Unite calls for more school nurses to tackle obesity

The DoH should stop its 'pointless' weight measurement programme in schools, and hire more school nurses to tackle the root causes of obesity, Unite/CPHVA says.

Photograph: Jim Varney
Photograph: Jim Varney

The union is urging the DoH to double the workforce by immediately recruiting an extra 2,000 qualified school nurses.

The advice follows the data from the child measurement programme showing that one in five children aged 10-11 are obese.

There are more than 3,300 secondary schools in England, and the DoH has pledged to have a school nurse to cover each of these and their surrounding clusters of primary schools by 2010.

But latest figures show that although there are 2,232 whole-time equivalent nurses employed in schools in England, just 893 have school nursing qualifications.

Ros Godson, Unite/CPHVA professional officer for school-aged children, said the child measurement programme wasted money that could be spent on more effective support.

‘Weighing and measuring children as they enter and leave primary school is having no beneficial effect on their size, as statistics show they are just getting fatter. The government’s laissez faire attitude is contributing to the build up of health problems, such as diabetes for future generations.’

nick.bostock@haymarket.com

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