The Cancer and school life resource contains advice and a lesson plan which can be used by teachers in a school where a pupil has been diagnosed with cancer. The pack also includes a DVD featuring children who have had cancer and their school friends speaking about their experiences.
The pack has been designed to help teachers communicate confidently with schoolchildren about childhood cancer as well as help pupils understand the illness and how they can support their classmate. The pack contains details of a teaching session, information about childhood cancer and treatment, and guidance on how to deliver the session and answer any questions from pupils which might arise.
There is an age-appropriate version of the pack and DVD for primary and secondary schools.
The resources were developed in response to research carried out by CLIC Sargent into the impact of cancer on children and young people’s education. The findings were published in two reports: No child with cancer left out and No teenager with cancer left out, which found cancer can significantly disrupt a child’s education. Only 56% of parents of children who returned to school after treatment for cancer felt their child had received sufficient support to enable them to resume as normal an education as possible.
The social impact of childhood cancer is also profound. Almost half (47%) of parents said that their child had grown apart from their friends because of their cancer diagnosis and treatment, whilst more than one in three (35%) said their child had experienced bullying or teasing from their peers.
CLIC Sargent worked together with schools, parents and children to develop the guidance, which is tailored specifically for teachers who face the challenging task of discussing childhood cancer in school.
Heidi Otranen, Headteacher of All Saints CE Primary School in Bishop Stortford, said: “All Saints is proud to have been involved in the development of the Cancer and school life pack. It can be difficult for students to know how to support a friend who is unwell, but this new resource will provide valuable guidance to teachers and pupils alike.”
Dara de Burca, Director of Services at CLIC Sargent, said: “We know from our research that school communities play a crucial role in ensuring that children with cancer and their families receive the best support possible. This new resource pack is a much needed and important tool for teachers working in a school where a child has been diagnosed with cancer, and is the only one of its kind in the UK.
“CLIC Sargent care professionals go into schools where a child has been diagnosed with cancer to deliver assemblies and help the school ensure the child is receiving the best educational provision possible. We believe that this new pack will work alongside this service, and also help schools that cannot receive a visit from a CLIC Sargent care professional.
“It is incredibly important that children and teenagers with cancer have the support of their friends and classmates, as well as their school. As well as offering support to teachers, the guidance is designed to help reduce the sense of isolation children with cancer may feel by showing pupils how they can be there for their friend at this difficult time.”
Order the Cancer and School life pack
CLIC Sargent is also campaigning to ensure that children and young people with cancer receive the high quality of education they deserve, and is working with local authorities to achieve this. For more information please visit the policy and influencing pages.