The Stephen Hawking Foundation has launched free critical-thinking learning tools for schools to support discussion around the topic of vaccinations.
The Are Vaccines Safe project has been created in collaboration with schools, research institutions and community representatives to provide teachers with accurate scientific information on many of the most frequently asked question around the on-going Covid-19 vaccination programme.
The materials include tools such as PowerPoint presentations to be used in assemblies and lessons to help students discuss their concerns around Covid-19 jabs - with the hope of tackling hesitancy amongst many young people and various communities.
Ed Stubbs, a science teacher at Morpeth School in East London’s Globe Town, came up with the initial idea after noticing his pupils becoming increasingly fearful of vaccinations.
He said: “Some of my students and their families refuse their school vaccinations. I hear incorrect and ‘conspiracy’ information shared in my classroom.
“I fear that students’ real and fictional concerns increase UK vaccine hesitancy.
“The charged and often accusatory debate about vaccination choices can make young people feel hesitant about voicing their concerns and seeking help in debunking false information.
“They fear critical judgment over their doubts. I decided to create a set of unbiased resources for use in schools.”
The Stephen Hawking Foundation has worked with staff at Morpeth School to develop the resources.
The project has been endorsed by campaigners, as well as the UK’s largest teaching union, the NEU, which will promote the resources to members, and the race equality think tank the Runnymede Trust.
Lucy Hawking, chair of the Stephen Hawking Foundation's Trustees and the professor’s daughter, said: “Initial feedback shows a warm reception by educators in the UK and, as we hoped, is a useful and productive resource for schools to give students a chance to explore issues around vaccination through asking questions and providing accurate, scientific answers.”
Access the 'Are Vaccines Safe?' PowerPoint for free here.