Helping children born prematurely when they reach school

Posted by ap507 at Aug 02, 2017 03:45 PM |
Researchers funded by Action Medical Research are designing a tool to help children who were born prematurely with maths skills – and, as Dr Sarah Clayton explains, they are looking for children, young adults and teachers to take part

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The PRemature Infants’ Skills In Mathematics (PRISM) study team is dedicated to improving long term outcomes for children who were born too soon. The research team has followed a group of children born eight or more weeks early throughout their primary and secondary school years, to investigate why maths is a particular challenge for many children born early. The researchers are now putting their findings into practice to design a tool to help teachers to support these children in the classroom.

Providing support in the classroom

Two to three children in an average sized UK primary school class are likely to have been born prematurely. Despite this, research has shown that teachers lack knowledge and training about the special educational requirements that these children may have1. So the PRISM Study team is designing a multimedia e-learning resource to help teachers understand the kinds of difficulties students born prematurely may face.

Designing the e-learning resource

We are inviting parents of children born prematurely, young adults who were born prematurely, and education professionals from across the UK to contribute to the design of their e-learning resource. Volunteers are invited to a workshop at the University of Leicester to come along and discuss the most important things they feel teachers need to know about premature birth and to provide ideas on how they think this information would be best communicated to teachers.

The research team will then review the ideas from the workshop and transform them into multimedia content for the resource. This collaborative process is designed to ensure the final resource is well-aligned to meet the needs of teachers, parents and children born prematurely.

Get involved!

The PRISM team will be running the content design workshop on Wednesday 16 August at the University of Leicester and we are looking for volunteers from the following groups to attend:

• Parents of children born very prematurely (children of any age)

• Young adults who were born very prematurely (before 32 weeks of pregnancy) and are now between 18 and 25 years old.

• Primary school teachers

• Primary school teaching assistants

• Primary or secondary school SENCOs

• Educational Psychologists

Reasonable travel expenses and a contribution of up to £50 towards childcare costs can be reimbursed. You will receive a £20 voucher as a token of appreciation from the study team. The PRISM team would be really grateful for all volunteers – they can’t do this without you!

How to register your interest

Please contact the team at if you would like more information or are interested in taking part in the workshop. Please include your name and whether you are an education professional, parent or young adult.


  1. Johnson, S., Gilmore, C., Gallimore, I., Jaekel, J., & Wolke, D. (2015). The long‐term consequences of preterm birth: what do teachers know? Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 57(6), 571-577.

You can find out more about this study here, and what inspires lead researcher Dr Sam Johnson here.

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