Amplifying young voices on health inequalities: New lessons for KS3-5

Jul 6, 2022 4:09:14 PM

Our recent summer conference saw the launch of empowering, research-informed lesson plans for Key Stage 3-5 to accompany A fair and equal opportunity to enjoy good health: A Young People’s Toolkit from the Association for Young People’s Health (AYPH). We developed the lessons following research funded by the NIHR School for Public Health Research with researchers from the University of Sheffield, Fuse (University of Durham and Newcastle) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, working with AYPH and a range of youth organisations.

The statutory guidance for Relationships & Sex Education and Health education (RSHE) requires that schools teach young people about various factors that help keep people healthy, including physical exercise, healthier food choices, and good quality sleep. However, young people and communities can experience barriers to the ’building blocks for health’ that support these factors, such as whether they have safe spaces to socialise and participate in physical activity and the accessibility and cost of buying and preparing a range of healthier food choices.

These free lesson plans amplify the voices of young people in sharing what they feel is important for other young people to know about health inequalities. They include teacher guidance to create a safe learning environment for further exploration of the strategies from the toolkit. The lessons also help young people identify and challenge health-related stigma, for example, stigma perpetuated through media. Exploring this can help address the statutory requirements for students to learn about challenging stereotypes and stigma and understand how these can cause harm.

These engaging lessons will support young people to:

  • know their rights in relation to health and recognise barriers to the things that help to keep them healthy
  • identify and challenge health-related stigma
  • analyse which strategies might be most effective for individuals and communities to contribute to positive change
  • identify sources of support both now and in the future as they become more independent

The toolkit and accompanying lessons plans and animations can be found on the AYPH website alongside this great blog describing a young person’s experience of being involved the research.