Topics for this month:

Guidance about the Coronavirus

Public Health England (PHE) and the Department for Education (DfE) have published guidance for schools and other educational settings to assist in providing advice for pupils, students, staff and parents or carers about coronavirus COVID-19.

The guidance covers information such as:

  • how to help prevent spread of all respiratory infections including COVID-19
  • what to do if someone is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19

Please read the guidance in full and share it with learners and employers to raise awareness:

NHS ‘Eatwell’ guide

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, and can help you feel your best. This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions, and consuming the right amount of food and drink to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.

The Eatwell Guide shows that to have a healthy, balanced diet, people should try to:

  • eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day
  • base your meals on higher fibre starchy foods like potatoes, bread, rice or pasta
  • have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks)
  • eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein
  • choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat them in small amounts
  • drink plenty of fluids (at least 6 to 8 glasses a day)
  • If you’re having foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt and sugar, have these less often and in small amounts.

Try to choose a variety of different foods from the 5 main food groups to get a wide range of nutrients. Most people in the UK eat and drink too many calories, too much saturated fat, sugar and salt, and not enough fruit, vegetables, oily fish or fibre.

Visit the NHS ‘Eatwell’ page for more information on food and diet, recipes and tips, as well as digestive health:

We have attached the Eatwell guide as a pdf, which highlights different food groups, portion sizes, calories etc.

NHS ‘Live well’: Exercise

NHS provides advice, tips and tools to help you make the best choices about your health and wellbeing and one of the areas that they focus on is exercise. NHS provides physical activity guidelines for adults aged 19 to 64 who should do some type of physical activity every day. Any type of activity is good for us and the more we do the better.

Adults should:

  • aim to be physically active every day. Any activity is better than none, and more is better still
  • do strengthening activities that work all the major muscles (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on at least 2 days a week
  • do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week
  • reduce time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity.

To achieve your weekly activity target, you can do the following:

  • several short sessions of very vigorous intensity activity
  • a mix of moderate, vigorous and very vigorous intensity activity
  • You can do your weekly target of physical activity on a single day or over 2 or more days. Whatever suits you.

Visit the NHS website where you can read information on:

  • exercise tips such as: safe exercising; weight loss tips; exercising with back pain
  • fitness guides
  • how much exercise depending on different ages
  • how to get involved in the ‘Couch to 5k’

TikTok – Safety controls

TikTok, a social video app that allows users to share short videos, is introducing a family safety mode designed to give parents tighter control over how their children use the app. The safety feature will allow parents and carers to link their account to their child’s and have direct control over the safety settings, including a “restricted mode” that tries to filter out inappropriate content, and turning off messaging.

That means the adult’s phone can now turn on and off the setting for:

  • restricted mode, an automatic filter, driven by an algorithm, which tries to hide content that may be inappropriate
  • messages, which can be limited so they can only be received from friends – or turned off completely
  • screen time controls, putting a hard limit on how long the app can be used each day

These safety features have been on the TikTok platform for some time, but needed to be set on the teenager’s phone manually, and locked behind a password that had to be reset every 30 days.

TikTok has an age limit of 13, but many pre-teens still use the app. A recent survey by UK media regulator Ofcom found that TikTok was used by 13% of all children aged 12-15 in 2019 which is up from 8% the year before.

Link to article:
We have also attached a ‘TikTok safety card’ for further information.

Ofcom – Children and parents: Media use and attitudes report 2019

This newly published report provides evidence on media use, attitudes and understanding among children and young people aged 5-15, as well as about the media access and use of young children aged 3-4. It also includes findings on parents’ views about their children’s media use, and how they monitor and limit it.

Overview of findings of the report

Connected children

  • Half of ten-year-olds now own their own smartphone. Between the ages of nine and ten, smartphone ownership doubles – marking an important milestone in children’s digital independence as they prepare for secondary school.
  • Use of smart speakers among children aged 5-15 has doubled over the last year. This means that, for the first time, they’re more widely used than radios.
  • More children watch video-on-demand (VoD) than watch live broadcast TV. Viewing of VoD has doubled over the last five years. One in four children do not watch live broadcast TV at all.

Popular platforms and online activities

  • YouTube remains a firm favourite among children. 5- to 15-year-olds are more likely to pick YouTube as their platform of choice over on-demand services such as Netflix, or TV channels including the BBC and ITV.
  • Children’s social media use is diversifying. WhatsApp in particular has gained popularity over the past year, joining Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram as one of the top social media platforms used by children.
  • Newer platforms such as TikTok and Twitch are gaining popularity. TikTok is used by 13% of 12- to 15-year olds – up from 8% in 2018 – while Twitch is used by 5%.
  • Girl gamers are on the increase. Almost half of girls aged 5-15 now play games online – up from 39% in 2018.

