQ we have always believed we should be equipping young people with the tools to detect cancer early. As Boob Chief Kris explains, ‘We need to give people the best chance of detecting cancer early, as it will affect 1 in 2 of us in the UK. Starting in schools is the perfect foundation for starting to think about preventing cancer and not just treating it. It’s a no brainer really, if it’s important to teach us to brush our teeth surely we need to make sure that cancer education is part of every child’s education.”
Our 2015 pilot, carried out in 16 secondary schools in the England, showed that after a lesson on cancer, knowledge of risk factors increased from 49% to 64% and self reported checking behaviours rose from 30% pre to 47% post lesson. Our pilots showed the positive impact cancer education can have on pupil’s but also their wider network.
We welcome (by welcome we mean jumped up and down in the office) the announcement today and will be working with fellow cancer education campaigners to ensure it remains cemented in the new guidance for health education along with appropriate training for teachers to successfully deliver it. Watch this space!
If you would like to read it from the Department’s mouth – check the release here.
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