19 October 2018
ITV are working with a charity called Coppafeel! to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month and chose to film and interview teachers, parents and students from St Mary’s because of their involvement in an educational pilot scheme with the charity. Coppafeel! was founded by Kris Hallenga, who was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer at the age of 23, and her twin sister, Maren. The aim of the charity is to promote the message, specifically to young people, that identifying cancer early offers a higher chance of recovering and surviving.
Mrs Taylor, Head of Support for Learning and PSHCE Lead for KS4 at St Mary’s, became involved with Coppafeel! and in 2015 worked on a national pilot scheme, called #RethinkCancer, to educate the St Mary’s KS4 learners about breast cancer and to encourage self-checking behaviours from an early age. The scheme aimed to research the value of including cancer education onto the curriculum. The positive benefits of the pilot were presented to the government in 2016 and as a direct result of the research, the government have announced that health education, including topics relating to preventing cancer and self-examination, is to become compulsory in all schools from September 2020. This was a monumental achievement for the work of those at #RethinkCancer and Coppafeel!, and Mrs Taylor was proud to have been involved in the pilot of 16 schools that were instrumental in providing the persuasive evidence of the benefits of spreading the message.
Mrs Taylor is now a member of Coppafeel!’s Education Advisory Group, with the remit to develop a set of lessons and resources which Coppafeel! will produce and make freely available to schools. The resource pack, which she is developing, will support schools across the country to fulfil their statutory duties under the new regulations.
Mrs Taylor commented, “It was very exciting for the students to be involved in live TV, but more importantly it was a great opportunity to continue to drive the message that self-checking from an early age is incredibly important. I am personally delighted to be involved in developing the resources that will enable schools to educate all children about the importance of self-examination”.