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Physiotherapy in Schools

From working in several schools for children with additional needs, Lorna believes that a children’s physiotherapist is ideally places to work in all schools. The community feel promotes compliance, relevant information can be shared directly with appropriate staff (with parental consent), children’s daily activities and environments can be assessed to determine individual stresses on young bodies and parents realise that everyone is doing their best for their child.

We are all aware how children learn through observation and role models therefore Physiotherapy treatment in schools will provide an accepted healthy well-being culture.

Children are currently waiting 3 months to see local NHS Children’s Physiotherapists and with the current NHS staff retention freeze; the waiting list is likely to increase.

There are no private paediatric physiotherapists working locally and private physiotherapists, specialising in adults may not always be aware of the many differences between treating children and adults (see earlier). 

Important lesson time is missed travelling to appointments and there is the added inconvenience to parents.

Since London 2012 was announced, more and more young people have been inspired and motivated to take up sport.

“Significant Government investment has been made recently to improve the position and profile of PE and School Sport. The environment is changing with the first UK School Games held this year. It will become the pinnacle of the School Sport competitive calendar”. Richard Cabourn, Minister for Sport, 2006

There are now many Government initiatives to promote school sport.

The Department of Culture and Media and Sport (DCMS) and Department of Education and Skills (DoES) have set a target that by 2010 “all pupils in English schools to have at least 4 hours high quality PE and sport per week by 2010. Made up of 2 hours high quality PE and sport at school and for a further 2-3 hours out of school provided by the schools, clubs or community”.

Sports Search, rolled out by Sports Hub working with Sport England is available for 12-14 year olds in secondary schools to “see Britain active with increased levels of sporting participations leading to a healthier nation by 2012”.

The National Healthy Schools Programme set up by the DoES and Department of Health (launched in 1999 revised in 2005) promotes physical and emotional health, equipping pupils with skills and attitudes to make informed decisions about their health. It states the importance of investing in health to assist in raising levels of pupil achievement.

Government’s national strategy for PE, School Sport and Club Links (PESSCL), supported by the Youth Sport Trust aims to increase the uptake of sport by 5-16 year olds, nurture the gifted and talented and provide a National Competition Framework.

Schools on the Move project is designed to raise pupil, teacher and parent awareness of the important role physical activity has in reducing obesity, maintaining health and well-being.

With the increased sport promotion, uptake and likely associated injury, Lorna believes Children’s Physiotherapy in schools is a forefront good practice initiative.

The initiative has benefits to the entire School, pupils, parents as it shows that sport and Children’s health are taken seriously, enabling all students of all sporting abilities and aspirations to reach their full potential.

Advice and treatment offered now can help young people continue with sport for life by preventing possible upset in later years when they may no longer be able to play their sport due to poor care during their formative years. 

As well as the latest information on Back Care and School Bag development (see earlier), Lorna believes the same principles of good ergonomics should apply in the classroom as in the workplace to minimise the risk of developing common conditions associated with computer use and prolonged sitting in young people. These include: Comprehensive workstation risk assessments, changes to workstations where necessary and appropriate information and training on safe computer use - including posture, changes in activity and breaks. These effective principles, simple in practice, can then be applied to situations outside the classroom.

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