07 September 2021

Secondary school pupils to learn about blood, organ and stem cell donation

07 September 2021

Pupils in secondary schools in England will learn about blood, organ and stem cell donation after the topics were added to the national curriculum.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) said it hopes the lessons can help raise awareness among young people about donating and ultimately help save more lives.

The organisation – which is responsible for blood donation in England, organ donation across the UK and the British Bone Marrow Registry – said it had worked with the Department for Education the Anthony Nolan charity and others to compile resources.

The notes are available online and have been put together so that teacher preparation is minimal, NHSBT said.

Without incredible young donors, Anthony Nolan simply couldn’t keep saving lives

Schools can also avail of optional extra activities including requesting a speaker on the topic to present at an assembly.

Alex Cullen, head of marketing at NHSBT, said: “We’re delighted that donation is now part of the national curriculum, young people can make such a difference, by donating but also by talking to their family and friends about donation and encouraging others to become lifesavers.

“We see considering the types of donation as a rite of passage to becoming an adult, these lessons will allow pupils to discuss donation and empower them to make their own informed decision. If young people support donation after learning about it, we know they can be hugely influential and can help advocate for us and ultimately help us save more lives.

“We’re excited to be working with teachers to educate 11 to 16-year-olds about donation and would encourage teachers to check out our free resources to help them with these lessons. We know young people can save lives too but also inspire others around to think about the gifts they can give.”

Terence Lovell, chief engagement and marketing officer at Anthony Nolan, said: “Every day, our schools and universities programmes make young people aware of their lifesaving potential and encourage them to make an informed choice about joining the stem cell donor register.

“We are delighted to have collaborated with NHS Blood and Transplant to produce these teaching resources, which will provide young people with an introduction to altruistic donation and enable them to start important conversations with their families and friends.

“Without incredible young donors, Anthony Nolan simply couldn’t keep saving lives.”

People can become a blood donor and stem cell donor through NHSBT at the age of 17, if they meet certain criteria. For more information visit https://www.blood.co.uk/who-can-give-blood/.

The Department for Education introduced the new relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) curriculum which became mandatory in September 2020, with the aim of pupils knowing about the science relating to blood, organ and stem cell donation by the end of secondary school.

Following disruption to education in the last school year due to the pandemic, the curriculum is now expected to be implemented in full.

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