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School Nursing

Sandwell School Health Nursing Vision Statement

Sandwell School Health Nurses will deliver services that are visible, accessible and confidential regardless of educational provision.

Delivering universal public health and ensuring early help and extra support is available to children and young people at the times when they need it.

 

The School Nursing team provides a consistent approach across the borough of Sandwell for children and young people age five to 19 attending school as well as those not attending school, those who are electively home educated and those attending alternative provisions across the authority.

All secondary schools have a named school health nurse (SHN) who works with a wider cluster of nurses offering support across each of the towns in Sandwell inclusive of primary schools.

School Nurses will provide support and advice for a wide variety of health needs to support children and young people in reaching their full potential and accessing appropriate education provision.  School Nurses will also signpost or refer on as appropriate.

If you are ever unsure if your referral is appropriate please do not hesitate to contact our Duty Nurse.  All referrals into the service are triaged and acted upon at the earliest opportunity and her contact details can be found under the “contact” tab. 

You can find out the latest updates from the team by following them on social media:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Team

Cheryl Newton
Group Director of Nursing for Women’s and Child Health

Shawinder Basra-Dhillon
Operational Manager/Clinical Lead

Heidi Ferrier-Hixon
School Nurse Team Leader

Joanne Toovey
School Nurse Team Leader

The team also comprises of band 5 and 6 nurses, healthcare support workers and admin support.

Services

Below are a number of services that you can access. Click on the bar to read more. 

Hear 4 U

We have introduced the Hear 4 U sessions for all secondary schools across Sandwell. It is an opportunity for children and young people to ‘drop in’ and speak to a nurse confidentially without the need for an appointment.


Primary school parent drop-in sessions

All primary schools are offered the opportunity to run a primary school parent drop in session which is facilitated by the support staff. They will be able to escalate any issues raised to the school nurse. This isn’t an alternative to accessing a GP surgery.


CHAT health

Chat Health is a text service enabling young people at secondary school to reach out to our school nurses to ask for help about a range of issues, or make an appointment with one of our school nurses confidentially.

The service is for anyone aged 11-19 looking for advice on a wide range of issues such as bullying, emotional health and wellbeing, sexual health as well as illnesses. The service is available across Sandwell.

Through Chat Health, we can also link young people into other local services including emotional support or sexual health services.

Chat health works because it is:

  • Confidential
  • Quick and easy
  • Anonymous
  • Non-judgemental

Schools can signpost young people to the Sandwell CHAT Health service through posters and cards or by passing the Sandwell CHAT Health number directly on.  To use the service text: 07480635486


SEND

Sandwell School Nursing supports children across the authority regardless of education provision.  When there is an identified SEND  the School nursing service my become involved in supporting schools to consider appropriate equipment, strategies and interventions in order to support a child’s progress in reaching their full potential.

School Nurses will work alongside SEN Co-ordinator’s (SENCO) and/or class teachers providing help and advice or supporting referral on to specialist services.

A School Nurse may also be invited to support the Educational Health Care Plan process when appropriate.


Support for Health Education

School nurses deliver offer a core health education programme to all primary schools  across the authority session offered are:

  • Reception – Hand Washing and Tooth Brushing
  • Year 3 – Healthy Eating
  • Year 5 – Puberty
  • Year 6 – Transition / Healthy Relationships / Puberty (recap)

Toothbrushing

Teeth begin to develop before birth and then start to push through the gums between the ages of six months and one year (this process is called eruption). Children’s teeth usually start to fall out when they are about six years old. They are replaced by a set of 32 permanent teeth, which are also called secondary or adult teeth.

Usually in school, this lesson is taught to all Reception Children but due to COVID-19 restrictions this is currently postponed. Discussions take place around:

  • Discuss healthy/unhealthy food and drink
  • Ask why it is important to brush our teeth
  • Ask how many times a day we should brush our teeth? (twice)
  • Talk about the importance of visiting the dentist
  • Allow children to ask questions
  • We would then do some fun learning activities

Handy hints for talking about Toothbrushing

Looking after your child’s teeth

Brush their teeth at least twice daily for about twice minutes with fluoride toothpaste.

Brush last thing at night before bed and at least on one other occasion.

Brushing should be supervised by a parent or carer.

Use children’s fluoride toothpaste containing no less than 1,000ppm of fluoride (check the label) or family toothpaste containing between 1,350ppm and 1,500ppm fluoride.

Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.

Spit out after brushing and don’t rinse – if you rinse, the fluoride won’t work as well.

Helpful websites & resources

 

Signposting for support

NHS website have all the information you will need to help with your child’s oral health. We advise for children to be seen by a dentist twice a year.


