Bradley Stoke Community School

Dove/UWE are carrying out a research project covering body image and self esteem

Dear Parent/Guardian,


Within the Centre for Appearance Research at the University of the West of England (UWE), we are conducting an exciting new research project that aims to improve the body image and self-esteem of children throughout the United Kingdom and overseas. 

Your child’s school, Bradley Stoke Community School, has agreed to participate in this research project. We are now writing to ask for your permission to involve your child in this project.

The issue:


Body image is one of the leading concerns for young people in the United Kingdom. Global research shows that low body confidence holds young people back from reaching their full potential, with over 60 per cent of girls avoiding activities they love because they feel bad about their looks. This includes important life activities like trying out for teams and clubs, putting their hand up in the classroom, dancing and swimming, going to parties and even giving an opinion. When girls and boys choose not to participate fully in this way, they are missing out on opportunities to grow and develop their capabilities in other ways, and we as a society miss out.


The Centre for Appearance Research & the Dove Self Esteem Project:


The Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) is based at UWE and was established in 1992. CAR is a thriving research centre with more than 25 academics and researchers who are committed to making a real difference to the lives of the millions of people with appearance-related concerns both in the United Kingdom and across the world. CAR is internationally regarded as a centre of excellence for psychological and interdisciplinary research in body image, appearance, disfigurement and related studies. CAR has an excellent track record of working in successful collaborative partnership with schools in the Bristol, Bath and Gloucestershire regions on innovative and exciting body image projects.


The Dove Self-Esteem Project was founded in 2004 to ensure the next generation of women grow up to be happy and content, free from misconstrued beauty stereotypes and the burden of self-doubt. It delivers self-esteem education to children (both girls and boys) aged 8-16 years old through lessons in schools and workshops for youth groups. It also provides activities for parents online. Dove’s aim is to improve the self-esteem of over 15 million young people by 2015. So far, Dove has reached over 13 million young people with self-esteem education.


In 2014, the Centre for Appearance Research is commencing a research project to support the development of the Dove Self Esteem Project’s new world-leading healthy body image programme for girls and boys aged 11-14 in secondary schools. The results of this research will help to maximise the ability of this program to positively impact the lives of young people in more than 20 countries across the world. We are excited to invite the Year 7 and Year 8 students and teachers at Bradley Stoke Community School to take part in this research project.



What would the research project involve?


With the permission of your child’s school, we are inviting all students from Year 7 and Year 8 at Bradley Stoke Community School to participate in a fun and interactive 90-minute body image lesson.


The lesson will be delivered in your child’s classroom by body image experts from the Centre for Appearance Research, who are experienced in delivering body image lessons in schools and conducting research with young people.


The lesson content is based upon an existing world-leading evidence-based body image program, which has been shown to improve girls’ and boys’ body image in studies conducted in the UK and Australia. The lesson addresses factors such as the media, friendship, communication, and other influences that can affect young people’s body image and self-esteem.


In order to gather information on how we can further enhance this lesson, we will invite your child and their classmates to complete series of brief questionnaires three times over a period of three months to gather their feedback on the lesson and to evaluate its impact on their body image and well-being. We will also ask a small group of students (i.e., approximately 10 students) and their teachers to participate in a short focus group to discuss their experiences of taking part in the lesson in more detail.


Our research team have CRB (DBS) checks and have training and experience in conducting body image research with young people.  We are happy to email you copies of the questionnaires and the body image lesson plan if you would like to view its contents in more detail before deciding if you would like your child to take part.


What are the possible benefits of taking part?


The possible benefits of completing this study include your child learning about some very important issues concerning the media, friendship, communication, and other influences that can affect young people’s body image and self-esteem. Additionally, most students report that they find these types of lessons interesting and enjoyable. There is also research evidence to show that taking part in activities like the ones included in this body image lesson, has a positive impact of young people’s well-being.


In recognition of your child’s school’s contribution to this research project and the ongoing development of a world-leading body image programme for secondary schools, Bradley Stoke Community School will receive the following benefits:


  • A generous monetary donation towards equipment or resources as a sign of our gratitude.
  • 2 hours of complimentary in-person staff development and training on body image for your  teachers at your child’s school. The training will be delivered by body image experts from the Centre for Appearance Research and will equip teachers with the resources and confidence to deliver the Dove Self Esteem Project’s new body image lesson following the conclusion of this research.
  • A detailed report summarising the results of the research, with a particular focus on students’ responses from your child’s school. 
  • A certificate of body image excellence from the University of the West of England and the Dove Self Esteem Project.
  • Ongoing free access to body image lesson plans and teacher resources from the Dove Self Esteem Project.


What are the possible disadvantages of taking part?


Any participation in research can raise sensitive issues, but also positive insights. It is entirely your child’s choice as to what they want to share with the researchers. We will reassure your child that there are no right or wrong answers and that no judgements will be made on the basis of what they write. Similar questionnaires to the one that will be used in this study have been widely used by researchers within the Centre for Appearance Research with other children in this age group. To date, there have been no students which have exhibited distress after completing these measures.


We do not anticipate that taking part in the body image lesson will cause your child distress. In the unlikely event that this occurs, support strategies will be put in place with your child’s school. However, based upon our research to date with other young people, we fully expect that it will have a positive impact on them.


What about confidentiality?


The information your child gives us will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality. Your child will be assigned a unique participation code and their name and identity will never be connected to their responses. Information that would make it possible to identify your child or any other child will never be included in any sort of report. Their responses will be written up and the data may be published in an academic journal or elsewhere and although direct quotes from your child may be used in a paper or report, their name and identifying information will be kept anonymous. The data will only be accessible to those working on the project.


Does my child have to take part?


No. Your child’s participation in this research is entirely voluntary. They have the right to answer as many or as few questions as they wish. They also have the right to opt out of the lesson and/or withdraw from the study at any time by informing their teacher. They will not need to provide a reason for opting out. An alternative activity will be arranged for them and they will not be penalised in any way. Please note that even if you give permission for your child to participate in this research project, your child is free to refuse to participate.


What do I have to do next?


We would be very grateful if you provide consent for your child to take part in this study. If you decide that you are happy for your child to take part in the research then you do not need to return a consent form for him/her.


If you do not wish for your child to take part, please complete the opt-out consent form and return it to the school or please email or phone the school directly to let them know. The research and lesson will be carried out sometime during the week commencing the 6 May 2014. So please make sure you have opted out prior to this, by 2 May 2014.


Contact for Further Information


If you would like further information about this study, or have any other questions, please contact Dr Rebecca Steer at Centre for Appearance Research, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, University of the West of England, Frenchay Campus, Bristol, BS16 1QY, email


Thank you for taking the time to read this information sheet.


OPT OUT RETURN SLIP: Please return this slip to your class teacher by (02/05/14)


I do not wish for my child ………………………………………….(please print name) in class……………………………. to take part in the body image research project organised by the Centre for Appearance Research.


Signed…………………………………........................ (Parent/Guardian)  Date……………………………........………….


Print name……………………………………..............  (Parent/Guardian)