Here you will find information and advice for parents who may want more knowledge about their children’s health. The information will compliment any school nursing advice your child may receive through our PHSE programmes, drop-in sessions or during health reviews, we always aim to provide information which is evidence-based and up to date and we always encourage children and young people to share advice given with their parent/carer.
School can be hard for your child. Negotiating new friendships, responsibilities and expectations can have an impact on their physical health and emotional wellbeing. Most of the time these experiences are a normal part of growing up and will help to promote resilience and health responsibility, as they develop into adulthood. However sometimes these experiences can lead to poor health and wellbeing outcomes. The school nursing team can help support children and young people to understand their health needs and make positive changes.
Development Children and young people will develop through to adulthood following similar set points as their peers. However; the environment, family structure, access to opportunities and induvial personality will have an impact how children move from one developmental stage to the next. Parents who have concerns about their child’s development may want to discuss this further with the school nurse or GP. To support the early identification of health needs we ask parents to complete a health questionnaire when their children are in Reception and Year 6. Children will be asked to complete their own health questionnaire also in Year 6, Year 9 and Year 11.
Dental Care The health visiting service will have provided advice and information for keeping your child’s teeth healthy. When children start school, routines can be difficult to maintain, younger children will continue to need supervision when brushing their teeth. Try to keep morning and evening routines fun with music and games which encourage 2 minutes at the sink using a fluoride toothpaste for your child’s age. Children should visit the family dentist every 6 months, if your child has a phobia or disability which prevents them visiting the family dentist please contact the Specialist Dentist service for more support.
Healthy Eyes The UK National Screening Committee (2013) has recommended that ‘child vision screening’ should take place in primary schools, with the aim of identifying children with reduced vision. Early detection means that effective treatment, such as glasses or an eye patch, can be quickly offered. The school nursing team will check every child’s eyesight in their first year in school and a letter will be sent home with the result, you may be advised to visit an optician or we may make a referral to the orthoptist. After this children should have their eyes examined at least once every 2 years. This can be done at a high-street opticians and it’s free for all children under 16 years old and those under 19 years old in full-time education.
Healthy Ears Children will have their hearing tested within a few weeks after birth, this test will identify most babies with hearing loss. However some hearing conditions develop gradually over time. The school nursing team will carry out a ‘sweep hearing test’ in your child’s first year of school which can identify if there are concerns that may need further investigation by the hearing and balance team. Diagnosing a hearing problem early will also ensure that you and your child have access to any special learning support services that are needed.
Healthy Weight Children and young people grow rapidly during childhood and maintaining a healthy balanced diet can be difficult. The school nursing service will offer a height and weight review when your child starts school and again in Year 6 as part of the National Childhood Measurement Programme (NCMP). The children are not told their measurements by the nurses completing this service, parents will receive a letter home if their child’s measurements fall within the; underweight, overweight or very overweight category. This information is designed to support healthy changes within the family, children can access local services such as Let’s Get Going for primary school children or the BEAM app secondary school children. In addition the school nursing team provides a health clinic during the summer break where parents can have the measurements repeated and receive additional advice to help the family make healthy changes. If you have any concerns with your child’s diet or activity opportunities please contact the public health duty line or complete the referral form. If your child is in the first term Reception or Year 6 you do not want your child to take part in the NCMP please click here.
Continence Children and young people may have a delay in the development of daytime and night-time continence skills for a variety of reasons. The health visiting team will provide early years advice and support for toileting. It is important that any ongoing concerns are assessed by your GP or Paediatrician who may then make a referral to the Continence Nurse or the school nursing night-time bedwetting service, also known as the nocturnal enuresis service. The school nurse will make an assessment and offer a choice of treatments based on the ‘3 systems approach’, they may offer bladder training, bedwetting alarms, medication or a combination of treatments. Children and young people are encouraged to be involved with all care planning as it encourages independence when becoming dry at night.
Headlice A common problem in primary school aged children, headlice are not dangerous however they can cause discomfort and embarrassment for your child. If you are having difficulty treating headlice in your family you can contact the public health duty line for advice or visit your GP for a review of treatments you have tried.
