School nurses are public health nurses who lead and deliver the Healthy Child Programme for school-aged children and young people.
Our service covers most of Suffolk, apart from Lowestoft and Waveney*, and works in partnership with school-aged children, young people, and their families to address health needs and to promote health and wellbeing with a focus on early help and support.
The local teams consist of a range of professionals including school nurses, community staff nurses, child health screening practitioners and business support officers.
Each primary and secondary school has a named school nurse who is supported by their team to promote health and emotional wellbeing in schools and in the community by:
- Being available to address, in confidence, any concerns about a child or young person’s health
- Providing health advice to help children and young people to make positive health choices
- Assessing children starting primary school after their care is transferred from the health visitor
- Offering young people an opportunity to discuss health issues confidentially at school based or community based 'drop-ins'
- Supporting young people who have medical needs and providing training for education staff to help manage these needs, as required
- Delivering classroom-based health education
- Working with and referring to other professionals
- Working with other agencies to safeguard and protect young people
- Delivering the national child measurement programme
- Providing health information, advice, and support.
The teams are community based and can be contacted by telephone, letter, email, or via our dedicated ChatHealth Texting Service. Young people can also access their school nursing team by asking at their school office. Details of your local school nursing team can be found in the service directory, available in the ‘Downloads’ section on the right-hand side.
Each school nurse holds a weekly ‘drop-in’ at secondary schools, which can be accessed independently by young people. Details of each ‘drop-in’ clinic can be found in the service directory. School nurses also hold regular drop-in sessions for parents at primary schools.
ChatHealth Texting Service
With increasingly more children and young people using mobile devices as part of their daily lives, we have introduced a virtual school nursing service. ChatHealth is an easy way for young people aged 11-19 to confidentially ask for help about a range of issues, or make an appointment with a school nurse. They can also find out how to access other local services including emotional support or sexual health services.
Messages sent to the dedicated number are delivered to a secure website, and responded to by local school nursing teams.
You can text a school nurse on 07507 333356, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays), 09:00 to 16:30.
Anyone who texts the service out-of-hours receives a ‘bounce–back’ message that explains where to get help, and when they can expect a response. Texts are normally replied to within one working day.
This service is also available for parents with children in primary school.
Confidentiality and consent
Young people are encouraged to talk with their parents/carers about health issues that are troubling them.
Although school nurses offer a confidential service to young people, there are times when the school nurse may need to share information. Depending on their age and level of understanding, young people may be able to give their own consent to talk with a health professional.
*This service is provided by East Coast Community Healthcare CIC in the Lowestoft and Waveney area, and their contact details can be found here.