For many years I have spoken about the need for teachers to be aware of children born prematurely, and the range of learning needs these children present in all classrooms in all settings at all ages and stages.
Indeed, evidence for the Complex Learning Difficulties and Disabilities Research Project ( Carpenter et al 2011,;2015) showed that children born prematurely, were presenting profiles of learning need the likes of which we, as teachers , had never seen before. They were re-writing the Special Needs Registers of our schools.
In training I always advise teachers and school leaders to ask on the admission forms of every school (secondary included!)
“Is there anything in the birth history of this child that we need to know?”
This new resource for educational professionals, developed by Professor Samantha Johnson and her colleagues at Leicester University, now articulates through easy to access , high quality research and practice evidence, why we need a fuller and deeper understanding of how children born prematurely will learn and progress in our school system ,and what some of their learning challenges may be.
The e-learning resource can be accessed online for free here:
It was supported in its development by Action Medical Research .
There is also a podcast with the editor of the TES about the development and evaluation of the resource and about the educational needs of preterm born children more broadly.
This can be accessed here if you would like to listen:
Teachers need to be vigilant in monitoring children born prematurely.
This news clip from BBC Scotland highlights the importance of understanding how premature birth can impact on a child’s learning , and effective schooling.
Dr Nashwa Matta attended the Conference on this topic in London , in 2013, organised by the National Forum for Neuroscience in Special Education.
Upon her return to her post in Scotland she took the initiative to organise her own Conference to stimulate thought and debate across Professional groups on this rapidly emerging topic.
Maybe others could follow her lead?
Reports and resources on educating the prematurely born child can be found on this website using the ‘prematurity’ tag
This recent article in the NASEN publication ‘Special’ by Professor Barry Carpenter and Jo Egerton focuses on the leadership challenges faced when meeting the needs of learners with complex needs