Sex & Relationships Making and sustaining peer relationships is a vital part of childhood development, as your child gets older they are likely to move away from wanting the comfort of close parental relationship towards relationships with friends. During this time they will start to develop their own sexual identity and may begin to experiment with different types of relationships. It is important that parents can recognise the signs of unhealthy relationships whilst supporting the development of healthy positive partnerships and safe sexual health. The school nursing service supports the delivery of age appropriate sex and relationships health promotion in schools, to help children and young people recognise healthy; family, friend and intimate relationships. School Nurses can also provide 1:1 advice and support for the physical and emotional health of young people experiencing difficulties in relationships.
Gender As identity starts to mature during adolescence some young people may identify as non-binary, meaning they do not associate with the thoughts and feelings of any one gender, rather they may identify as both, neither or a mix of the two. This can be a difficult time for parents but it is important to know that support is available for the whole family. School Nurses may provide emotional support and signposting to specialist services for young people who attend a drop-in session with identity concerns.
Technology Parents often worry about the time their children are spending on consoles, tablets and phones. Public health research suggests that happier, healthier children are those who spend at least an hour a day taking part in physical activity. School Nurses encourage children and young people to spend more time outside being active and to have a regular sleep routine but acknowledge that screens are now used for; homework, socialising, relaxing and being creative. It is important for parents to discuss screen time as part of their families routines, rules and boundaries, you may want to use this helpful tool to guide your discussion.
Online Safety The internet provides children and young people with access to an amazing selection of knowledge, creativity and connectedness. However parents need to keep themselves up to date with the ways and means their children interact with the online world. The public health nursing team uses online platforms to share public health messages with the local community, in addition the school nursing team will signpost children and young people to verified online health and wellbeing sites. If you have any questions about our commitment to online safety for children please use our contact form.
Sleep The school nursing team can support children, young people and families to establish a healthy night-time routine which will encourage better quality and quantity of sleep. Children and young people who sleep well have been shown to; concentrate better, have more positive self-esteem and are better able to manage their emotions. If you would like support for improving your child’s sleep please call the public health duty line or complete a referral form.
Mental Health 1 in 4 school aged children will experience a mental health concern, with 1 in 10 resulting in a mental health diagnosis. In addition 50% of mental health problems have been present from the age of 14 with 75% well established by the age of 24. There are known to be strong links between physical and mental health problems which can have a detrimental effect on life-long health outcomes. Therefore as part of a public health service, the school nurses will provide support for physical and mental health needs as part of a holistic package of care. School Nurses work closely with the Mental Health Schools Teams to ensure children in all schools have access to early intervention support. If you have non-urgent concerns about your child’s mental health you can call the public health nurse duty line, if you have urgent or ongoing concerns please visit you GP who may suggest a referral to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
Smoking Children who start smoking at the youngest ages are more likely to smoke heavily and find it harder to give up. Child and adolescent smoking causes serious risks to respiratory health, both in the short and long term and children who smoke are two to six times more susceptible to coughs and increased phlegm, wheeziness and shortness of breath than those who do not smoke. The earlier children become regular smokers and persist in the habit as adults, the greater the risk of developing lung cancer or heart disease. The school nursing service include questions about smoking in the Year 9 and Year 11 Health Questionnaire, offered to all secondary school children. We can provide an initial smoking assessment and refer onto specialist services if required.
Substance Misuse Children and young people may choose to use alcohol and prescribed or non-prescribed drugs as they start to explore their independence. Some families allow children to have wine or beer with meals from a young age, they may also allow marijuana use within their home. However alcohol or drug use can result in; non-attendance and poor attainment at school, poor health, crime to support ‘habits’ and an increased risk of being a victim of violent crime and sexual exploitation. The school nursing service include questions about alcohol and drug use in the Year 9 and Year 11 Health Questionnaire offered to all secondary school children and can provide initial support for children or young people who may be worried about their substance use. We also support children and young people who might be worried about a family members drinking or drug use, by helping them contact Slough Turning Point.
Medical Needs The school nursing service can support children and young people understand and manage medical diagnosis in conjunction with their primary health professional. We have close links with the local hospital community services for asthma and diabetes and with consent we can discuss care with the community paediatric department. For children and young people who have been diagnosed with asthma, severe allergic reaction, epilepsy and type 2 diabetes we provide awareness sessions for all schools and encourage a broad selection of staff to attend and make themselves available in school to support your child.
Immunisations The Solutions 4 Health School Nursing service is not commissioned to provide immunisations and vaccinations in Slough. This service is provided by NHS Berkshire Healthcare who offer immunisations to all children of school age, as part of the Department of Health’s national vaccination programme.
