The School Health Research Network (SHRN) brings together schools and academic researchers, policy-makers and practitioners from health, education and social care to improve young people’s health and wellbeing in the school setting. It is a partnership between Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, Cancer Research UK and the
Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods.
It is led by DECIPHer.
How does SHRN work?
Network schools complete a bilingual electronic Student Health and Wellbeing Survey every two years. The survey is based on the World Health Organization’s collaborative Health Behaviour of School-aged Children (HBSC) Survey to allow integration of the two surveys every four years and is accompanied by a School Environment Questionnaire, which allows relationships between school policies and practices and student health to be investigated. Questions are developed in consultation with key stakeholders in schools, Public Health Wales and Welsh Government.
SHRN works by:
- Providing robust health and well-being data for school, regional and national stakeholders;
- Working with policy-makers and practitioners from health, education and social care to co-produce high quality, school based health and wellbeing research for Wales;
- Facilitating the translation of school health and well-being research evidence into practice;
- Building capacity for evidence-informed practice within the school health community.
SHRN has successfully recruited 100% of maintained secondary schools in Wales as members, and is working with primary schools, thereby embedding itself into the school health improvement system at the local level.
Local authority level Student Health and Wellbeing Reports were released for the first time in 2018, following local demand for SHRN data. These reports have been shared widely among local health and educational service teams. Download an exemplar Local Authority report here.
Welsh Government utilises SHRN data for national policy planning and monitoring, including key policies related to the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act and national curriculum reform.
Public Health Wales has fully integrated SHRN into the development and evaluation of its Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes (WNHSS).
Data from the SHRN surveys and subsequent research has earned national recognition. Here are a few examples of how its research has been used:
+ National Assembly for Wales’ Mind Over Matter Report 2018
+ Welsh Government’s Wellbeing of Wales Report 2017-18
+ Children’s Commissioner for Wales’s response to Welsh Government’s progress in developing the new Curriculum
+ Welsh Government’s Tobacco Control Delivery Plan for Wales 2017-2020
UK and International
Professor Simon Murphy and SHRN partners from Welsh Government and Public Health Wales attended WHO meetings in Copenhagen in 2018 and 2019 to contribute to the planning of a European-wide pilot school health network.
SHRN has been instrumental in supporting the SHINE network in Scotland, a research collaboration between the University of Glasgow and University of St Andrews. SHINE is a pilot model based on the SHRN infrastructure.
More detailed information on SHRN’s impact can be found on the SHRN website.