Hand washing

We all know the importance of handwashing. Below you will find information on how you can get children enjoying hand washing activities to help them reduce the risk of spreading bacteria and viruses. 

The best way we can reduce the spread of sickness bugs and harmful bacteria is by washing our hands – it is important children know this and are encouraged to regularly wash their hands with warm soap and water.

This lesson is usually taught to all Reception Children in school but due to COVID-19 restrictions this is currently postponed. Discussions take place around:

  • What germs are
  • Where germs live
  • When we should wash our hands
  • A demonstration of how germs are easily spread (using a glitter game, there is a link below showing you this)
  • Understand the correct method of hand washing (World health organisation method)

Handy hints for talking about hand washing with your children

Children love to visualise when being taught, it would be a great tip for you to try some of the games to get children talking about germs, how they are spread and how they can stop them from spreading.

Before sitting down to eat dinner, ask your children to wash their hands, this is a perfect opportunity to inform them it is important to wash away any germs on their hands before putting their hands by their mouth. You can explain this to them by explaining:

  • Germs are tiny bugs that we cannot see with our own eyes, we need a microscope to see them
  • Some germs can make us poorly and we do not want children to get poorly, we want children to be happy and healthy who can go to school, learn and play with their friends
  • Tell your children that germs live everywhere (on objects, floors, people, outside, animals)
  • Explain it is really important we wash our hands properly to keep germs away and keep children healthy
  • You can then wash your hands together, using some of the helpful websites and resources linked below

Helpful websites and resources

Before allowing your child to view the below resources, it is important to remember you as their parent/carer/guardian must view the resources prior to showing them so that you can ensure they are age and development appropriate for your child.

Reward charts are great for young children; click these links below to download your own:

 Children also respond well to watching other people wash hands or having a song to sing whilst washing their hands. The videos below can show you how it can be fun to wash your hands.

 Health for kids is a great website for parents and children to access, there is information on hand washing and the importance of it, see the links below to access the site.

Signposting for support

  • If your child has very sensitive skin and cannot cope with certain hand wash, speak to your GP for advice.


Healthy Eating

The aim of this session is to discuss the health benefits of each of the sections of the Eatwell Guide Plate (which can be accessed below) and the recommended daily allowances of each food group.

This lesson is ‘Healthy Eating’ and is usually taught to all Year 3 Children.  The points below are included within this session.

  • Healthy Diet
  • understanding calories
  • planning healthy meals
  • the impacts of unhealthy diets
  • healthy eating choices
  • poor diet and health risk

Handy hints for talking about Healthy Eating

It is important to have set meal times and eat together as a family and also to share the cooking/preparation with your children.

  • Make set times for meals and try to eat together as a family.
  • Get the kids involved in planning and preparing the meals. Maybe even get them involved in growing some vegetables.
  • It’s normal for children to be fussy eaters – that is, to not like the taste, shape, colour or texture of particular foods. Feeding difficulties in children are very common. In fact, behaviours such as refusing new foods are a normal stage of a child’s development. Try not to make it a big issue if they are a picky eater as this may create more problems – just keep offering them a variety of healthy foods.  Children are likely to get less fussy as they get older. One day your child will probably eat and enjoy a whole range of different foods.
·       If possible provide your child with options at meal times to encourage their independence. Limit to two options. For example, let them choose between two types of fruit or two sandwich fillings.
  • Avoid substituting uneaten meals with other foods; including milk, or yogurt. Your child will soon learn that this is the reward for food refusal at meals.
  • Children might be overwhelmed by a large portion of a food that’s unfamiliar or not their favourite.
  • Try not to make your child finish everything on the plate and void using adult-size plates for younger children as it can be very daunting.
  • For younger children maybe make the meals as a picture on the plate. Make it fun. Try chopping fruit and vegetables into faces or shapes; use them to make your own juices or healthy lollies.
  • Children might be overwhelmed by a large portion of a food that’s unfamiliar or not their favourite.
  • Children are also very influenced by their parents or carers. Be a good role model. If you dislike a food, try not to make negative comments.
  • Offer rewards other than food, such as a favourite game, a trip to the park, stickers or stamps for their collection.

Helpful websites & resources

Parents are reminded to review these resources prior to allowing children to view them, to ensure they are appropriate for the child’s age and development stage.  Please click on the following links for more information.

Signposting for support


Puberty

All children should learn about what puberty is and the physical and emotional changes associated with it, in line with guidance issued by the Department of Education in 2019. This is particularly for Year 5 pupils.

