Posted: Fri 19th Apr 2024

Survey shows strong support for schools’ role in children and young people’s health and wellbeing

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

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A new survey conducted by Public Health Wales has found significant public support for the role of schools and nurseries in improving health and wellbeing outcomes for children under 18.

The findings from the Time to Talk Public Health panel survey highlight the community’s high regard for educational settings in promoting key health aspects among young people.

The survey, which involved a broad cross-section of the Welsh population, showed particularly strong backing for schools’ involvement in areas such as online safety, prevention of smoking and vaping, support for mental health difficulties, and the prevention of alcohol and drug misuse.

77% of respondents expressed strong support for schools’ role in online safety, with similar figures for other key health areas.

Support was even more pronounced among parents of children under 18. Notably, 84% of these parents strongly supported the role of schools in ensuring online safety.

The figures were also high for developing positive coping mechanisms and accessing mental health support, with 80% of parents showing strong approval.

Public Health Wales, through initiatives such as the Welsh Network of Health and Well-being Promoting Schools (WNHWPS), the Whole School Approach to Emotional and Mental Well-being (WSAEMWB), and the Healthy and Sustainable Pre-school Scheme (HSPSS), plays a crucial role in fostering health and wellbeing in educational settings.

These programmes offer local support and national resources to help schools and nurseries identify and act on health priorities.

Alexa Gainsbury, a consultant in Public Health at Public Health Wales, emphasized the importance of realistic expectations and parental support in these endeavours.

She noted the strong foundation already present in Welsh educational settings, which are committed to improving health outcomes for children through effective partnerships.

“Our schools and early years settings are vital in shaping the health and wellbeing of our younger generations,” Gainsbury stated. “They are not just educational institutions but pivotal platforms for positive health interventions. By embedding health and wellbeing into their core activities, they make a significant contribution to the lifelong health of their students.”

The survey underscores the critical role of educational settings in the broader public health system and highlights the necessity for continued support and collaboration to enhance child and youth wellbeing in Wales.

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