All children and young people in Wales will receive consistent support and advice from a healthcare professional throughout their school age years.
Each secondary school and their cluster primaries will have an identified school nurse and associated health team with a variety of skills, who will be accessible for support and advice as children progress through their education both within and outside term time.
The new School Nursing Framework is designed to ensure young people receive consistent expert support from a healthcare professional who is familiar with their health and wellbeing needs. The framework provides commitment to a seamless service for health and lifestyle support and advice to all families from birth, provided by midwifery services, through to health visiting and onto school nursing.
School nurses will provide and coordinate health intervention and public health programmes on a range of issues, including:
- 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 ahead of a visit to Bae Baglan school in Port Talbot to launch the new School Nursing Framework, Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething, said:
“We want to do everything we can to ensure the health and well being of all children in Wales.
"School nurses make an important contribution to the healthy development of a child and I am pleased 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.
"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."
Education Secretary Kirsty Williams said:
"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 coordinating care for learners with chronic health needs so they can participate in school. 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."