Online engagement and participation

  • Rise of the ‘vlogger next door’. While high-profile YouTube stars remain popular, children are now increasingly drawn to influencers who are often local to their area, or who have a particular shared interest – known as ‘micro’ or ‘nano’ influencers.
  • Elements of children’s critical understanding have increased. Awareness of vlogger endorsement and how the BBC is funded have both increased; while understanding of how search engines (such as Google) work and the ability to recognise advertising on these sites are both unchanged since 2018.
  • The ‘Greta effect’ and online social activism. 2019 saw an increase in older children using social media to support causes or organisations, while one in ten signed an online petition of some sort.

Staying safe online

  • Children are seeing more hateful online content than they used to, and several children in our Media Lives research reported seeing violent and other disturbing content online. Half of 12- 15s say they have seen something hateful about a particular group of people in the last year – up from a third in 2016. Four in ten took some form of action, but the majority ignored it.
  • Parents are also increasingly concerned about their child seeing self-harm related content online and some elements of online gaming. Almost half of parents of 5-15s are concerned about their child seeing content which might encourage them to harm themselves, up from 39% in 2018. There have also been increases in the proportion of parents of 12-15s worried about ingame spending (from 40% to 47%) and game-related bullying (32% vs 39%).
  • Fewer parents feel that the benefits of their child being online outweigh the risks compared to five years ago. Just over half of parents of 5-15s feel this (55%), compared to two-thirds (65%) in 2015. However, there are indications that more parents are talking to their child about online safety (85% of parents of 5-15s), than compared to 2018 (81%).

7 Minute Briefings:

Teenagers and risk:

Do we accept risk in teenagers because of their age? How do you manage and assess this risk? Do you involve teens in their own risk assessments? Do you know the signs of exploitation? Self-harm? Emotional distress in teenagers? The THINK website (Teenage Health in Knowsley) has been designed to give young people a place to access, to find out where to go to get the support they need.

Risk taking is considered to be necessary for development, but teens do not judge risk well. Research shows that their brains are re-configuring, which can cause mental instability and increases vulnerability. To appreciate consequences of risky behaviour one has to have the ability to think through potential outcomes and understand the consequences.

Due to an immature prefrontal cortex, teens are not skilled at doing this. They do not take information, organise it and understand it in the same way that adults do – they have to learn how to do this. So it is vitally important teenagers showing risk indicators and are deemed at risk are monitored appropriately and given the right support and intervention.

Please see attached the 7 minute briefing focusing on ‘Teenagers and risk’ from Knowsley Council.

Young carers:

Young carers are: children and young people under the age of 18 who provide regular and ongoing care and emotional support to a family member who is physically or mentally ill, frail elderly, disabled or misuses alcohol or substances:

  • 9% provide 50+ hours per week care
  • 11.3 % provide 20-39 hours per week care
  • 56.1% female (0-24s) with 61.2% of those undertaking 50 hrs or more care per week.

The impact of caring on children and young people is wide ranging and can include: feeling lonely and missing out on friendships; feeling frightened and isolated and feeling scared to tell anyone about their home circumstances. They may also be feeling excluded; (bullied and stigmatised, difficulty getting to school/College on time); feeling overwhelmed; tired; worried and stressed; ashamed and guilty; and feel they have high levels of responsibility with little support for them.

Where a young carer is a ‘child in need’ you can refer to the independent Young Carers’ service at Barnardo’s, or refer them to Children and Family Wellbeing Service.

Please see attached the 7 minute briefing focusing on ‘Young carers’ from Lancashire Council.

Threshold of need and response:

The Thresholds of Need and Response Framework is a practical tool to:

  • enable practitioners to identify the levels of risk and needs of children and their families
  • to ensure that the children and their families access the appropriate level of support according to their changing circumstances; over four levels
  • Provide a common language for multi-agency professionals
  • Improve outcomes for families

Levels of need:

Level 1: Universal need, needs and risk and met by universal services

Level 2: Early Help, unmet needs and low risks met by single agency support and partnership working. Needs met through the Early Help Assessment and TAF process using an asset based solution focused model.

Level 3: Child in Need (CIN): this meets section 17 of the Children Act 1989, and is a higher levels of unmet needs and medium risk. A social worker will be involved and it requires a multi-agency co-ordinated response.

Level 4: Specialist assessment. High level of unmet complex needs – child may be ‘In Need’ or ‘at risk of significant harm’. Need intensive coordinated multi-agency support. If you have any concerns please contact the Safeguarding Team.
Please see attached the 7 minute briefing focusing on ‘Threshold of need and response’ from Salford Children Safeguarding Board.