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Promoting the Health of the Children and Young People of Manchester

Healthy Schools

Our Healthy Schools team is holding a Manchester Healthy Schools Health Improvement Awards and Wellbeing Showcase event today.

The event is being held to award schools for their outstanding work promoting the health of the children and young people of Manchester. It is also a showcase of new public health resources that the Health Improvement Service has created this year.

There is a growing knowledge of the complex interaction between psychosocial events and biological factors, and we now understand that events that occur in early life play a fundamental part in later life, and indeed in the lives of future generations. The conclusion is that early interventions and preventive measures such as immunisation, health checks and education do make a difference to outcomes. If we act early we can prevent harm.

Maria Oakley - Head of Health Improvement Service says: "Manchester is a vibrant, diverse city but it also faces many challenges and health inequalities. Manchester still has some of the most deprived areas in the country and the health of people in Manchester is generally worse than the England average.  Life expectancy for both men and women is lower than the England average. Therefore public health work continues to be a vital piece of the jigsaw."

It has been recognised in Manchester that schools need support and guidance with this huge task and the Manchester Healthy Schools Programme continues to provide that support.

The Programme focuses on key public health targets for the city of Manchester, which are:

• Drug and alcohol education

• Emotional and mental health and wellbeing

• Healthy lifestyles education including healthy eating and physical activity

• Sex and relationship education

Claire Duggan, Manager, Healthy Schools says: "Schools are in a prime position to engage with young people and provide stimulating and effective Personal and Social Health Education. However we know and understand the challenges and pressures schools face today and fitting even more into an already overstretched curriculum can feel like an unrealistic goal.

Many Manchester schools are overcoming those challenges and we want to reward them for their efforts on behalf of the children and young people of Manchester whose lives they are making a difference to.

We also want to encourage other schools to keep going with all your good work and we want to use your excellent examples of good practice to help and inspire other schools, so that children and young people of Manchester receive the health education and support they need whether they live in the city."

We really need to think creatively about how to communicate with this group and the best people to show us how do this are young people themselves.

Research has shown us that young people value hearing and learning from the past experiences of other young people.

The Health Improvement Service, known as the Healthy Schools Team, is continually striving to answer these calls from young people.

The team consult with young people, they try to use the latest technology that young people relate to and they listen to what young people say they want. The resources they will showcase at the event are a direct outcome of that process.

The event will be opened by our Chairman Peter Mount. Representatives from Manchester Public Health, schools and other services, together with. Manchester City Football Club City in the Community will be attending as they work in close partnership with Manchester Healthy Schools. In particular is the award winning joint programme 'Strike a Balance'. One school will be awarded by MCFC for their continued work on the programme.

- Ends -

For Secondary schools several resources are being launched at the event:

  • Manchester Healthy Schools together with the Odd Theatre Company and Manchester young people created a DVD which tackles important drug, alcohol and mental health issues.  Snapshot takes a glimpse into the lives of several young people encountering these challenges and encourages pupils to discuss the dilemmas they face.  Full lesson plans, as well as PowerPoint presentations accompany the short film clips, making Snapshot an invaluable resource for Secondary schools, especially within the PSHE curriculum.
  • Keep Calm and Carry On, contains real life stories, advice and signs to look out for, as well as contact details for support agencies both locally and nationally.  This online resource tackles issues that affect pupils' emotional health and wellbeing.  Available through the Manchester Healthy Schools website, this resource will be a useful starting place for pupils and teachers alike to find out further information and signpost to relevant agencies.
  • Following the recent and worrying trend of 'sexting' (the exchange of sexual messages or images) via social media, Manchester Healthy Schools and Brook have devised a set of lesson plans to tackle this sensitive issues.  Promoting respect, #riseupmanchester inspires young people to be responsible when it comes to the information they choose to share online.  A special hotline has been set up in conjunction with Greater Manchester Police for young people to report inappropriate behaviour.

Further information can be found at: www.manchesterhealthyschools.nhs.uk

The recently released 2012 Chief Medical Officer's Report titled "Our Children Deserve Better: Prevention Pays" can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/chief-medical-officers-annual-report-2012-our-children-deserve-better-prevention-pays

Throughout the report schools are identified as being an important factor in the health and wellbeing of children.