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Secondary School

An image of secondary school pupils running.

Below are a number of topics that are covered by the School Nursing Service whilst your child is in Secondary School. Each topic has useful information and links to help you and your child. 

Alcohol is considered to be a drug because when taken into the body it changes how you feel, think or behave. A drug is any substance that, when taken into the body, does this.

When the way a person feels, think and behaves has been changed by alcohol, the new way they feel is called being ‘intoxicated’ or ‘drunk.’

For more information about alcohol, follow this link to the Alcohol section of the Talk to Frank website.

If you are concerned about a child or young person with an acute illness please contact your GP, call NHS 111 or visit the NHS 111 Wales website, where they also have a symptom checker available. 

Most children have common childhood illnesses at some point.

Should I send my child to school today?

When your child is unwell it can be hard deciding whether to keep them off school. Not every illness will prevent a child from attending school. For guidance around whether your child should go to school, follow this link to the For guidance around whether your child should go to school, follow this link to the 'Is my child too ill for school?' page on the NHS website.

Some infectious illnesses will result in a child not being able to attend school for a short period of time.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has lots of useful information on common infectious diseases including the length of time before a child can return to school after an infectious illness. For more information, follow this link to the UK Government website.

Daily brushing of your teeth is important because it removes plaque. If the plaque is not removed, it continues to build up, feeding on the bits of food left behind causing tooth decay and gum disease.

Advice for Families

  • Brush teeth twice daily for two minutes (morning and at bedtime)
  • Spit out excess toothpaste but do not rinse. Rinsing with water after tooth brushing will wash away the fluoride and make it less effective
  • Try and limit sugar containing foods and drinks to mealtimes and not between meals.
  • Ensure your child has a healthy snacks and drinks, choose nutritious foods such as plain yoghurt, cheese, fruit or raw vegetables. Vegetables such as celery, help remove food and help saliva neutralise plaque causing acids.
  • Visit a dentist at least once a year. NHS dental care is FREE.

 Follow this link to the Dentists page on Swansea Bay UHB's website.

Each School Nurse works with the secondary schools, and provides weekly drop-in sessions.

The sessions provide an opportunity for parents, carers, families and pupils to discuss any issues with their named School Nurse.

To find out what day and time the session is being held at your secondary school, please contact the receptionist/secretary at the school. Or call the School Nursing Service on 01639 862801.

You may be curious about drugs and/or feel pressured by friends to try drugs.

STOP and THINK as drug use can be harmful to your health. Use the information below to find out more so you can make sensible choices.

Not all drugs are illegal, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t harmful. For example, tobacco and alcohol can seriously damage your health.

Recently new “legal highs” have been developed to mimic the effects of illegal drugs such as cannabis and ecstasy. These are structured differently enough to avoid being classed as illegal substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act. However, they can still have dangerous side effects.

The Misuse of Drugs Act separates illegal drugs into 3 categories:

  • Class A e.g. heroin and ecstasy
  • Class B e.g. cannabis and amphetamines
  • Class C e.g. anabolic steroids and benzodiazapines (tranquillisers)

Some drugs can be used for beneficial reasons such as prescribed drugs, but all drugs can have negative side effects.

If you are worried or concerned about drugs either for yourself or someone you know, talk to someone you can trust, this could be your School Nurse, someone at school; home or your GP.

For more information about drugs, follow this link to the Talk to Frank website.

Childhood is an important time to develop a healthy body and healthy habits.

Eating and physical activity habits are established at a young age and can influence a child's habits as an adult. We all need food for our bodies to work, however if we eat more food than our body needs we will become overweight due to laying down excess fat.

Think about portion sizes

It is important to be aware of portion sizes when thinking about a healthy diet. Children have much smaller tummies than adults so they do not need the same size meal as grown-ups. Physical activity and exercise can be helpful to help maintain a healthy weight alongside healthy eating.

5 a day

It is recommended that children and young people should have 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day. Fruit and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and fibre which are essential for bodies to remain healthy and to prevent diseases in later life.

For more information on 5 a day, follow this link to the '5 A Day: what counts' page on the NHS website.

For more information on 5 a day follow this link to the Healthier Families section on the NHS website.

School lunches

Having a school lunch is an easy way to ensure that a child has a healthy balanced meal that complies with the government's current nutritional standards. It is also a good time for pupils to spend time eating and socialising with their friends at the lunch tables.

Free school meals are available for children whose parents/carers are in receipt of certain benefits. Ask at your child’s school for more details.

Keeping hydrated

It is important for children to drink around 6 – 8 drinks per day to ensure that they are properly hydrated. Water based drinks are best. Research has shown that children who are able to drink water during the school day have found that they have fewer headaches, are more relaxed and are able to concentrate better.

