The long-term consequences of preterm birth: what do teachers know?

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2015 Jun;57(6):571-7. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.12683. Epub 2015 Jan 14.


Aim: The knowledge and information needs of education professionals were assessed to determine how prepared they feel to support the growing number of preterm children entering schools today.

Method: In a national survey, 585 teachers and 212 educational psychologists completed the Preterm Birth-Knowledge Scale (PB-KS) to assess knowledge of outcomes following preterm birth. Total scores (range 0-33) were compared between groups and the impact of demographic characteristics on knowledge was analysed. Training and information needs were also assessed.

Results: Teaching staff (mean 14.7, SD 5.5) had significantly lower knowledge scores than educational psychologists (mean 17.1, SD 5.0; p<0.001); both had significantly lower scores than neonatal clinicians surveyed previously (mean 26.0, SD 3.6; p<0.001). Education professionals' poorest areas of knowledge related to the most frequent adverse outcomes following preterm birth. Only 16% of teaching staff had received training about preterm birth and more than 90% requested more information. Having a special educational needs role and being employed at least 16 years were associated with higher knowledge scores.

Interpretation: Education professionals have poor knowledge of the needs of children born preterm and most feel ill-equipped to support them in school. As teachers have primary responsibility for providing long-term support for children born preterm, this is of significant public health and educational concern.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Faculty / standards*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychology / standards
  • Psychology, Educational / standards
  • Time Factors