Teacher Guidance: Talking about Body Image

Guidance released supports teachers in talking about body image with pupils

FeatureBodyImageResourcePoor body image can significantly affect health and wellbeing, and is an obstacle to effective learning, participation, aspirations and attainment. Recent research clearly indicates that negative body image is common amongst school-aged children:

  • over half of girls and a quarter of boys think their peers have body image problems
  • between one third and half of young girls fear becoming fat and engage in dieting or binge-eating
  • girls as young as 5 years old are worried about the way they look and their size
  • one in four 7-year-old girls has tried to lose weight at least once
  • one third of young boys aged 8–12 are dieting to lose weight.

Schools are in an excellent position to support children and young people in the development of improved body confidence and self-esteem as part of their ongoing curriculum of PSHE education, and a new publication released by the PSHE Association and the UK Government Equalities Office supports teachers in discussing issues around Body Image with their pupils. The guidance, aimed at all levels of schooling, was compiled by Dr Pooky Knightsmith, with support from Olivia Jardine and colleagues at the PSHE Association.

The guidance is packed with ideas and resources to support talking about the important issues, which includes project resources, schemes of work, toolkits, and the “Your Body is Brilliant: Body Respect for Children” book written by Sigrun Danielsdottir.

Speaking about the resource, Dr Pooky Knightsmith said…

“The PSHE curriculum has a valuable role to play in helping young people to improve their personal resilience to body image pressures, and in doing so to become more confident and effective learners. This guidance offers teachers practical advice on how to do so safely and confidently.

“In putting this guidance together, we drew upon the advice of over 350 teachers as well as focus groups of experts and young people. We are extremely grateful to them for their help in supporting the development of this project.”

The PDF is a free download, and available by clicking here, or the image below…



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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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