Each secondary school and their cluster primaries will have an identified school nurse and associated health team with a variety of skills, according to the Welsh government.
It said that these nurses would be “accessible for support and advice as children progress through their education both within and outside term time”.
“Every child in Wales will now have a dedicated school nurse throughout their time at school”
The new school nursing framework for Wales was published today, setting out three levels of support offered via a “team around the child”.
This included the “universal”, or the core minimum intervention, offered to all school aged children in primary and secondary school settings, regardless of need.
It stated that an “identified” school nurse should be available to all children within the school they attend, to provide support to address the public health components of the national curriculum.
Their role will cover the delivery of the national screening, surveillance and immunisation programmes in the school setting.
The framework also set out “enhanced” and “intensive” levels of support, based on the needs of the child, with nurses working outside of the school setting and in partnership with other agencies.
The overall document was designed to ensure young people received “consistent expert support” from a healthcare professional who is “familiar with their health and wellbeing needs”, said the government.
It added that the framework “provides commitment to a seamless service” for health and lifestyle support to families from midwifery services through to health visiting and onto school nursing.
Under the framework, school nurses will provide and co-ordinate health intervention and public health programmes on a range of issues.
These will include:
- Physical health (education on obesity, smoking, alcohol and drug related harm)
- Promotion of emotional wellbeing and supporting the mental health needs of school age children
- Delivery of the national screening, surveillance and immunisation programmes in the school setting
- Early identification and assessment of pupils’ needs
- Additional support and/or signposting to local or specialist services for children and young people who are identified as having additional needs
Speaking at the launch of the new framework, Welsh health secretary Vaughan Gething said: “School nurses make an important contribution to the healthy development of a child.
“I am pleased that that every child in Wales will now have a dedicated school nurse throughout their time at school to ensure that their health and emotional needs are met,” he said.
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“Happy, healthy children are much more likely to achieve their full potential and grow up to be healthy adults. Investing in our young people is investing in our future,” he noted.
Education secretary for Wales Kirsty Williams added: “We want to ensure pupils are aware of what school nurses can do for them and how to find them, to make it easier for children to use the school nursing service and get good advice on their health.
“It’s important to emphasise that school nurses are not just responsible for first aid; they’re planning and co-ordinating care for learners with chronic health needs so they can participate in school,” she said. “They are also facilitators and advocates for lots of children.
“School nursing has to be viewed as further investment in students. Healthy students learn better. School nurses are partners to make sure that happens,” she stated.