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Gayton Church of England Primary Academy awarded Prem Aware status

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Gayton Church of England Primary Academy part of DNEAT has received an award for the steps they have taken to support the educational and social developmental needs of children born prematurely.

On average, there will be two to three children in every typical classroom who will have been born prematurely (before 37 weeks). While premature birth does not automatically mean that children will have additional educational needs, research tells us that it does increase the chances that they will require extra support.

Lisa Harward Bird, a parent at Gayton Church of England Primary Academy helped to bring about the changes to support pupils born prematurely said: “Being a mum of two boys, who were both premature, I am always worried about their development and whether they will require any additional educational needs. When I found out about The Smallest Things Charity and that on average, two to three children in every classroom is born prematurely I wanted to speak up. I shared the Prem Aware School Award details with my boys’ school and was so delighted when they contacted me to say they had completed the training and steps to achieve the award. I can only thank Gayton Primary Academy. This is such a positive step for the school and teaching teams and will really ease the anxieties, parents of premature babies face.”

Gayton Primary Academy met all three of the charity’s Prem Aware requirements to gain the award: undertaking the free PRISM e-learning training for staff; adapting their admission and registration forms to ask parents specifically about premature birth history, and requesting feedback from parents on any extra support provided.

Jo Edwards, Gayton Primary Academy Early Years Leader said: “The training was very useful and will impact our everyday practice. We are now equipped to recognise and support those born prematurely with the strategies suggested. As a whole team we were surprised to learn that children find maths particularly challenging. We will use our new knowledge to support the children in our school and for their lifelong learning.”

Becoming a Prem Aware School teaching staff at Gayton Primary will now have a better understanding of the lasting effects of premature birth, be able to identify issues early and provide the practical and emotional support children may need on their education journey.

 Catriona Ogilvy, founder of The Smallest Things, welcomed the news said: “This is a great achievement  for families and children born prematurely and we are delighted to award Gayton Primary Academy with our Prem Aware Award. Our own parent survey revealed that nine out of 10 parents of children born prematurely felt there was a need for more awareness and understanding in schools. Having trained teachers who know what to look out for and how to help, will make a big difference to children in the classroom. We hope this will inspire other schools in the area and right across the UK to become Prem Aware too.”

Rachael Greenhalgh Executive Head Teacher of Middleton and Gayton Church of England Primary Academies said: “I am delighted that our school has received this award. Around one in ten babies are born prematurely. Part of this award was ensuring that our staff are aware of which families are affected by this so that we can ensure the appropriate support is put in place.”