BY the time pupils get to secondary school there will be some subjects they will never want to discuss with their parents, no matter how well they get on with them.
Now, with the arrival of a full-time health nurse at every secondary school in Oxfordshire, they will have someone to turn to talk about their most taboo subjects, including mental health, sexual health, and quitting smoking.
In the old days a visit from the school nurse was feared by some pupils who dreaded the random visits and inspections.
Those days are long gone and the current system is being improved even further with a significant investment over three years providing a nurse for each secondary school who, over time, should become a familiar face.
If the school nurse is someone pupils feel they can approach in confidence, she or he will be in a position to nip problems in the bud before they lead to pupils’ health and attendance being badly affected.
There is far less chance of pupils bunking off for a crafty cigarette – or worse – behind the bike sheds if there is a trusted health professional on site who has warned them of the dangers.
Working together with the headteacher and staff at the schools, the nurses will be able to draw up programmes that are designed to meet pupils’ needs.
There will, of course, be some issues that health nurses find too hot to handle, bullying on social media for example, but they will be in a good position to refer any issues to the relevant agencies.
The presence of a full-time health nurse on school sites should have a very positive effect and the scheme should be extended to primary schools once the funding becomes available.