The HAPPEN project, funded by the National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research and the Swansea Healthy City Programme, is a network of health, education and research professionals who aim to improve child health, wellbeing and academic achievement.
HAPPEN was developed following interviews with Headteachers who:
- called for a better understanding of school needs in the development of health interventions
- felt overburdened with initiatives
- advocated for a more collaborative approach to improving child health through schools
HAPPEN consists of two key parts:
The first part relates to the delivery of health and wellbeing related projects within Swansea. As part of HAPPEN, children aged 9-11 engage in SwanLinx whereby they attend a fitness fun day and complete a range of fitness tests and a health and wellbeing survey (CHAT), asking about lifestyle factors such as nutrition, physical activity, sleep and wellbeing.
The results of these are presented back as personalised school reports, enabling schools to discuss the current health of their pupils and develop tailored action plans. As part of the network, schools are then directed to the HAPPEN website, showcasing all the current health and wellbeing projects within Swansea. This ensures the projects are easy to find and allows schools to select interventions that best fit their pupils’ needs. The website also provides a platform to assess current health initiatives to identify areas for future project generation.
Secondly, the HAPPEN project enables the health and fitness data from SwanLinx to be linked to routinely collected data through Swansea University, such as educational achievement, attendance, GP and hospital records. This means we can assess questions such as do children who eat better or exercise more achieve better key stage results?
The strong utilisation of consultation, engagement and collaboration has enabled the networks success to date. This continued partnership between schools, health professionals and researchers will help provide a more unified approach to improving child health and wellbeing.