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Empowering children to manage their health

Partners have collaborated on an exciting new digital pilot with schools in Essex. Eight primary and secondary schools participated in ‘Digital Healthy Schools’ – a global first – seeing pupils engaging with mobile apps to help them manage their health. In collaboration with teachers and students from the schools, the programme has been co-created around a website, where health apps can be searched, compared, risk rated and downloaded – and even recommended to friends and family.

Anglia Ruskin Health Partners (ARHP), Active Essex, Essex County Council, and ORCHA (the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Applications) collaborated to explore whether there was an appetite amongst schools, children and young people to engage with digital in this way. The response was overwhelming, with all schools keen to provide their young people not just with new ways to engage with digital, health and wellbeing, but to provide a wider range of students with a unique leadership opportunity.

This was all about empowering children with information and encouraging them to take a pro-active approach to their own health and to assist with their physical and psychological health needs. With 170,000 health apps already available and growing every day, this innovative programme provided a secure and assured environment for children to find and use the best apps on the market. They researched apps from the categories that most interested them, including: exercise, sleep, mental health, diet and first aid: then compared, downloaded and recommended them to peers, teachers friends and family.

It also provided a unique touch point for conversations across the generations with children keen to assist both parents and grandparents with their health needs, by recommending apps for their conditions or lifestyle needs.

The eight schools participating in the programme were:

Alton Park Junior School

Clacton Coastal Academy

Colchester Academy

Holland Park Primary School

Lyons Hall Primary School

Ormiston Rivers Academy

Philip Morant School and College

Plume School

ORCHA delivered the methodology and tech platform behind this programme by adapting their full website for what the children and teachers designed during a range of focus groups. ORCHA is taking all the learnings from the pilot to create a full curriculum based programme which will be available to schools in Essex and will be able to be scaled nationally. Get in touch with ORCHA here:

Last updated 25/08/17