School nursing

Find out about the School Nursing service which is based around the Healthy Child Programme, and the care we offer parents and their children.

Coronavirus COVID-19 (updated 28/04/2020)

During the coronavirus pandemic the health and safety of children, young people, families and our staff is our main priority.

We are providing support to children and their families virtually, in order to maintain social distancing.

Our School Nurse service during this time is as follows.

  • A member of the School Nursing team can be contacted Monday to Friday 9am -5pm to provide advice and support for any concerns that you may have about your child’s/children’s health and wellbeing.  You can contact them on 03456 078866 or alternatively you can email the team on childrenshealth@suffolk.gov.uk.
  • Chathealth texting service is available for young people aged 11 to 19 years old.  Texts are responded to by a member of the school nursing team between 9am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday. (excluding bank holidays).  You can text them on 07507 333356.

Below are some of the key changes that have been made to the way in which we deliver our service during this pandemic, in the interests of safety and wellbeing.

  • Our appointments are currently provided via telephone or video call
  • Secondary schools ‘Drop In’ sessions will resume when schools reopen.
  • School Nurse referrals can be made, please complete our referral form and we will respond as soon as possible.
  • We can provide information by email if required 
  • School Nurses will participate in Child Protection conferences/Child in Need/ Family Network meetings via Skype.  Reports will be shared with families over the telephone prior to the meetings.
  • Advice from a School Nurse can be gained by contacting the Health Business Centre by telephoning 03456 078866 or emailing childrenshealth@suffolk.gov.uk
  • Chathealth text messaging service is available Monday-Friday 9am until 4:30pm (excluding bank holidays) where a health professional will be available to offer support.  You can text them on 07507 333356.

The information that we collect and use for SystmOne health data and your rights regarding your information is available in this privacy notice.

In the sections below you can find out who we are, how we can help you and your child along with details of how to contact our school nursing teams.

Information for parents and children

Find information and advice on a range of topics below.

Within Suffolk, our School Nursing teams are part of our Health and Children's Centre Service. We provide a range of services to help you and your family stay safe, happy and healthy.

We also work alongside other agencies such as:

  • health visitors
  • GPs
  • schools
  • voluntary and community groups
  • other children's services, such as social care

School Nurses are qualified nurses or midwives with specialist community public health training and can offer families with children aged 5 to 19 years:

  • support for the health and well-being of your whole family, with seamless links from the health visiting service
  • support to ensure your child is reaching their full potential
  • advice on the immunisation programme, which ensures your child is protected against disease and infection
  • specialist support, advice and information on wider issues such as anxiety, stress and depression
  • National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) in Reception and Year 6
  • hearing and Vision screening in Reception
  • access to a range of parental workshops in schools
  • ChatHealth, our school nursing texting service
  • health assessments for Year 6, Year 10 and pupils transferring into Suffolk (currently being developed)
  • confidential health 'drop-ins' in secondary schools for young people offering Suffolk c-card condom scheme, chlamydia testing, pregnancy testing and emergency hormonal contraception provision
  • confidential 'drop-ins' in pupil referral units and special schools 
  • Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan support where involved
  • follow up (if required) for accident and emergency attendance and police domestic abuse referrals
  • support for you to feel confident in your parenting skills and to provide the best opportunities for your child as their grow 

We also support schools by delivering:

  • assemblies at key transition points
  • termly locality training for schools on management of asthma, epilepsy and anaphylaxis (in Lowestoft and Waveney this is provided by James Paget Hospital)
  • individual training in schools where required
  • identifying health needs within their school community, working with them to create a health and well-being action plan. (This is currently being piloted in two areas with the aspiration to increase participation to all schools)

Call our Health Business Centre on 0345 607 8866 or email childrenshealth@suffolk.gov.uk if you:

  • would like to change an appointment
  • need to speak to School Nurse
  • would like information, advice and guidance

Referrals

If you would like to make a referral for some additional support from a School Nurse, please complete our referral form (Word, 58KB).

Please note, if you are a parent, carer or young person, you can self refer either via the referral form, calling us on 0345 607 8866 or via ChatHealth.

The School Nursing Alternative Provision Team are a county wide service for children and young people attending special schools and those with SEND accessing other educational provision.

The team are made up of a School Nurse Manager, a School Nurse, Staff Nurses and Healthy Child Practitioners.

They offer a range of support which includes:

  • assessing health needs at key points in a child/young person's educational journey
  • group activities in schools to help children and young people keep healthy
  • workshops for parents/carers on behaviour and emotional wellbeing, puberty and adolescence and toilet training
  • assessing individual unmet health needs in partnership with parents/carers and exploring ideas together to support these
  • one to one sessions with parents/carers and/or children and young people
  • coordination of continence product provision for children and young people aged between 4 to 18 years
  • providing advice and support to colleagues in education, health, social care and voluntary agencies on SEND related health issues

Find contact details for the School Nursing Alternative Provision Team on InfoLink.

If you have a question about your child's health or development you can speak to a school nurse, GP or a professional who works with them.

