Whole-school programme can have a small effect on reducing bullying in secondary schools
An anti-bullying intervention trialled at 20 UK secondary schools resulted in a reduction in bullying incidents at school. The ‘Learning Together’ initiative was funded by the NIHR and designed to modify the school environment and provide social and emotional support.
The trial took place over three years and involved around 3,000 pupils who were 11 to 12 years old at the start of the study. A control group of schools which did not receive the intervention was monitored for comparis...
Diet and physical activity interventions targeting children and youth have different, yet small, effects on preventing obesity
Obesity prevention interventions which include both diet and physical activity may reduce the risk of obesity in pre-school children. Once at school, physical activity appears to be more effective for weight loss than diet alone. Resulting weight loss form any intervention, if any, has been very small with unclear benefits to the individual or population.
This NIHR-supported Cochrane systematic review pooled the results of 153 global randomised-control trials (sevenfrom the UK) aiming to preven...
Oral steroids do not help hearing for children with glue ear
Oral steroids do not improve hearing, symptoms, or quality of life in children with glue ear. This NIHR-funded trial compared oral steroids with placebo for 389 children with glue ear, also called otitis media with effusion, and found no significant effect on those outcomes.
Glue ear is when the middle ear fills with fluid, often following an ear or respiratory infection. The fluid makes hearing more difficult. It usually resolves within three months without treatment, but if it lasts longer, t...
School-based self-regulation interventions can improve child academic, health and behavioural outcomes
Different types of interventions improve self-regulation in children and young people, which helps children to manage their behaviour and emotions. School curriculum-based interventions show the most consistently positive results. Interventions also improve longer-term academic, health and social outcomes.
Self-regulation encompasses a range of skills, including controlling your own emotions, interacting positively with others, avoiding inappropriate or aggressive actions, and carrying out self...
A school-based obesity prevention programme was ineffective
A school-based healthy lifestyle programme delivered to 6-7-year-old children and their parents made no difference to children’s weight, diet or activity levels. Around 1 in 4 remained overweight or obese.
The NIHR-funded year-long programme was delivered in 54 primary schools in one region of England. Teachers were trained to provide an additional 30 minutes of physical activity a day and deliver cookery workshops with parents each term. It also included activities with a local football ...
A school-based lifestyle intervention didn’t help children avoid unhealthy weight gain
The Healthy Lifestyle Programme delivered to 9-10-year-old school children did not reduce their weight over the course of two years. Around a third remained overweight or obese, the same as in schools that followed the standard syllabus.
This trial, funded by the NIHR, assigned schools across Devon to follow a lifestyle programme in Year five. The comprehensive curriculum included drama and activity workshops, personal goal setting and parental involvement.
Children made better food choices, b...
Teaching sexual health at school improved knowledge but not safe sex practices
School-based sexual health interventions improved knowledge and attitudes in school students up to 18. However, they failed to consistently improve safe sex practices or reduce unwanted pregnancies. Abstinence-based messages were least effective.
This review of reviews included 37 systematic reviews of school-based sexual health interventions. It excluded low-quality reviews and spanned 1990 to 2016, so is likely to reflect the best evidence available on the topic.
Intervention types included ...
Intervention delivered in Northern Irish and Scottish schools reduces binge drinking
An alcohol misuse prevention programme reduced the number of 12 to 14-year-old school pupils reporting “binge” drinking 33 months after the course. The difference was 9% compared with usual education (26% vs 17%).
The NIHR-funded Steps Towards Alcohol Misuse Prevention Programme (STAMPP) was tested in a large trial in 105 schools in Northern Ireland and Scotland. It involved around 14 lessons spread over two years and a presentation evening with parents to reinforce the school lesso...
Young people often have negative views of sex and relationship education
Sex and relationship education in schools is intended to safeguard children from harmful relationships and promote sexual health. This review of 55 qualitative studies, mainly from the UK, suggests the classes do neither and may be failing to prepare, protect or engage young people.
Most studies covered secondary school sex and relationship education for pupils aged 12 to 18. Many pupils felt that classes were wrongly taught like other subjects and by their usual teachers, making them feel emba...
Regular use of fluoride mouthrinse is an option to reduce tooth decay in school children
A reduction intooth decay of about 27% can be expected from the supervised regular use of fluoride mouthrinsing by school children.
Tooth decay has a significant impact on health and wellbeing. It is more common in disadvantaged communities and can be prevented by good oral hygiene and diet with reduced sugar intake. Children and young people are encouraged to brush their teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste and some schools in the UK have supervised programmes to encourage this.