Long-term conditions are health conditions that require ongoing management over a period of years. Common long-term conditions in childhood include:

  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Epilepsy
  • Eczema
  • Severe allergies/anaphylaxis

Around 10-15% of children under 16 are affected by chronic, long term health conditions.

Children and young people who have a long-term condition can be at risk of missing out on educational opportunities due to prolonged absences from school, from ill health or multiple appointments. It is therefore important that schools are aware of individual children’s health needs. If you have any concerns, please discuss them with your child’s teacher.

To ensure that children with health conditions are able to fully access school, many children have individual health care plans that have been supported by specialist nurses, consultants or your child's school in conjunction with parents.


Follow this link to the Allergy Wise website for free training.

All courses cover how to recognise and manage anaphylaxis. 

Courses available for parents/carers and schools.

It is important for young people to have the right information about how to look after themselves, how to stay safe and make the right health choices.

There are many websites that can offer sexual health information, however sometimes it is important to speak to someone individually.

Your specialist sexual health workers, GP or school nurse are able to give advice, information and support. All health professionals are bound by the same confidentiality rules which means that a young person can talk ‘in confidence’ (even if they are under 16) and the health professional will not talk about what they have said to other people or to their school.

If the health professional is concerned about a child or young person’s safety they have a duty to tell somebody else, however they will tell the young person if they need to do this. 

Health professionals will encourage young people to talk to their parents if possible and will sometimes help them to do so. 

For more information about Sexual Health, follow this link the the health board's Sexual Health Services page.

Other useful links:

Follow this link to the Brook website.

Your free and confidential sexual health and wellbeing experts. 

Follow this link to the Mermaids website.

Mermaids has been supporting transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse children, young people, and their families since 1995.

Follow this link to the Swansea Takes On Period Poverty website. 

Swansea Takes On Period Poverty (STOPP) was set up with an ambitious vision to make Swansea a ‘Period Positive’ city (with the support of where menstrual products are freely available in all public facilities such as schools, libraries, community centres and other private businesses.

Sleep is an important part of a child’s day and a good sleep hygiene routine can be beneficial to a child’s development. There are things that parents and carers can do to improve their child’s sleep.

Be clear about how much sleep your child needs, they may want to stay up late, but, will this impact on their behaviour tomorrow when it’s time to get up for school and will they be able to function to their full potential?

When setting bedtimes, explain these to your child during the day. Don’t wait until the time you want your child to settle and then announce “Bed time!” Give your child a regular routine that will help them to wind down. Ensure your child knows bedtime is not a punishment, make it a calm, enjoyable time with activities such as a bath and or story. Avoid stimulating activities such as TV or computer games.

  • Be consistent
  • Try not to get into negotiations
  • Follow your new routine
  • Use reward charts to demonstrate any progress
  • Be patient, change takes time

For further advice and support speak to your school nurse or GP.

Increasingly, children and young people are spending a lot of time using the internet to help with their school work and homework.

They are using social media applications to chat to their friends and network, as well as playing online games.

Internet technology is developing at a very fast rate, and parents are finding it difficult to keep up to date with what their children are using or doing online.

A lot of parents feel that their children know a lot more about the internet than they do. It's important that parents know their child still needs advice and guidance when it comes to being safe online. Talking to your child is one of the best ways to keep them safe.

For information and guidance on how to speak to your child and make sure they're safe online, follow this link to the 'Keeping children safe online' page on the NSPCC website. 

Smoking is bad for your health and increases your risk of getting many serious diseases.

Your skin will age prematurely causing wrinkles, dull eyes and complexion. Cigarette smoke can also make your mouth and clothes smell.

When you smoke, it's not just your health that is at risk, but the health of anyone around you who breathes in cigarette smoke, including pets.

Breathing in this secondary smoke is known as passive smoking, or secondary smoking. Children are at particular risk from the effects of passive smoking and are at an increased risk of developing chest infections, ear infections and asthma.

Babies who are exposed to cigarette smoke are also at a greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome (also known as cot death). 

For more information and advice on how to quit smoking, follow this link to the Help Me Quit Wales website. 

Rydym yn croesawu gohebiaeth a galwadau ffôn yn y Gymraeg neu'r Saesneg. Atebir gohebiaeth Gymraeg yn y Gymraeg, ac ni fydd hyn yn arwain at oedi. Mae’r dudalen hon ar gael yn Gymraeg drwy bwyso’r botwm ar y dde ar frig y dudalen.

We welcome correspondence and telephone calls in Welsh or English. Welsh language correspondence will be replied to in Welsh, and this will not lead to a delay. This page is available in Welsh by clicking ‘Cymraeg’ at the top right of this page.