When to keep my child off school? Follow these NHS guidelines if you are not sure whether or not you can send your child to school. The school nursing team do not provide a diagnostic service for childhood illnesses so always access your GP or call 111 if you are in doubt.
For any questions about the Public Health School Nursing service please use the contact form and a member of staff will respond to you directly within 5 working days.
NHS Choices: Offers advice and signposting for a range of physical and mental health topics.
MindED for families: Are you a parent or carer who is concerned about your child? Or perhaps you just want some hints and tips on parenting? MindEd for Families has online advice and information from trusted sources and will help you to understand and identify early issues and best support your child. http://minded.e-lfh.org.uk/families/index.html
Barnardo’s: Services work with children and young people who have mental health difficulties. They also work with their parents, making sure that parents feel supported. Their work includes parenting groups and one-to-one work with parents through our network of family centres, community-based parenting programmes, and specialised work with parents who have particular needs. http://www.barnardos.org.uk/what_we_do/our_work/parenting_supporting.htm
National Autistic Society: Provides advice and information via an Autism Helpline and more specialist offerings supporting parents, schools and professionals. http://www.autism.org.uk/services/education.aspx
www.nas.org.uk or https://www.autismberkshire.org.uk/
Slough Family Information Service: Provides links to local health and wellbeing services. https://www.sloughfamilyservices.org.uk/kb5/sloughcst/directory/home.page
Slough Children’s Services Trust: Providing social care and support services to children, young people and families. They work with a huge number of statutory, voluntary and other not-for-profit organisations, to help offer the best and most appropriate services. https://www.scstrust.co.uk/
Relate: Relate Family Counsellors can explore with you, your relationships within the family and work with you to talk through and sort out the problems. Young people experiencing difficulties can be seen by our counsellors free of charge if they have been referred by their GP or school or any other statutory service. https://www.relate.org.uk/relationship-help/help-family-life-and-parenting/family-counselling
Royal College of Psychiatrists: Contains information for young people, parents and carers, about young people’s mental health. It is written by psychiatrists and young people working together. https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health/parents-and-young-people
Child Bereavement UK: Supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement. https://www.childbereavementuk.org/
Mermaids: Work to raise awareness about gender nonconformity in children and young people through
Mermaids: Work to raise awareness about gender nonconformity in children and young people through empowerment, understanding and practical support. https://mermaidsuk.org.uk/parents/
NSPCC: Talk PANTS; teach children the underwear rule and learn how to have simple conversations to keep children safe from abuse. https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/underwear-rule/
Kidscape: Our mission is to provide children, families, carers and professionals with advice, training and practical tools to prevent bullying and protect young lives. https://www.kidscape.org.uk/resources-and-publications/
Stop It Now! UK helpline by The Lucy Faithfull Foundation; is a confidential, anonymous and free helpline (0808 1000 900) for anyone concerned about child sexual abuse, providing help and information to adults https://www.stopitnow.org.uk/helpline/
Parenting Special Children (PSC): Founded in 2006 by Ruth Pearse, the CEO of the charity. Their aim is to provide specialist parenting support to parents and carers of children and young people with Special Needs, so that they can create positive change in their lives. http://www.parentingspecialchildren.co.uk/about-us/
Cerebra: Advice for families who include a child with a brain condition. https://www.cerebra.org.uk/about/
NHS website: Caring for children with complex needs section may provide parents with signposting or ideas for their local area services. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/caring-for-children-and-young-people/how-to-care-for-children-with-complex-needs/
Asthma UK: a membership based charity providing advice and support for those diagnosed with asthma. School and individual action plans available. https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/child/manage/action-plan/
Epilepsy Action UK: a charity that aims to improve the lives of everyone affected by epilepsy. They can provide advice, resources and signposting with a dedicated children’s section https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/children and young person’s area https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/children-young-adults/young-people
Diabetes: a charity providing advice and support for children and young people with type 1 diabetes. Additional resources and information about type 2 diabetes is also available. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/your-child-and-diabetes
Severe Allergic Reactions: Allergy UK is a national patient charity for people living with all types of allergy. They have a dedicated free Helpline for people who need help and support. Free Factsheets provide information for children, young people’s and families. https://www.allergyuk.org/information-and-advice