Find out more about the services we deliver
Once your child starts school in Tower Hamlets, the School Health team will write to you and send you a health questionnaire to complete for your child/ren. This is to help the team identify and best support any problems which may affect your child's ability to learn.
During your child’s first year in school, a member of the School Health Team will check their vision, hearing and measure their height and weight. You will be informed of the assessment results and if your child has to be referred to a vision or hearing specialist and we will contact you if there are any concerns about your child’s growth or weight. We will also inform the school if your child has any hearing or vision problems that may affect their learning.
It is very important that you inform the school about any medical condition which may affect your child’s health, safety or education in school e.g. asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, allergies, eczema and any hearing and /or vision problems. If necessary the School Nurse will contact you to complete an individual health care plan, which will be kept in school. You will also receive a copy as will your child's GP and if appropriate, their specialist team.
Individual Health Care Plans (IHCPs)
Our school nurses write IHCPs for children and young people with medical conditions when medication is required in school or there is a risk that emergency interventions may be needed. For example, this may be the case if a child has eczema, asthma, allergies or any other health condition. This will be determined by reviewing all health questionnaires and information shared by your child's school and Health Visitor.
Not all children or young people with medical conditions will require an IHCP, this will be decided by the school nurse in partnership with them, their parents and carers and other medical professionals. IHCPs are regularly reviewed and updated by the School Health staff that visit your child's school.
Drop in sessions and school visits
Our school nurses are available for drop-in sessions during scheduled school visits for any personal queries or advice. These may be group or individual drop-in sessions and can be about anything at all! We are always happy to see any child who has concerns about their health or wellbeing, whether this is emotional or physical.
Hearing & Vision Screening
We ask children to participate in hearing and vision screening when they are in reception.
Why test hearing and vision?
When a child has a hearing problem, it may not always be obvious, sometimes speech may be unclear or slow to develop and behaviour or progress at school may be affected. It is always better for any hearing loss to be identified and treated early this is why we provide a school based hearing screening service.
Good vision is important for learning- over 80 percent of everything we learn it from what we see. Vision development is completed by the age of 8, so it is important to detect and abnormalities as early as possible so that treatment can be commenced and the problems reversed whilst the child is young.
My child appears to have normal hearing and vision, are tests really necessary?
Yes they are! Because some problems with hearing are not easily recognised, it is important that all children have their hearing assessed soon after starting school. Children can often be longsighted or short sighted but as they have always viewed the world this way it is “normal” for them. It may be possible that there is poor vision in one eye- therefore the “good” eye is doing all the work- making it undetectable without testing. This is typical of a lazy eye- and treatment must be completed before the age of 8 otherwise the eye will remain lazy for life, thus increasing the risk of visual impairment.
What do the hearing and vision tests involve?
We check children’s hearing with a simple listening game using headphones. Vision is tested using a letter of different sizes at standard distance. If your child does not know their letters, they will be able to use a matching system. The vision is checked in each eye separately. The school nurse will then write to you and inform you if your child passes or fails
What if my child does not pass one of these tests?
If your child does not pass the hearing test we will refer him or her to the Royal London Hospital for more detailed tests in a sound proofed room. There are several reasons why a child may not pass the test. For example it is quite common for repeated coughs and colds to cause congestion and fluid to fill the space behind the eardrum resulting in hearing loss. Although not permanent, this type of hearing loss can still affect a child’s progress in school.
If your child does not pass the vision test, depending on the extent of vision loss, the school Health Team will arrange a direct referral to the Royal London Hospital or will advise to see your local optician.
The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP)
We ask children to participate in the NCMP when they are in reception and again in year 6.
Why is measurement of growth important?
Measurement of height and weight helps to ensure that children are growing properly. If they are unusually big or small there may be underlying medical condition, or there may be problems getting them to eat a healthy diet. By measuring all children when they start school, advice on diet or referral for medical assessment can be arranged at an early stage.
My child’s growth appears normal- are these measurements really necessary?
It can be difficult to tell accurately whether a child’s weight and height are right by their age. By measuring them, and checking on the growth chart what they should be, it is easy to tell if they are tall or short or over/ under weight.
What does growth measurement involve?
The weight is measured by standing on weighing scales with shoes off. The height is measured by standing against a height measure against the wall again with shoes off. The measurements are then checked against a chart to see if they are within a healthy range.
What if my child's growth is outside healthy range?
If your child is overweight or very overweight, we will call you to offer you and your family some advice. If you child is underweight the school nurse will contact you to discuss your child’s weight in more detail.
The School Health Team currently offer the following health promotion sessions to primary and secondary schools and are available to parents/carers as well as children. The sessions provide an opportunity to learn and ask questions and include information packs and leaflets. These sessions are interactive, informative and extremely useful!
We offer health eating promotion sessions for parents/carers, reception children and students through to year 13.
We offer sessions about maintaining oral health and dental hygiene to parents/carers, reception children and students through to year 13.
These sessions provide information and support about transitioning into primary school and from primary to secondary school. We offer these sessions to the parents/carers of children in reception and year 6.
Puberty and hygiene
We offer these information sessions to parents/carers and children in years 5 and 6.
Minor ailments/accident prevention
We offer these sessions to parents/carers of all school children.
If you would like to contact your child's School Nurse about any of the sessions above, please search for them by school here.
We prioritise all matters surrounding safeguarding, child protection and any children who may be at risk in regards to their physical, mental or emotional health. All of our School Health staff regularly undertaking comprehensive training in these areas.
Positive emotional health means being happy, content and confident in yourself and your abilities. Emotional and social wellbeing is an important focus amongst children and young people as it is responsible for creating strong foundations in healthy behaviours and attitudes, educational attainment, relationships and development.
Looking after our emotional health is just as important as looking after our physical health. Positive emotions are important for our mental wellbeing, so always try to do things that make you feel positive!
Sometimes it is very hard to control your emotions, especially in times of sadness or stress. This may happen when you have important exams for example. You may start to feel overwhelmed and very nervous, which may cause feelings of pressure, anxiety and negativity. If this happens, you should take some deep breaths, take a break from studying and do something that you find relaxing or enjoyable, or simply talk to somebody who is feeling the same way as you. You may find that the exam isn’t so scary after all!
If you are being bullied at school, you may find that you experience feelings of sadness, anxiety, loneliness and low self—confidence. It is important to understand that bullying is always wrong, whether this is online, physical or emotional, and you must stand up to whoever is bullying you; you have the right to feel safe.
If you or somebody you know are being bullied, tell an adult (parent, teacher or school nurse) and they will be able to sort out the situation.
Unfortunately, there are times where we cannot change the situation that has lead to us becoming upset. This may be the case when somebody we love- a person or a pet- dies. When this happens, it is normal to feel sad, angry or worried and you may find that your family may be feeling the same way. You can find comfort in talking openly about how you feel rather than keeping your thoughts to yourself. It is important to remember that even though you will always miss your loved one, you will begin to feel better as time goes on.