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Health and Wellbeing in Schools Project - Final Report


Key messages from the project

1. This section briefly summarises key messages from the Health and Well-being in Schools project to inform ongoing developments in promoting the health and well-being of children and young people within the Curriculum for Excellence cohort. Following a general key message for all stakeholders, the section sets out specific key messages for Scottish Government, partnerships in schools, and children, young people and their families.

Key message for all stakeholders

2. The Health and Well-being in Schools project adopted an integrated approach to engaging with all key stakeholders working with the school-age population. As the project adopted a more targeted approach based on identified need, it became apparent that a "one-size-fits-all" model is not appropriate to meet the diverse health needs of children and young people in different schools across the demonstration sites.

3. Although all children and young people receive a core programme of intervention, not all schools or communities require additional input. It very much depends on the health needs, assets and strengths of the school and community. The key message for all stakeholders moving forward into the future, therefore, is about allocating resource according to need.

Key messages for the Scottish Government

4. The health and well-being that Curriculum for Excellence aspires to achieve for children and young people is more likely to be achieved where there is strong partnership working within schools and at strategic level.

5. Many of the new models of practice initiated by the project could be sustainable within existing resource. The project showed that initiatives focusing on improving the health and well-being of school-aged children and young people within the Curriculum for Excellence cohort (aged 3-18 years) and their families, particularly at key transition stages, can be implemented within schools without injections of additional funding. These initiatives involve using existing resources differently, rather than introducing new resources.

6. Even though a specific project or intervention may have a defined discrete purpose - reducing obesity, increasing physical activity or improving mental health and well-being, for example - it can also have unanticipated beneficial effects in terms of reducing health inequalities, increasing social inclusion and developing parenting skills.

Key messages for partnerships in schools

7. The Getting it Right for Every Child programme provides the key trigger and a common language to support integrated working at school level.

8. Strong, visionary leadership is required to drive improvements at school level. Good strategic support and clinical leadership is necessary to influence practice development and support staff through the process of change.

9. Local steering groups focusing on the health and well-being of the school-age population can provide strong support for change and improvement at strategic and operational levels in schools.

10. There are benefits in providing appropriate-level training on appropriate topics for appropriate staff, such as support workers undertaking the children and young people's health and well-being course at Robert Gordon University.

11. Expanding the skill mix of school health teams through the introduction of support worker roles brings benefits in releasing registered practitioners to focus on providing early interventions for more vulnerable children.

12. Family support workers can have a very positive impact on the health and well-being of children and young people and their families, with teachers reporting better classroom attentiveness from children whose families were receiving such support.

13. There are benefits in health team members working in co-ordinated, integrated ways, rather than adopting a rigid discipline-specific approach. The skills a team member has to offer matters more than his or her professional group or job title.

Key messages for children, young people and their families

14. The Curriculum for Excellence health and well-being strand empowers children, young people and their families by enabling them to benchmark how individual schools are addressing health and well-being needs. This in turn enables children, young people and their families to support positive initiatives and challenge outmoded or inappropriate practice.

15. The project highlights the importance to children, young people and their families of transitions. They should be aware that the project's strong focus on transitions was born of an understanding that early interventions around transitions are beneficial in ensuring that potential and existing problems do not become long-term problems that could hinder the child's development and future prospects.