Star Academies, Outwood Grange Academies Trust (OGAT), David Ross Education Trust (DRET), Cabot Learning Federation (CLF) and The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT) are the first trusts to sign up all of their schools for the Secondary Education around Early Neurodevelopment programme (SEEN) seeing the value of the lessons for pupils in their secondary schools. In addition, the following trusts have committed to delivering the programme this academic year: Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) and Unity Schools Partnership.
With just one in four (24%) of adults recognising the specific importance of the first five years for providing lifelong health and happiness, the initiative is part of a wider drive to increase public understanding of how early experiences can shape the adults we become. These include the ways we talk to babies, encourage learning through play and how to strengthen resilience. Our development at 4 is as much a gateway to lifelong opportunity as our GCSEs or A levels.
The Department of Psychiatry at Oxford University, commissioned by Kindred2 has developed the series of KS3 science lessons covering brain development, the caregiver’s role in early years development and the ongoing development of the brain throughout life.
The feedback from both staff and around 4000 pupils who were involved in the initial pilot last year has been very positive. During the pilot 100% of teachers thought that these science lessons should be taught in schools.
Last November HRH The Duchess of Cambridge visited Nower Hill High School in Harrow, North London to see first-hand the innovative science lessons helping secondary school pupils understand how baby development and care have a long-term impact on adulthood and future wellbeing.
The lessons have had a dramatic impact on pupils’ understanding and behaviour:
- 86% could give a practical example of what they could do to maximise a child’s development through everyday activities or play.
- Over 90% of pupils knew how a caregiver should speak to a baby to promote their language development.
- 80% understood that a child’s environment affects their development.
- 80% correctly reported that a child’s brain develops fastest in the first 5 years of life.
“We know that the very early years of a child’s development literally shape the rest of their lives. This is such important work, and the earlier we can educate our young people about this, the better. We’re delighted to be part of this exciting programme to test the impact of building this knowledge and understanding into the science curriculum.”
Stuart Burns, CEO of David Ross Education Trust
“We are honoured to be part of the SEEN programme, we are absolutely convinced that a deeper and wider understanding of brain science in the early years, focusing on the young people themselves, will help Trusts like ours to boost the prospects of our pupils right from the start. We see SEEN as the start of our mission to “change lives”.
Dr Karen Roberts, CEO of The Kemnal Academies Trust
“The earliest years of children’s lives are critical and we are delighted to support this crucial work in widening the understanding of children’s early development and are excited by its potential impact.”
Tim Coulson, Chief Executive, Unity Schools Partnership
Find out more about the SEEN Programme here.