Whole-school and Community Approaches to Health and Wellbeing in Richmond Upon Thames: Celebrating and Building on Success

Annual Report of the Director of Public Health, 2020


Read the Executive Summary below.

The full report is available in PDF and Word Document formats:

Executive Summary

This Annual Public Health Report describes the current context in which many of the national strategies call upon local areas to apply whole-school and community approaches* to address health issues prevalent in children and young people. The involvement of the voluntary and community sector in the delivery of these approaches is fundamental in supporting not only the child but the whole family beyond the school gates. The report offers an opportunity to celebrate excellent practices across our partners.

Section One introduces the interconnections between health and education. Better health results in better educational attainment which in-turn leads to health improvements across the life course. Whole-school approaches have been used both by the health and education sectors to improve outcomes in both. Current thinking has evolved into working collaboratively as a prerequisite to addressing additional challenges and opportunities presented by social media and technology.

Regulatory changes to relationships education, sex and relationships education and health education (RE, RSE & HE), the new Personal Development Ofsted Inspection Framework and national health strategies for children and young people all offer opportunities to renew our efforts to improving the health and wellbeing of our young residents through whole-school approaches.

Section Two describes the health and educational outcomes of our young residents including health service use and health inequalities. Richmond compares well or better than other authorities both regionally and nationally, and this report moves away from relative regional or national comparisons towards comparisons between children in Richmond. For example, while children in Richmond are less likely to be obese compared to London or other regions, we know that children living in more deprived areas of Richmond are more likely to be obese or overweight compared to those living in less deprived wards. Inequalities also exist in educational attainment with those in care or with special educational needs lagging behind the average performance.

The interim results from the recent Youth Wellbeing Survey designed by our Youth Council and YOL! are presented in this report. The survey indicates that young people aged 11+ years are concerned about knife crime, gangs, and burglary. School related concerns were exam stress, not performing well and bullying. Mental health, support for those with disabilities, healthcare and drugs were also cause for concern.

Section Three describes the evidence base and experiences of implementing whole-school approaches. This evidence base suggests that health education on its own does not deliver positive outcomes but requires the involvement of parents/carers, families and the wider community together with a range of teaching methods and health promoting interventions.

Section Four describes the current practice of whole-school approaches delivered in Richmond and presents the results from a mapping exercise of different interventions available in schools and delivered by a range of providers. The section also provides case studies on approaches taken by schools to address emotional and mental health, physical health, and building resilience.

Finally, Section Five offers reflections from the Director of Public Health, and recommendations on scaling up current good practice:

Recommendation One: Pro-actively influence strategic partners and partnership boards that support the most vulnerable children and young people, most specifically, SEND, Young Carers and those in contact with social care, to maximise health outcomes, particularly as they move through crucial transition points.

Recommendation Two: Facilitate increased collaboration of school and community networks to connect wider partners in Education, Health and the Voluntary Sector, to promote collective action across all areas of health.

Recommendation Three: Set out plans with partners for re-engaging with the London Healthy Schools programme to promote holistic and whole-school and college approaches to health and wellbeing.

Recommendation Four: Strengthen the meaningful participation of children and young people in health and wellbeing strategies and commissioning to facilitate the sharing of their perceptions, concerns and solutions for promoting health.

Recommendation Five: Continue to support schools to work towards implementing the new statutory guidance on RE, RSE and HE through additional training and the publication of a joint strategic statement of support from the council and AfC.

Recommendation Six: Build on the use of social media and digital platforms to promote public health interventions and messages to children and young people through targeted campaigns to promote the young people’s health and wellbeing website: www.gettingiton.org.uk

Together these recommendations will strengthen Richmond’s whole-school approach whilst addressing inequalities throughout childhood by facilitating a nurturing environment for children and young people, who are important residents, student-citizens of today and the adults of tomorrow.

* The Whole-school Approach is used as a generic term that also incorporates schooling within the Early Years including pre-school and nursery education where health behaviours are often set.