Puberty is something that everyone goes through and it is important that we are able to talk about it with our children. Children need to be able to talk to a trusted adult about their changes as they grow up to enable them to identify these changes and handle them in a safe and healthy way.

Sandwell School nurses hopes that the following information will enable you to confidently support your children’s learning around puberty.

In Years 5 and 6, Primary aged children will normally receive a lesson in school about puberty but this may not occur at present due to COVID-19 restrictions. They would normally cover:

  • Emotional and physical changes
  • Body Confidence
  • Where to get advice and support

Handy hints for talking about Puberty:

Puberty can be a confusing time for children so it is important that they are given an understanding of how their bodies will change and the emotional impact it may have before it happens.

Lockdown has given parents the freedom to have these conversations in a safe space within your home and enables you to adapt the learning opportunity to suit the needs of you and your individual child. Here are some suggestions to help you if you decide to take this opportunity:

  • It may be helpful to examine the topic using a familiar character from a book, TV show or film to explore how people may have different personal feelings beliefs and growing up and puberty.
  • Try drawing a person (or allowing your child too) and getting your child to label body parts and emotional changers associated with puberty. This is a great way of assessing their current knowledge and understanding.
  • Whilst a lot of families may have their own names for body parts it is important for children to know the correct terminology for them. Knowing the correct names can help keep them safe and take care of their health. Teach them the correct names such as penis, breasts, testicles, vulva and vagina etc
  • Before you start to discuss with your child, explore a range of resources to gain ideas and identify those which you feel are most appropriate for your child. If the first resource doesn’t give you the result you want then you can always try another.
  • Don’t worry if you are saying too much or too little. They will ask if they want more details. And if it’s too advanced they will take away from it what they understood according to their level of maturity.
  • If they ask a question try to answer it. But if you don’t know the answer then be honest and say you don’t know. Let them know that you will find out and come back to them. And then make sure you do! It teaches them not only the answer to their question but also that they can come to you with difficult questions and situations and that you will support them.

Just remember…

Puberty is not always the easiest of topics to discuss. It can be embarrassing and tricky at times for both you and your child. However, it is an important and unavoidable part of growing up. Try to make it as fun and light hearted as possible.

Helpful websites and resources

Before using any of the websites and resources below we recommend that you review them to ensure they are suitable for your child’s level of understanding and maturity.

All children will develop at their own rate and their levels of understanding and maturity will be individual to them. Try to find resources to best suit them.

  • Amaze: a great website providing a multitude of short age appropriate informative videos/information around puberty related topics including body changes, periods, etc
  • BBC The Big Talk: a range of videos, including one with older primary children asking some common questions about puberty and body changes.
  • Betty for Schools: lesson plans for 8 to 12 year olds that are linked to the national curriculum that support open, honest and factual conversations regarding periods.
  • Brook Learn: Free online learning around a range of topics including puberty for parents, carers, teachers etc
  • Health promotion: includes videos about lots of different health topics, including puberty.
  • Operation Ouch: Puberty Special: a BBC production with 2 Doctors explaining the changes that occur during puberty.
  • Outspoken education: free home schooling lessons and resources for different age ranges facilitating and supporting parents to have open discussions around tricky topics such as puberty and positive body image and healthy relationships.

For parents of children who may have some additional learning needs you may find the following resources helpful:

  • Books beyond words: books designed to support parents of children with learning disabilities
  • National Autistic Society: excellent guidance on how to approach the topic of puberty with people on the Autistic Spectrum

Suggested books (if you prefer paper to screens):

  • The Book About Periods: For All Young People (Olivia Brinkley-Green) A useful book for young people, parents and teachers as well who want to learn about menstruation.
  • The Period Book: Everything you don’t want to ask but need to know (Karen Gravelle). A useful book examining periods, including the changes that occur both physically, emotionally and socially. It also includes discussion around associated topics such as dealing with spots, mood swings, etc
  • Susan’s Growing Up (Sheila Hollins and Valerie Sianson). A story about Susan a young girl with learning disabilities going through puberty.
  • Hair in Funny Places (Babette Cole). Cartoons are used to explain body changes in puberty.
  • The Girls’ Guide to Growing up Great: Changing Bodies, Periods, Relationships, Life online (Sophie Elkan) A clear, concise and empowering book for girls regarding puberty and associated changes with advice from other women and girls.
  • Questions Children Ask and How to Answer Them (Miriam Stoppard). Written based on research in child development, this book aims to provide age appropriate answers to a variety of questions that children may ask.
  • Let’s talk about the Bird and the Bees (Molly Potter). Clear language used to cover a range of topics including puberty, consent, and relationships.
  • Helping your Kids with Growing Up (Robert Winston). Cover a range of contemporary issues associated with puberty including mood swings, periods and ‘breaking voices’. Also covers issues such as social media and sexting.
  • What’s Happening to me? (Susan Meredith) A series of books regarding puberty and cooping with being a teenager.
  • It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health (Robert Harris) Covering a variety of topics regarding growing up including puberty, gender identity, sex, masturbation, birth and sexual abuse.


