26.5.2017

School health and wellbeing services and practices have improved at upper secondary level

The promotion of school health and wellbeing at upper secondary level has improved 2012–2016, particularly the availability of psychologists and school social workers.

The Finnish National Board of Education (today Finnish National Agency for Education) and the National Institute for Health and Welfare have collected information on health promotion in upper secondary education since 2008. The present results are based on data from 336 general upper secondary schools and 317 vocation upper secondary schools.

According to the latest data, health services were available in more general upper secondary schools than earlier. However, not all schools had services to offer. School nurses have been available in all schools since 2008 but approximately 12 per cent of the schools could not offer the services of psychologists and doctors. Five per cent of schools had no school social worker services.

In 95 per cent of the vocational schools, students had access to the services of a nurse and social worker, 81 per cent to a doctor and 74 per cent to a psychologist.

Most schools have multiprofessional school welfare groups or teams

School welfare groups student multiprofessional teams are mandatory for all schools. They can be organised either in individual schools or jointly within the municipality or education provider. Most schools reported that they have their own groups and teams.

In general upper secondary schools, the multiprofessional groups comprise guidance counsellors, nurses, social workers, principals, and psychologists. Students are included in the group in 30 per cent of the schools and parent representatives in 11 per cent of the schools.

In vocational upper secondary schools, the multiprofessional groups often also include special needs teachers. Students are involved in a third of the schools.

Dealing with problems

In general upper secondary schools, the most common reasons for intervention are absences, bullying as well as the use of drugs or other substances.

Follow-up and intervention of students at the risk of dropping out is supported in 68 per cent of the schools. However, follow-up of reason for drop-out is carried out only by 50 per cent of the schools.

In vocational schools, interventions related to the use of alcohol or drugs are more common than in general upper secondary education. Common procedures for interventions exist in 97 per cent of the schools. Also, jointly agreedupon practices for the follow-up and prevention of absences are in use in 90 percent of the schools.

Students participate in planning

Finnish legislation underlines the importance of providing opportunities for students to participate in preparing the school curriculum and other plans. In 93 per cent of the general upper secondary schools, students participate in the work on the curriculum.

In vocational schools, 90 per cent involve students in preparing the school curriculum. Students participated in the promotion of drug-free environments in 71 per cent of the schools and in promoting health and safety in the school community in 26 per cent of the schools.

School meals generally follow recommendations

All students in basic and upper secondary education are entitled to a free school meal. A national recommendation is given on school meals. In 2016, 83 per cent of the schools followed this recommendation compared to 74 per cent in 2012. More than 70 per cent of vocational schools followed the recommendation.

The promotion of school health and wellbeing at upper secondary level has improved 2012–2016, particularly the availability of psychologists and school social workers.