How to support your premature child at school webinar now available to watch

Webinar for parents or carers with premature babies available to watch

A webinar with useful information for parents and carers of prematurely born children is now available to view

The webinar, which took place earlier this summer, was a collaboration between the University and The Smallest Things charity and aimed to provide useful information to parents on how best to support their premature child at school.

Professor of child development at the University, Samantha Johnson, was among those who contributed to the event.

She said: “It was wonderful to see so many people joining us for the webinar but we realise it might have been difficult for some parents and carers to be there on the day. This edited version means that all those who missed out can catch up.”

The Smallest Things founder Catriona Ogilvy added: “We know that starting school can be a big step in the journey for families after neonatal care, and many parents worry about the lasting impact of premature birth. The webinar, now available and ready to watch, provides lots of information for parents which they can use throughout their child’s educational journey. 

“As well as hearing about the latest research into educational needs of children born prematurely and how schools can be ready to support them, the webinar features teachers speaking about the steps they have taken in their schools to become ‘Prem Aware’ and includes presentations from parents about their experiences of school for their premature children.”

The Smallest Things is a premature baby charity which supports families after neonatal intensive care and seeks to improve the long-term outcomes of children born prematurely. 

The charity’s ‘Prem Aware’ Award for schools helps to raise awareness of the impact of prematurity on development and learning and supports schools to recognise and meet the learning needs that some children born prematurely may have. It promotes the use of the ‘Preterm Birth Information for Educational Professionals’, a free online training resource developed by Professor Samantha Johnson and her colleagues in the PRISM (Premature Infants’ Skills in Mathematics) Study Team.

Parents felt ready to advocate for and support their premature children after the event said  
Christina, parent to a child born at 25 weeks gestation.

She added: “I found it extremely informative and inspiring, and plan to contact my daughter's nursery and future school to raise awareness. The content was accessible and actionable, leaving me feeling equipped to advocate for my daughter to highlight possible needs in her future education.”

In the UK alone, around 50,000 babies are born preterm each year – before 37 weeks of gestation. Although not all will have special educational needs, some may require additional support at school and in the early years.