For further information, support, and guidance for parents and carers go to the Suffolk Local Offer website.

Referrals

If you would like to make a referral for some additional support from a School Nurse, please complete our referral form (Word, 72KB).

Please note, if you are a parent, carer or young person you can self refer either via the referral form or contacting us on 0345 607 8866.

You may also find this information useful:

Children over 11 can access a confidential school nurse 'drop-in' at your school. Look out for information in your school or ask a teacher for information.

School Nurse 'drop-ins' provide a range of information, advice and guidance including:

  • Suffolk C-Card condom scheme
  • chlamydia testing
  • pregnancy testing
  • emergency hormonal contraception provision

The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP)

The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) measure the height and weight of children in Reception class (aged 4 to 5) and Year 6 (aged 10 to 11). The height and wright are measured and used to calculate a Body Mass Index.   This data can be used nationally to support local public health initiatives and locally to inform planning and delivery of services for children. 

In Suffolk the NCMP is carried out by the school nursing team. Before the programme starts each year, we will write to parents and carers of all children eligible for measurement to inform them of the programme.  Parents and carers can choose to withdraw their child from the process by responding to the letter.

For more information visit the NHS NCMP webpage.

If you are concerned that your child might be underweight or overweight you can talk to your GP, Health Visitor or School Nurse who can offer advice and support.

Below are links to other sites you may find helpful:

Hearing and vision

Routine hearing and vision tests are offered to children to identify and problems early on in the development. Although serious problems during childhood are rare, early testing ensures that any problems are picked up and managed as early as possible. Children may not realise they have a hearing or vision problem so, without routine tests there is a risk a problem may not be spotted which could affect their development and education.

In Suffolk the Hearing and Vision screening tests are carried out on children in Reception class (aged 4 to 5) by the school nursing team. Before the programme starts each year, we will write to parents and carers of all children eligible for screening to inform them of the programme. Parents and carers can choose to withdraw their child from the process by responding to the letter.

If you are concerned about your child's hearing or vision, you can talk to your GP, Health Visitor or School Nurse who can offer advice and support.

Remember free NHS sight tests are also available at opticians for children under 16 and for young people under 19 in full-time education. You can go to an optician if you have any concerns about your child's vision at any stage.

For more information please visit:

ChatHealth is a confidential texting services for parents and carers and young people aged 11 to 19 living in Suffolk.

Messages are sent to the dedicated number which are delivered to a secure website and responded to by the Suffolk School Nursing Team. 

Parents

If you are a parent or carer of a young person, you can use ChatHealth to seek help, advice or support about a range of issues which maybe affecting you or your child.

Text a School Nurse on 07507 333356

Texts are free of charge. The service is available Monday to Friday, 9am to 4:30pm, excluding bank holidays.

Young people

If you are aged between 11 and 19, you can confidentially text ChatHealth to ask for help about a range of issues or make an appointment with a school nurse. You can also find out how to access other local services including emotional support or sexual health services.

Text a School Nurse on 07507 333356

Texts are free of charge. The service is available Monday to Friday, 9am to 4:30pm, excluding bank holidays.

Out of hours

Anyone who texts the service out of hours will receive a 'bounce–back' message that explains where to get help, and when they can expect a response. Texts are replied to within one working day.

Please note, we are aiming to make ChatHealth available to younger pupils and pupils in special schools during 2020.

Acne is a common skin condition that affects most people at some point. It causes spots, oily skin and sometimes skin that is hot or painful to touch. Acne is very common in teenagers and younger adults. About 80% of people aged 11 to 30 are affected by acne.

Acne is most common in girls from the ages of 14 to 17, and in boys from the ages of 16 to 19.

Find acne support, including treatments and self-help techniques:

A new asthma inhaler app has been launched called MySpira. It is the world's first reality asthma training game, developed in collaboration with healthcare professionals.

Suitable for children aged 6 to 13, the MySpira app aims to improve the training of correct inhaler technique, using a combination of augmented reality and game play. 

For more information, please visit Healthy Suffolk.

You can find more asthma support at:

Bedwetting (also known as 'nocturnal enuresis') affects around half a million children and teenagers in the UK. It's an issue families can find very isolating and difficult to talk about openly. Growing up with bedwetting can take a huge toll on family life and can affect your child's self-esteem and emotional well-being. 

The good news is you don't need to wait until children grow out of bedwetting - support is now available and recommended from the age of 5 years.

The Nocturnal Enuresis (bedwetting) Service provide specialist advice, care, treatment and support for children and young people aged 5 to 19 years.

The service offers:

  • advice on treatment methods available to help gain bladder control
  • support for children and their families during the time in our care
  • a range of treatments including alarms and/or medication
  • access to a specialist Community Paediatrician to enable children to regain control of their bladders
  • training for school staff and other professionals

Children and young people aged 5 to 19 can be referred to the service by their:

  • GP
  • School Nurse
  • Paediatrician

Find out more information about the Enuresis Service.

