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ENTHUSE Partnership to benefit from York Against Cancer funding

Published: Dec 2, 2020 3 min read

STEM learning

York Against Cancer is the latest charity to back our ENTHUSE Partnerships Programme.  The grant for £20,000 will support six local schools and help to spread key cancer awareness and prevention messages in the district. 

During the partnership, biology teachers from the schools will work on their professional development in areas relating to cancer.

One aspect will be teacher placements with the research scientists from the Jack Birch Unit at the University of York. York Against Cancer funds a £1.3m research programme for the JBU to investigate bladder cancer.

The partnership will see teachers and research scientists working together for the first time to devise teaching modules to enhance schoolchildren’s education. Schoolchildren will even get the chance of practical experience of the University of York’s state-of-the-art teaching laboratories in the Department of Biology.

The partnership focuses on biology and health education. In biology, giving teachers new resources to explain complex processes such as mitosis (the process of cell division that becomes unregulated in cancers) could help communicate difficult concepts. Other work might explore DNA; the difference between benign and malignant conditions; and cancer risk factors.

The partnership will also assist teachers to educate pupils about sun exposure and skin cancer; healthy lifestyles and weight; the link between inactivity and cancer; tobacco and lung cancer; the benefits of screening and self-examination; and immunisation and vaccination.

Dr Simon Baker, Deputy Director of the JBU, explained why he was spearheading the ENTHUSE Partnership for York Against Cancer as a member of the charity’s Education and Awareness Committee.

“Half of current students will get cancer in their lifetimes,” he said. “Cancer incidence is on the rise generally in the UK, with children’s cancers going up 15 per cent since the ‘90s.

“One child in 500 will get cancer before the age of 14 and UK cancer rates are higher than in 90 per cent of the world.  Despite these statistics, very few adults understand the basic biology of cancer or feel comfortable talking about it. We can change that.”

Fran Dainty, Head of Education at the National STEM Learning Centre, said: “I am delighted to welcome York Against Cancer to join our ENTHUSE Partnership supporters. The Partnership will focus on raising awareness of cancer prevention, strengthening the vital work York Against Cancer does in the local area.

“It will also help STEM Learning’s mission to change the lives of thousands of young people, nurturing future talent for crucial STEM skills.”

As well as handing students vital life lessons in cancer awareness, the partnership seeks to engage lower-attaining pupils with science and help them improve their results. Young ‘role model’ researchers from the University of York will visit schools to talk to students about cancer-related topics and careers such as cancer research, which are often overlooked. It’s expected that participation in the project will enhance the CVs of students and teachers alike.

The schools will also build links with York Against Cancer, with the charity conducting assemblies, running after-school clubs or helping schools hold awareness and fundraising events.

York Against Cancer is a local charity helping local people affected by cancer. It provides care and support for patients and their families in York and North Yorkshire, fund pioneering cancer research and provide cancer awareness education and information. Their work is funded by fundraising and donations.  Please visit them at www.yorkagainstcancer.org.uk to find out more.

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