Healthy Schools has changed:
Why have we changed?
Healthy Schools is part of the Health Promotion Service (HPS) within Cornwall Council’s Public Health Team. The Health Promotion Service has recently undergone a major review, and a newly-restructured service was launched on 1st September 2016.
The Healthy Schools team has become the ‘Children and Young People’s Wellbeing Team’. Support for school staff remains a key part of our work.
Because the landscape is changing all around us, Healthy Schools needed to change to ensure we are offering the most effective support. We know that schools and parents express concerns about the wellbeing of children and young people – perhaps about about mental health, the difficulties of life in the digital world, fears about increasing childhood obesity, sedentary behaviours, and poor diet, and concerns about emotional health and wellbeing.
Across Cornwall, partners are recognising the need for better support and joined-up thinking to help address these issues. Current initiatives include:
- A strategy to transform the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). This is part of the national ‘Future in Mind’ Mental Health strategy. There is an emphasis on early intervention, workforce development, and providing children and young people with good, safe information and support on-line, via a trusted, recognisable ‘single front door’.
- The Headstart Programme is helping schools to support wellbeing. Early signs are showing that it is a very successful model. ‘Headstart’ will be rolling out across Cornwall following its successful bid for Phase 3 Big Lottery funding.
- The ‘Time2Move PE, School Sport, and Wellbeing Strategy’ has been developed by schools and partners. It is already helping our children and young people to be more active during and beyond the school day.
- Healthy Schools is responding too. Our commissioners would like the team to focus our support for schools on Emotional Health and Wellbeing, and on Physical Activity, a challenge we relish.
We would really welcome your thoughts to help us. Are we providing a relevant, effective, evidence-based offer that meets your needs?
How have we changed?
We are re-organising the way we work to put a greater focus on working in localities and providing localised, tailored support. This can be for individual schools, clusters of schools, Academy and Multi-Academy Trusts, Co-operative Trusts, or other groupings. We will work much more closely on the ground with local partners, professionals, and other providers. Every school will have a named School Support Worker based in the locality, making strong links with schools and partners.
We will maintain a Universal Offer. This means our support will be available to all schools (dependent on our capacity) but there will be an element of targeting based on wellbeing needs, so some schools will be offered greater priority. All of our tools and resources, including our website, will, of course, be free to access at any time.
There will be a much greater emphasis on a Whole School Approach to wellbeing, and we can help schools to know and understand more about their health and wellbeing needs. This can be through a Wellbeing Profile of the school community, and could include a specific section highlighting the Ofsted wellbeing criteria, to show how the school is doing.
We will keep the Food in Schools award (available independently from the rest of the offer), because food across the school can be a terrific way to demonstrate the Whole School Approach.
The PADL School Councils award will continue, and has been reviewed. You are now able to log in and submit an award application. As part of the review, a PADL award application will include a visit to your school council.
The current route to gaining the Healthy Schools award has been re-configured. We have replaced the Annual Audit with an optional, simpler, more flexible, Self-Reflection Tool. This will focus on Emotional Health and Wellbeing and on Physical Activity. It will be based on:
- Public Health England’s ‘Eight Principles to promote Emotional Health and Wellbeing’
- ‘Time 2 Move’ Characteristics of Excellence: Ambition 2 – Physical Activity, Health and Wellbeing (Cornwall School Sports Partnership)
There will be an emphasis on involving the whole school community, especially Children and Young People, in the self-reflection process. The Self-Reflection Tool (if you choose to use it) will help you understand how your school, through a Whole School Approach, is supporting wellbeing, and to identify any potential gaps and opportunities for future development. It will be your tool to complete and use as you wish, in the way that best suits your needs.
The Self-Reflection Tool will include primary and secondary elements, and it will be underpinned by information about the local support and partners available to you in Cornwall. This will include links to training, guidance and support on policies and procedures, and information about best practice. We will help to signpost clearly the great wellbeing support available from partners such as Cornwall Council, Health, and the Voluntary sector, and aim to make it easier to navigate. (One of the aims of the new model is to ‘help align and coordinate health related initiatives to provide a coherent offer to schools’ – see 'Time 2 Move' framework).
Our Locality-based School Support Workers can:
- Work with you on the Self-Reflection Tool
- Help you to identify what could be done to address a need, or to enhance existing wellbeing activities and good practice
- Help you to plan a new piece of work (Action Plan)
- Connect you with appropriate support/resources
- Help you to review and evaluate your action plan
- Help you to celebrate and share your success and learning
How the Award has changed?
Schools which have:
- demonstrated the Whole School Approach in action
- completed a wellbeing survey
- addressed wellbeing in the school development plan
- produced an appropriate case study (or are willing to share their learning with others)
can choose to submit their work for the new Award recognising excellence in working towards better wellbeing for all through a Whole School Approach.
Overall, our aim is to work collaboratively and flexibly with schools and partners to offer good, effective programmes, resources, support and signposting, and to help improve the wellbeing of our children and young people, through creating a coherent wellbeing offer for schools.
Feedback and suggestions will be very welcome to help ensure we are meeting our aims.
For more information please contact the Healthy Schools team: