Blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan has welcomed the inclusion of stem cell donation in new Health Education guidelines. Plans set out this week by the Education Secretary Damian Hinds MP confirm that, from September 2020, all secondary school pupils across England have the opportunity to learn about stem cell donation.
Henny Braund, Chief Executive of Anthony Nolan said:
'We are delighted that the Department for Education has included stem cell donation in its new Health Education guidelines.
'We know that young people currently have a very mixed understanding of what stem cell donation is and what it involves. With an average of 550,000 students in each year group, the new guidelines will go a long way to tackling this – by equipping young people with the scientific facts, it will help them to make a properly informed decision about joining the stem cell donor register in later life, which they are eligible to do from the age of 16.
'With nearly ten years’ experience of educating young people about stem cell, blood and organ donation, we look forward to supporting the Department for Education with the practical implementation of the guidelines.'
Nick Gibb, Minister for School Standards, said:
'Stem cell transplants save lives and everyone should be armed with the facts about this important science. That’s why earlier this week we set out bold new plans to make health education compulsory for all state-funded schools.
'The new curriculum spans both physical and mental wellbeing and covers a wide range of topics – including stem cell donation and blood and organ donation – to ensureyoung people leave school with all the knowledge they need to make informed choices throughout their lives.'
Publication of the guidelines follows an extensive call for evidence and three-month consultation, which received more than 11,000 responses from leading charities – including Anthony Nolan – teaching unions and subject associations.
This week’s news only applies to secondary school pupils in England. Stem cell donation is not a formal part of the curriculum in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, but Anthony Nolan continues to pursue opportunities to raise awareness and improve understanding of stem cell donation amongst young people in the Devolved Nations.