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Suki Sencee

Promoting School Readiness for Children starting in Reception

Name: Suki Sencee

Job title: School Nurse Specialist Practitioner (SCHPN)

Speciality: School Nursing Service

Organisation: Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust Harden H.C

What is the initiative and or project you are involved in? 

The School Nursing Service has developed an intervention for parents and carers to support transition of their children into reception year.

As a school nurse focusing on the lead area for school transitions the priority was to focus on the school readiness approach for nursery age children to Reception age in supporting their transition. 

What prompted you to do this work? 

School Nurses supports children and young people aged 5-19 years through the delivery of Healthy Child Programme and take over care from Health Visitors when the child enters full time education. Successful transition from home or nursery to school is key to better long-term outcomes. Children need to be ready to go to school and this includes being able to separate from parents, are toilet trained, able to communicate and their health needs managed. School Nurses have a key role in supporting children to transition (xxxx). Working collaboratively with schools to address the needs of children is a key factor in improving outcomes of health and inequalities. It is important to take a public health perspective to meet the needs of the local population.

How did you initiate the work?

Two infant schools were engaged in a pilot project. The Lead School Nurse for Transition gathering data and information by working with pastoral and parent support staff. Information was obtained to identify the needs of nursery age children who were transitioning into reception Year through a questionnaire. Questionnaire were used to gather information which was then collated and used to develop the content of a workshop for parent’s nursery age children.

A coffee morning was designed as a welcoming and a positive way to engage with parents. The school wrote to each parent to invite them to the event. A short presentation was developed covering the health topics highlighted in the questionnaires. Time for consultations with individual parents was built into the coffee morning and a resource box of leaflet designed to help with signposting and self-help guidance. Questionnaires were developed to measure the effectiveness of the intervention and to gain the views of parents, school staff and the lead nurse. The Health Visiting service was invited to co-deliver the coffee morning which was aimed at supporting a seamless handover of care.

What have the challenges to implementing the service/intervention been? And what has enabled the implementation of the service/intervention?

Two members of staff from the school nursing service delivered the parent transition workshop, the named nurse for the school and a nursery nurse. A nursery nurse from the Health Visiting service also supported the workshop. 30 parents attended. The parents were encouraged to ask questions and following the presentation came forward to ask specific health related questions regarding child’s health. The time allowed towards the end of the coffee morning was useful as It was an opportunity for parents to come forwards without an audience and feeling comfortable in approaching the nurse at their own leisure. The coffee morning took approximately just over an hour.

Resource box was laid out for parents and school staff to browse and access information on health age-related topics for the parent. Some parents chose to take a leaflet without asking any questions. An evaluation was handed out to parents on arrival and collected prior to leaving. 

Has the initiative or project made a difference to patients/service users and or staff? 

Evaluations were collected and parents identified that they were interested topics about behavioural concerns, toileting and fussy eating. 

Parents indicated that they were not aware that the School Nursing service takes over the support for children from the Health Visiting service, at the age of 5.

School staff were very welcoming and perceived the support offered through the School Nurse was helpful and improved the accessibility of the service.

What are the long-term aims for the work?

To develop Transition workshops as part of our core offer to all schools, working within individual schools to ensure topics delivered are relevant to parents of children transitioning to the school. The workshops will be lead by the named School Nurse for the school with the aim of increasing visibility and accessibility of the service. To continue to co-deliver, where possible with the Health Visiting service to promote seamless transition.

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