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The Oxford SEEN (Secondary Education around Early Neurodevelopment) project developed Key Stage 3 (11–14 year olds) science lesson content about the importance of the early years for lifelong health and evaluated its impact on students' knowledge of the neuroscience and practical application to a real-world scenario. A mixed methods approach was used collecting quantitative and qualitative data from students and staff using pre- and post-lesson surveys and focus groups. Data were analysed from 2767 students from 20 schools in England. The new curriculum successfully increased both student's scientific understanding and practical application of knowledge about neurodevelopment and the role of the caregiver. students’ mean multiple choice question scores (assessing knowledge) were higher post-lesson compared to pre-lesson; this increase was consistent across gender and year group. The post-lesson and 6–8-week follow-up scores were similar, indicating a retention in students' knowledge. Students were also asked how they would care for a 2-year-old child to promote brain development; before the lessons 89% of students provided no or a basic level answer, but after the lessons 50% of students provided detailed or advanced comments. The lessons were feasible and acceptable; both teachers and students stated the curriculum should be taught to other students. Qualitative analyses indicated that the lessons inspired the curiosity of both teachers and students and were perceived to impact on students' interaction with children in their current lives and their future career choices. The Oxford SEEN curriculum could serve as a foundation to build community-wide knowledge about the importance of the early years, with the aim of enhancing mental and physical health outcomes for future generations.

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Journal article


Curriculum Journal

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