Making Sense of Health was developed to promote the education of young people via the National Curriculum about the management of health, empowering informed decisions, maintaining their health status and how to use health services responsibly, as well as encouraging them to consider careers in health care.
It is a comprehensive health education resource providing imaginative and impartial health education and training for teachers, parents and students in primary and secondary education, particularly at Key Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4 within the National Curriculum.
After an initial pilot the programme was rolled out to over 500 schools in England and Wales. The formal evaluation by the Open University, led by Professor Patricia Murphy, Director of Pedagogy, Learning and Curriculum Research Group, found clear evidence of attitudinal and behavioural change as well as changes in knowledge and understanding.
"My team at the Open University has been working closely with a school education programme called 'Making Sense of Health', which supports the national curriculum. We have formally evaluated the programme and have found clear evidence of being able to effect a change in attitude to drinking among young people.
Gains in learning about sex, body changes, and relationship issues were a positive outcome of the evaluation of the Puberty and Relationship resources. Many students reported increases in their comfort in talking about sensitive issues, and in their understanding of peer pressure and how to resist it."
Professor Patricia Murphy, Director, Pedagogy, Learning and Curriculum Research Group, The Open University
Another major element is a health guide for students, Health Problems and How To Deal with Them, which is disseminated as both printed (for secondary schools) and web-based (for all), is targeted at three age groups – 5 to 11, 11 to 14 and 14 to 16 years old – and deals with approximately twenty common conditions and health worries for each of the three age groups, covering diagnosis, advice and treatment. The text is also available to teachers and parents.