Nuffield Health targets healthier schools with ‘head of wellbeing’ pilot
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Nuffield Health targets healthier schools with ‘head of wellbeing’ pilot

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Nuffield Health and think tank 2020health has started work with Wood Green School in Witney on a new pilot which hopes to change the way schools approach health and wellbeing.

The pilot scheme will explore the benefits of appointing a head of wellbeing at the comprehensive school, who will be tasked with developing a strategy to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of students and staff. It follows recent research from Nuffield Health and 2020health which highlighted how the school environment is second only to the parental home as the most important influence on a young person’s development.

Youth wellbeing has been constantly in the spotlight this summer, as damning statistics have highlighted the extent of the UK’s problem, particularly in terms of physical inactivity. Research released by Essex University showed fitness levels among English schoolchildren are lower than ever and still getting worse, while ukactive also made major headlines recently with its Generation Inactive report, which showed only half of seven-year-olds are meeting recommended physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes per day.

The new initiative, which is the first of its kind, will be funded by Nuffield Health and sees the two year secondment of a head of wellbeing to help develop and implement a health and wellbeing strategy at the school.

“We see this pilot as an opportunity to change the way that schools approach health and wellbeing,” said Dr Davina Deniszczyc, Nuffield Health’s medical director, wellbeing.

“A head of wellbeing can provide effective support and infrastructure, which has the potential to transform pupil and staff wellbeing. The outcomes over the two years will be invaluable in helping to shape the future of school wellbeing.”

As part of the pilot, Lancaster University’s The Work Foundation are providing independent evaluation over the two years. This will include measuring how the health and wellbeing interventions that Nuffield Health are implementing improve both individual physical and psychological health, as well as school outcomes.

Zofia Bajorek, researcher at The Work Foundation, added: “By evaluating the head of wellbeing pilot alongside Nuffield Health, we have a real opportunity to improve our understanding of the link between the school environment and health and wellbeing, and to see where improvements can be made that will benefit the school population and the local community.”

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Nuffield Health and think tank 2020health has started work with Wood Green School in Witney on a new pilot which hopes to change the way schools approach health and wellbeing.
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