Information for Teachers

What is the PRISM-2 Study?

Child in Study

Each year, around 13,000 babies are born very prematurely (before 32 weeks of gestation) in England alone. Being born very premature can have long term effects on a child’s development, particularly with regard to their learning and attainment in school. One particular area of schooling that many premature children find especially difficult is mathematics. To help us find ways to provide appropriate support in the classroom for premature children who struggle with mathematics, we need to study their mathematics skills in detail. This is what the PRISM-2 Study aims to do.

Who is taking part in the PRISM-2 Study?

The PRISM-2 Study is being carried out in the East Midlands and in London. We are inviting secondary school children who were born very prematurely to take part in the study. For each premature child participating in the study, we are also inviting a classmate who was born at term (i.e., close to their due date) to take part. These children will form a comparison group so we can compare the cognitive and mathematics skills of premature and non-premature children and find out whether the skills that are related to success in mathematics are the same for all children.

What will the children in the PRISM-2 study be asked to do?

One of our researchers will visit the children in school for a day. During the day the children will be asked to take part in number of different activities to assess academic attainment, mathematics skills, working memory, attention and visuo-spatial skills. The children will not be given any medical examinations or invasive tests. When we have seen all the children in the study, we will compare the results of the assessments between the groups of children who were born prematurely and at term. Children will NOT be compared as individuals.

What will the school need to do?

If your head teacher has agreed to support this study we will send a PRISM-2 Study researcher to carry out an assessment in school. This will last for one day and will be organised around the regular school day in order that the children are given all their school breaks and lunch time as usual. We will give the children additional breaks if they become tired during the assessment. The study assessment will not affect the school day in any way except that the children will not be present in classroom lessons for one day.

Will I need to do anything as the teacher of a child in the PRISM-2 Study?

We have asked parents to give their consent for us to ask their child’s form tutor for some information about the children’s academic attainment and classroom behaviour. This will involve completing a short questionnaire for each of the children taking part.

Will I be given the results of the children’s tests?

After the study assessment, we will send the parents a letter detailing their child’s test results. We will send the parents two copies of the feedback report so that they may give one to the school if they feel it would be useful for you to have this information.

What will you do with all the information collected?

The data we collect will be treated in the strictest confidence and it will not be divulged to anyone outside the study team. When we have analysed the results we hope to publish them in medical, psychology and educational journals. We will also send a report detailing the results of the study to all of the schools that helped with the study. We hope you will find this interesting.

Has this study been approved by any regulatory bodies?

This study has been reviewed by three independent experts in the field and has been approved by the UK NHS Research Ethics Committee. The study is being funded by Action Medical Research – one of the leading UK-wide medical research charities dedicated to helping babies and children.

How can I obtain more information about the study?

If you would like any further information about the study or the study team please do not hesitate to contact us.