About the service
The School Health and Wellbeing service is part of our integrated 0-19 service which also includes Health Visiting and FNP. We work in partnership with schools to support children, young people, and their families to ensure that pupil’s health needs are supported within their school and their community. This includes those attending a school within Tower Hamlets and those that are electively home educated.
You’re School Health and Wellbeing service is led by qualified nurses who have a Specialist Community Public Health degree and consists of Community Staff Nurses, Community Nursery Nurses, and Administrators. School Nurses work closely with a number of other services, including Education, GPs, the Voluntary Sector, Youth Services, and Children's services. This partnership working enables us to be able to signpost you to the most appropriate organisation to help you.
Support & Resources
The School Health and Wellbeing service is part of our Integrated 0 - 19 Service which also includes Health Visiting, and offers support and resources for school-aged children and young people in Tower Hamlets, working in partnership with all 90 state-funded primary and secondary schools in the borough and 36 GP practices.
The team is led by Specialist Public Health Nurses and offers a range of services on a sessional or drop-in basis, these include:-
- hearing and vision screening programmes,
- support for children with long-term health conditions in school
- support for emotional health and wellbeing
- health promotion,
- nutrition support.
We are integrating the service with our Health Visiting teams with integrated pathways and roles that support children with complex needs through their childhood.
What support is available?
Individual Health Care Plans (IHCPs) and School Management Plans (SMP)
Our school nurses support schools to manage young people with medical conditions. For example, a child or young person who has asthma, allergies, epilepsy, or eczema will have an IHCP from their specialist or GP, this needs to be brought into school to enable them to support your child. School Management Plans for any other health condition that may need short-term support in school will be decided by the school nurse in partnership with the young person, parents/carers, and other medical professionals who may be involved in the child or young person’s care. Not all children or young people with medical conditions will require an IHCP or SMP.
Drop-in sessions and school visits
Our school nurses are available for drop-in sessions during scheduled school visits for any personal queries or advice. These sessions may be for groups or individuals to support you with health advice.
We are always happy to see any child who has concerns about their health or wellbeing, whether this is emotional or physical.
Hearing & Vision Screening
We ask children to participate in hearing and vision screening when they are in reception.
Why test hearing and vision?
When a child has a hearing problem, it may not always be obvious, sometimes speech may be unclear or slow to develop and behaviour or progress at school may be affected. It is always better for any hearing loss to be identified and treated early this is why we provide a school-based hearing screening service.
Good vision is important for learning- over 80 percent of everything we learn it from what we see. Vision development is completed by the age of 8, so it is important to detect any abnormalities as early as possible so that treatment can be commenced and the problems reversed whilst the child is young.
My child appears to have normal hearing and vision, are tests really necessary?
Yes, they are! Because some problems with hearing are not easily recognised, it is important that all children have their hearing assessed soon after starting school. Children can often be longsighted or short sighted but as they have always viewed the world this way it is “normal” for them. It may be possible that there is poor vision in one eye- therefore the “good” eye is doing all the work- making it undetectable without testing. This is typical of a lazy eye- and treatment must be completed before the age of 8 otherwise the eye will remain lazy for life, thus increasing the risk of visual impairment.
What do the hearing and vision tests involve?
We check children’s hearing with a simple listening game using headphones. Vision is tested using a letter of different sizes at a standard distance. If your child does not know their letters, they will be able to use a matching system. The vision is checked in each eye separately. The school nurse will then write to you and inform you if your child passes or fails
What if my child does not pass one of these tests?
If your child does not pass the hearing test we will refer him or her to the Royal London Hospital for more detailed tests in a soundproofed room. There are several reasons why a child may not pass the test. For example, it is quite common for repeated coughs and colds to cause congestion and fluid to fill the space behind the eardrum resulting in hearing loss. Although not permanent, this type of hearing loss can still affect a child’s progress in school.
If your child does not pass the vision test, depending on the extent of vision loss, the School Health Team will arrange a direct referral to the Royal London Hospital or will advise seeing your local optician.
The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP)
We ask children to participate in the NCMP when they are in reception and again in year 6.
Frequently asked questions
Why is measurement of growth important?
Measurement of height and weight helps to ensure that children are growing properly. If they are unusually big or small there may be underlying medical conditions, or there may be problems getting them to eat a healthy diet. By measuring all children when they start school, advice on diet or referral for medical assessment can be arranged at an early stage.
My child’s growth appears normal- are these measurements really necessary?
It can be difficult to tell accurately whether a child’s weight and height are right by their age. By measuring them, and checking on the growth chart what they should be, it is easy to tell if they are tall or short or over/ underweight.
What does growth measurement involve?
The weight is measured by standing on weighing scales with shoes off. The height is measured by standing against a height measure against the wall again with shoes off. The measurements are then checked against a chart to see if they are within a healthy range.
What if my child's growth is outside healthy range?
If your child is overweight or very overweight, we will call you to offer you and your family some advice. If your child is underweight the school nurse will contact you to discuss your child’s weight in more detail.
The School Health Team currently offers the following health promotion sessions to primary and secondary schools and are available to parents/carers as well as children. The sessions provide an opportunity to learn and ask questions and include information packs and leaflets. These sessions are interactive, informative, and extremely useful!
We offer healthy eating promotion sessions for parents/carers, reception children, and students through to year 13.
We offer sessions about maintaining oral health and dental hygiene to parents/carers, reception children, and students through to year 13.
These sessions provide information and support about transitioning into primary school and from primary to secondary school. We offer these sessions to the parents/carers of children in reception and year 6.
Puberty and hygiene
We offer these information sessions to parents/carers and children in years 5 and 6.
Minor ailments/accident prevention
We offer these sessions to parents/carers of all school children.
Positive emotional health means being happy, content, and confident in yourself and your abilities. Emotional and social wellbeing is an important focus amongst children and young people as it is responsible for creating strong foundations in healthy behaviours and attitudes, educational attainment, relationships, and development.
Looking after our emotional health is just as important as looking after our physical health. Positive emotions are important for our mental wellbeing, so always try to do things that make you feel positive!
About our emotions
Sometimes it is very hard to control your emotions, especially in times of sadness or stress. This may happen when you have important exams for example. You may start to feel overwhelmed and very nervous, which may cause feelings of pressure, anxiety, and negativity. If this happens, you should take some deep breaths, take a break from studying and do something that you find relaxing or enjoyable, or simply talk to somebody who is feeling the same way as you. You may find that the exam isn’t so scary after all!
Bullying at School
If you are being bullied at school, you may find that you experience feelings of sadness, anxiety, loneliness, and low self—confidence. It is important to understand that bullying is always wrong, whether this is online, physical or emotional, and you must stand up to whoever is bullying you; you have the right to feel safe.
If you or somebody you know is being bullied, tell an adult (parent, teacher or school nurse) and they will be able to sort out the situation.
Unfortunately, there are times where we cannot change the situation that has lead to us becoming upset. This may be the case when somebody we love- a person or a pet- dies. When this happens, it is normal to feel sad, angry or worried and you may find that your family may be feeling the same way. You can find comfort in talking openly about how you feel rather than keeping your thoughts to yourself. It is important to remember that even though you will always miss your loved one, you will begin to feel better as time goes on.