Other useful websites include:

Confidence and self-esteem can play an important part in your happiness and how you feel about yourself. We all have times when we lack confidence and don’t feel good about ourselves. But when low self-esteem becomes a long-term problem, it can have a harmful effect on our lives.

The good news is there are loads of ways you can start to improve your confidence. 

Find out more by visiting:

Divorce, separation and other family changes can mean losing the home, school and friends you are used to, as well as seeing less of one or more family members.

Remember, it's not your fault and it doesn't affect how much your family loves you. It's OK to miss a parent who has left, and to ask for support from someone you trust. 

Below are a list of helplines and websites offering help and support:

Alcohol misuse

Alcoholic drinks, when consumed sensibly and in moderation, can be enjoyable, but if you drink excessively you can put your health at risk. Unfortunately, there are too many young people who make this mistake every year. Being clear on the law around alcohol is important - for both parents and children. The law isn’t simply about knowing right from wrong. It’s a reminder of the potential consequence of drinking alcohol underage. 

To find out more information about the law and alcohol misuse, please visit:

Drug and substance misuse

Taking drugs is dangerous and could affect your mental health. There are many myths and stereotypes surrounding drugs, so it is important that you get the right information.

If you or a family member or friend need advice about substance misuse (including drugs and alcohol), or would like to find out how to access support and treatment, get in touch with Turning Point in Suffolk.

Other helpful sites include:

Many people struggle to cope at one point or another of their lives. Experiencing a range of emotions during these times is common. We all experience not being OK differently. Take the first step and talk to someone you trust.

These helplines, websites and apps can provide you with information and support:

Relationships can be confusing and it’s important we that can recognise when relationships are not healthy.

Find out more about relationships and how to stay safe:

People can self-harm for many different reasons, including bullying, difficulties at school, problems at home, being a victim of abuse, low self-esteem or other emotional difficulties.

Self-harm is a way of coping with emotional distress. However, it is only a temporary relief, and it won't stop the negative emotions from coming back. If you're using self-harm as a way to deal with your feelings, it's important that you talk to someone and seek help.

Take the first step and talk to someone you trust. You can go to your GP for help at any age. Anything you talk about is confidential and will be kept between you and your doctor.

If you're 16 or over, you can also refer yourself for free support from the Suffolk Wellbeing Service. This could be in the form of short-term counselling or a telephone call from a professional, or wellbeing workshops or classes. For more information, visit the Suffolk Wellbeing Service website.

Find helplines and websites that can provide you with information and support:

See also sections - Emotional Wellbeing Hub and Feeling overwhelmed and suicidal

Is it worth stopping smoking? Yes. Apart from saving a lot of money you will feel better and healthier, enjoy food and have more energy for exercise.

After stopping smoking you'll quickly notice you're breathing easier, have more energy, and your stress levels will be lower. Among other things, quitting also helps save the planet. Deforestation because of tobacco production accounts for nearly 5% of overall deforestation in the developing world!

You can get help to quit from your school nurse, as well as:

The Emotional Wellbeing Hub provides information, advice, and guidance if you are worried about the emotional wellbeing and mental health of a child or young person aged 0-25 years or if you are a young person who needs emotional wellbeing support.

The Emotional Wellbeing Hub is a multi-agency team offering a central point of contact for families, professionals, and young people to access mental health services or to discuss concerns about the emotional wellbeing of a child or young person in East or West Suffolk.  If you live in Great Yarmouth and Waveney, or Norfolk, please contact the Point 1 Service.

Find out more information by visiting the Suffolk Emotional Wellbeing Hub page on InfoLink.

Everyone has experienced stress at some point in their lives, whether in the run up to exams, before a driving test, or around a big change in your life. Stress can either be caused by our thoughts and anxieties, or by events and experiences. 

People are affected by stress in different ways. A little bit of stress can be a good thing as it triggers the 'fight or flight' response which can help you to deal with certain pressures. But when the stress builds up and hangs around, we need to learn how to relax and de-stress.

Find out how to recognise and manage stress:

See also Feeling overwhelmed and suicidal.

When someone dies, some of the words you will hear to describe what happened are bereavement, grief and mourning.

Grief describes the feelings you may be having after the death of someone close to you, whether it is a member of your family, a friend or a pet.

Losing someone or something you care deeply for is one of the hardest things we have to face in our lives. It can be a confusing time and you may feel overwhelmed with all sorts of difficult emotions. It is important to know that everyone experiences and expresses their feelings to grief in different ways and there is no right or wrong way to do this. You could feel great sadness, relief, disbelief or you could feel frightened or numb.

You are not alone. Here are some websites that offer advice and guidance:

Other information

If you think a child or young person is at risk of abuse, harm or neglect please call 0808 800 4005.

This is a 24-hour service staffed by a team of professional people who will listen to your concerns and take appropriate actions.  For more information, including live web chat, please contact Customer First.

If you need to register with a GP, dentist, find a pharmacy, or access 111 services, please use NHS Service Search.