About the project
It is well known that there is a clear relationship between school performance and health, where strong performance leads to better health and good health leads to stronger performance in school. Thus, poor performance in compulsory school may lead to mental health problems and social exclusion early in life. School health services play a key role in creating knowledge about and supporting children in vulnerable situations through active preventive work to promote good health on equal terms for all children and young people.
Nevertheless, we know very little about how school health services are organised in practice. The purpose of the project is to contribute to the development of knowledge about how Swedish schools can achieve equality in health for all children and young people regardless of disability and social and ethnic background.
Thus, school health services, which include medical, psychological, psychosocial and special education-related interventions (Swedish Code of Statutes SFS 2010:800), play a central role in the creation of knowledge about health-promoting school development and successful preventive measures. The ways in which various occupational categories jointly assess and reason about schoolchildren, their relationships and conditions, problems and needs within the framework of school health services become key to the decision made regarding preventive measures and interventions.
- How are school health services organised and how are schoolchildren’s problems in school handled and defined at school health team meetings?
- What models of preventive and health promotion work have been developed, and by which occupational groups?
- What does the school health team do and how do different occupational groups collaborate to ensure effective care and a strong support function for children?
- In what way are children’s perspectives and rationality expressed and accounted for at these meetings?
Ethnomethodological and communication-theoretical approach
The project utilises an ethnomethodological and communication-theoretical approach where the focus is on how knowledge about and interventions to deal with schoolchildren’s difficulties are generated and formulated in communication between institutional practices. In order to create an in-depth understanding of the institutional context within which the work of the school health team is organised, data will be collected through participatory observation, audio/video recordings, field notes, interviews and document analyses of intervention programmes.
We will focus on schoolchildren ages 6–12 years in at least three municipalities. Since previous studies have found a relationship between socioeconomic status and schoolchildren with special needs, we have chosen to study school health services in both smaller and larger municipalities in various parts of Sweden where this effect becomes particularly visible .
The fact that there is a lack of research and knowledge about the work of school health services and in particular their preventive and health-promotion work in schools, the strategies that have been developed and maybe even remain successful when it comes to children’s and young people’s right to support and wellbeing underscores the importance of investigating how the daily work is carried out in the practice of school health services .
Eva Hjörne, Project Director, University of Gothenburg
Ann-Carita Evaldsson, Uppsala University
Marie Karlsson, Uppsala University