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Welcome to our SHRN newsletter for October 2020!

We thought that it was important not to send this newsletter out too early this term, as we wanted to ensure we didn’t interfere with the process of you all settling back into school. We have been thinking of you all and hope that it is going well.
Table of contents:
  • News from our virtual events and a presentation on the impact of SHRN
  • A request for photographs for our National Report
  • Our new welcome pack
  • ALPHA Research Advisory Group
  • Dates for the diary (webinars and virtual events)
  • Back to school study – Bristol University
News from our virtual events and a presentation on the impact of SHRN
At the virtual summer events in June, we did say that we had bid for some funding to explore the impact of Covid 19 on Welsh students. Unfortunately, we were not successful. We do know that this is of interest to you all, so over the Summer we have approached another funder to allow us to conduct a qualitative piece of work with a small number of schools. It should allow researchers to explore the impact on mental health at this time and inform recommendations on how schools can best support students going forward. We will keep you informed of progress!
At the same events we were able to hear from Rhydian Jones, a teacher form Aberconwy school in Conwy, who had a secondment with us last year. He explored the impact of his school being a member of the School Health Research Network. He has kindly agreed that we can share a presentation based on this, that he has more recently delivered to a Health Care Research Wales conference. You can access it here
Above: Rhydian's introductory slide
Calling all Photographers
Our second National Report will be released later this term. We hope that having all Wales data will complement your own school and local authority reports.

To bring this to life we’d like to ask the students of SHRN schools to get involved by sending in pictures on the topic “What do health and wellbeing mean at your school?” Chosen pictures will then be used either on the front cover or in the body of the National Report.

We ask if schools can please send a maximum of four good quality photos to by Friday 23rd October 2020  

Pack for new SHRN Leads in Schools
We know that some of you have been the SHRN lead for your school for many years but for the 2019 survey we had over 80 leads new to the role. We thought it would be helpful to produce a small electronic pack to explain the value of the Network to school health and wellbeing priorities in Wales. This is now ready to go but we would like to ask if any of you (old and new leads alike) if you would like to look over it and provide us with valuable feedback.
Email to request a copy

ALPHA (Advice Leading to Public Health Advancement)
ALPHA (Advice Leading to Public Health Advancement) is a research advisory group of young people aged 14-25 who live in Wales. The group is based in DECIPHer, the same research centre at Cardiff University as the School Health Research Network. ALPHA meet once a month (at the moment meetings are virtual) and advise researchers on the best approaches to conducting research with young people.
“All you need is your opinion” ALPHA member
Would this suit any students in your school? It would allow them to ‘have their say’ and provide an opportunity to:
  • Develop transferable life skills
  • Enhance their CV and Personal Statement
  • Experience working within a research centre
If so, please ask them to contact:
 Peter Gee
Peter Gee
Public Involvement Officer
Here is a flyer you can pass on to students, for more information - ALPHA Flyer

Dates for the Diary
It is such an uncertain time, so we have decided to plan for three virtual meetings in summer 2021. It will be an important opportunity to prepare you for the survey that will take place in the Autumn, but will also allow for presentations from schools as to how they are using their SHRN data to support their health and wellbeing priorities as well as updates on evidence informed practice.

We know that many of you who joined our Zoom meetings in June enjoyed the opportunity of sharing practice in the small break-out groups that are a feature of that platform. We just need to ensure the events can be accessed by all.
June 17th 2021 at 10.30am - 12.30pm
June 23rd  2021 at 2pm – 4pm
June 29th 2021 at 3.30pm – 5.30pm
We will be running several webinars/meetings across this academic year.
To allow you to focus on your core business this term, we are only offering 2 afterschool webinars this term:
Tuesday 20th October 3.45-4.30
Mental Wellbeing and Transition to Secondary School
Graham Moore
Wednesday 25th November 3.45-4.30
Recent smoking, vaping, and cannabis use trends among young people in Wales 
Nicholas Page

Back to School Study - Bristol University
We thought that you would be interested in this Back to School study, conducted by researchers at Bristol university. It aimed to understand the views of young people, parents, carers, and staff in Bristol about the re-opening of secondary schools after Covid lockdown. It is based on interviews with 13 school staff from 7 schools, and 20 families from 8 schools, 12 with a Black/Asian/minority ethnic family member. The report is available to read here:

It found that home learning was challenging for many families and staff, although some benefited from it. Families were keen on the return to school, unless they had vulnerable/high risk family members. Young people had some worries about public transport, socialising and catching up on learning. Staff had mixed feelings about going back. Many were worried about the risk of Covid-19, being ‘spreaders’, whether social distancing would work, and young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health

UK Government guidance was seen as vague and unrealistic. Social distancing in schools would be mainly through year group bubbles, which were felt to be a practical solution but limited by sibling/social crossover. Teachers worried that by keeping their distance from students, would impact learning.

Participants suggested improvements for the return to school including: a supportive approach with consideration for emotional issues, clear and timely guidance, consistent messaging and reminders for students on social distancing/hand hygiene and  emphasising the ‘collective good’.

This work is funded by National Institute for Health Research, Applied Research Collaboration West (NIHR ARC West) and NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Behavioural Science and Evaluation (NIHR HPRU BSE), and supported by NIHR School for Public Health Research.
Copyright © 2020 School Health Research Network, All rights reserved.

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