School sought for ‘head of wellbeing’ pilot project

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A UK secondary school is being sought to work on a pilot project to create a “head of wellbeing” role with its staff team.

Schools are invited to put themselves forward for the initiative, which is being run by Nuffield Health, a not-for-profit healthcare organisation.

The pilot will see a head of wellbeing seconded to the school and charged with combatting rising levels of poor physical and mental health among both pupils and teachers.

It has been set-up after a report earlier this year by Nuffield Health and the 2020health think-tank recommended the creation of the position in secondary schools.

The report said that low levels of exercise, high levels of obesity and poor emotional wellbeing were three areas that could be “vastly improved”, for both pupils and teachers, if schools were to appoint a head of wellbeing.

Nuffield Health has said it will lead, fund and evaluate the two-year pilot project, which will include the development of a health and wellbeing programme for the school.

The pilot will begin in September and will see Nuffield Health invest “significantly” into the school, including state-of-the-art fitness facilities and equipment and developing a wellbeing strategy in collaboration with the school.

The work will include offering a “12-point Health MOT” to all teachers and a health check to pupils, with particular focus on nutrition, exercise and emotional wellbeing.

The report earlier this year said that half of all diagnosable mental health conditions are thought to start before the age of 14 (and 75 per cent by the age of 21). Despite this, as many as 75 per cent of school children living with mental illness go undiagnosed.

When it came to teaching staff, the report said that 

73 per cent reported that their job had a negative impact on their health and wellbeing.

Dr Andrew Jones, Nuffield Health’s managing director for wellbeing, said: “At a time when conditions like obesity and mental illness are on the rise in children and young adults, there is clearly a need to invest in proactive and preventative health and wellbeing initiatives in schools. This area continues to be neglected and underfunded.

“We are looking for a school to take part in our pilot who shares our vision for a healthy, productive and creative environment.

“This initiative has the potential to transform wellbeing in schools, by providing effective support and infrastructure, setting a benchmark for UK primary and secondary schools to aspire to,” he added.

Schools interested in applying should do so by April 17. Visit www.nuffieldhealth.com/school


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