Emotional Health

It has been reported that there has been an increase in emotional and mental health difficulties in children aged five to 16 years. It has been identified that, three children in every classroom in the United Kingdom have some form of diagnosable emotional or mental health condition. These include anxiety, depression, a conduct disorder or an eating disorder.

The purpose of this session is to provide an insight into emotional wellbeing and mental health. The session aims to raise awareness on how to identify and access support available.

Sandwell School Nursing team hope this information will help you support your child with their emotional and mental wellbeing.

Usually in school

Throughout education, emotional and mental wellbeing is discussed within the classroom. School establishments, will aim to highlight the importance of ‘healthy’ emotional and mental wellbeing. If concerns are identified, teaching staff and parents/carers can refer into our service. Sandwell school nurses are able to provide support and signpost to specific agencies.  

Handy hints for talking about emotional health

  • Formulate a way to check in with your child about their worries and stress levels. For example: ‘on a scale of one to 10 how stressed are you feeling? What is one thing that will bring that score closer to one?’
  • Monitor any behavioural changes, such as becoming quiet and withdrawn.
  • Notice if your child doesn’t want to participate in activities that they usually enjoy.
  • Be mindful when children become irritated or violent; attempt to recognise their feelings and set boundaries without becoming angry back.
  • Be present at parents’ evenings at school, or any after-school clubs where possible, to establish how your child is coping.
  • Ask family members and close friends to let you know if your child appears ‘different’, sometimes they notice things that parents/carers don’t.
  • If you become worried about your child’s mental health, you can contact Sandwell school nurses, GP or any local organisations.

Helpful websites and resources

Sandwell school nurses recommend that parents/carers review this YouTube resource before sharing it with your child. This is to ensure that it is suitable for your child’s level of maturity and understanding. We recognise that each child is a unique individual and all children mature at different rates.


Transition

The Sandwell School Nursing Team hopes this information will help you with informing and supporting your child through their Transition from Primary School to High School. 

The purpose of this session is to provide an insight into the Transition process from Primary School to High School. The session aims to raise awareness on how to identify and access support available.  By the end of the session your child should have an increased awareness & knowledge of what is involved in the transition from Primary School to High School.

Moving from Primary School to High School is an exciting time of life but for many children it can also be a daunting prospect. A new, much bigger school can offer greater independence and a world of opportunity. However it also means new teachers, new subjects and potentially a whole new set of friends.

Usually, your child will be provided with a session from the school nurses in Year 6 where they learn about the transition process.  Sandwell School Nurses are able to provide support and signpost to specific agencies. 

Due to COVID-19 we cannot currently provide this service in school so this is a great opportunity for you to go through this session with your child to help them learn what they usually would from us.

Handy hints for talking to your child about Transition:

  • Do a practice run of their journey to school so they feel familiar and confident enough to do it themselves.
  • Look at the school’s website or handbook to check what equipment your child needs ahead of their first day.
  • Show your confidence in your child so that they believe in their own confidence. Avoid taking over tasks that they can do themselves – it can sometimes be hard to hold back on the help!
  • Get your child to make a list of things they like about themselves, making sure they identify the attributes behind those qualities.
  • Don’t let your worries become their worries.
  • Don’t let them feel unsafe because you are constantly talking about safety.
  • Prepare them for all of the new and fun opportunities that they’ll have by talking to them about clubs and activities and encourage them to explore what’s available.
  • Increase the independence that you give them over the summer holidays or even their last months at primary school so that the jump to high school feels natural.
  • Let them know that should they need you, you are there for them and will help them no matter what.

Helpful websites & resources:

Sandwell school nurses recommend that parents/carers review this YouTube resource before sharing it with your child. This is to ensure that it is suitable for your child’s level of maturity and understanding. We recognise that each child is a unique individual and all children mature at different rates.

 

 

 

Contacts

A duty nurse is available Monday to Friday to answer general enquiries. You can contact the duty nurse by calling 0121 612 2974 or emailing the service at swbh.shnsandwell@nhs.net

The service is based at the following address: 

Blackheath Library
145 High Street
Blackheath,
Rowley Regis
B65 0EA

 

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