Changing the conversation about health

A School Based Integrated Health Centre, Penair School

Information, advice and guidance for young people primarily under the headings of:

• Mental Health issues
• Sexual Health & Relationships
• Nutrition, Diet and Self Image
• Drugs and Alcohol issues

There are three centres: Bywva (Place of Life) at Penair; the Haven at Budehaven and the Crayon at Hayle. They promote good decision making by students who are aged 11-16 at Penair and Hayle and 11-18 at Budehaven. All centres have become the focus of health service delivery for young people, some have developed health and well-being across the curriculum including the concepts of Blue and Green Gym activities (see the work of Professor Mike Depledge).

Shortlisted for our Innovations Award 2011.

Year established
Number of staff
1FT staff at each centre
Number of users
Centres available to all staff, students and the wider community; visits approximately 500 per term at Penair.
Is there a charge to users?
No charges
What makes your project sustainable?
The project is embedded within the work of all three schools. Each school has a facility developed especially for this work. The cost is part of the schools’ annual budgets.
In terms of demographics, the schools vary slightly in size year on year but this may not be reflected in the usage of the Centres – a small cohort may be high users for example. At Penair, 48% of visits to the centre are by males.
The project is innovative as there are currently no other centres of this type. The twin problems identified in pre-project research were that young people do not consider Health Service provision as confidential and they do not have access to services without asking others for transport, particularly in Cornwall and other rural areas.

Young people do not feel comfortable in many current health service facilities. The IHCs are theirs; they are 50% of the Management Board.The IHCs are generally working very well but tensions have emerged between some Health Service practitioners due to the total focus upon the young people’s needs in the IHCs – rather than the convenience of the service.The concept of confidentiality (the centres operate with Health Service levels of confidentiality, rather than the expectations prevalent in education and within the concept of Fraser competencies.

The only time that confidences may be broken, with the knowledge of the student, is when issues of Safeguarding arise).Impending budget difficulties for schools are likely to cause some review of the IHCs but three more schools want to develop them, using a reduced capital model for their set-up.Overall the basic concept of giving young people the knowledge, information and skills to make healthy choices is a success. The project has had a rigorous 3-year evaluation.

Patient-Centred, whole person preventative approach
The whole idea of the IHC project is that the students are the focus; they are, and continue to develop the skills to be, the decision-makers about their own health and life choices. By addressing the issues of confidentiality and access, the IHCs are able to address the concerns of the students, see above, that were mirrored by local GPs.

The system of identification of issues, engagement of professionals or practitioners as necessary and defined programme of action is underpinned by curriculum and school organisation eg pastoral care and data collection, in the schools.In Penair for example, the Science, Sport, Health and Fitness faculties (renamed from PE faculty as a result of this work) and PSHE curriculum are directly linked to prevention of Health related issues (examples above). In addition all areas of the school and the staff have undergone in-house and external training about the use of the PASS (Pupils Awareness of School and Self) survey which can indicate the emergence of mental health issues; some staff have been trained to use the Stop Stigma materials which address mental health in the community.

Additionally the schools involved have, using their own budgets, added facilities which enhance the opportunities for an individualised approach to Health eg Fitness Suite at Penair, and have developed extra-curricular activities proven through the concept of the Green Gym and Blue Gym to be beneficial to mental wellbeing.

Evidence informed practice/audit and evaluation
See research report
Multi-disciplinary collaboration, and professional communication
See research report
Contact details
School Based Integrated Health Centres (Penair, Hayle and Budehaven Schools)
Rice Lane
Gorran Haven
PL26 6JFt: 01726