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Highgate is delighted to announce that its new testicular health lesson pack, created by Vicky Stubbs (former Highgate PSHE lead) and NHS Barts Health Urology Network, has been awarded the PSHE Association quality mark.

As a result, the lesson plan will be sent out to over 27,000 schools and educational partners to teach young people about the main signs and symptoms of testicular torsion and testicular cancer.

“A couple of years ago, I was approached by Professor James Green – a parent and NHS Urology consultant – about the need to educate boys on the subject of testicular torsion,” Vicky explains. “Research had identified that many testes were lost due to delays in presentation to the NHS. Boys and young men didn’t realise that torsion symptoms required urgent action and were waiting too long before going to hospital.”

“Drawing on the expertise of the NHS, we worked in partnership to create a lesson that would teach pupils to recognise the symptoms of testicular torsion and testicular cancer, and to understand what action they should take if concerned.  We sought pupil feedback at Highgate and many boys said they found the lesson clear and useful, so I’m delighted it has been awarded the PSHE Association Quality Mark, which will see it recommended nationally as a valuable teaching resource’. 

Damage caused by testicular torsion is the leading cause of orchidectomy – the medical procedure to remove a testicle (ball) – among school aged boys.

Medical research indicates that prompt action in the event of potential torsion symptoms would save nearly every testis from torsion damage, protecting the future fertility of hundreds of men. Similarly, early diagnosis and rapid treatment of testicular cancer almost always results in a complete cure.

The lessons were trialled and refined with pupil input at Highgate and now run every year as part of the school’s PSHE programme. Alongside the lesson pack from Highgate School and NHS Barts Health Urology Network, there are website resources including videos and further information.

Jenny Fox, PSHE Association Senior Subject Specialist, says: “We’re delighted to award our Quality Mark to these resources on the important topic of testicular health — where education can make a such a significant impact on health outcomes for young people. The lessons empower young men to make healthy choices, recognise warning signs of health concerns and seek help should they need it.”

Vicky Stubbs’ article for Independent Schools Magazine (p.8), explains the project in more depth.