Briefing: Local action on health inequalities:Building children and young people’s resilience in schools | Boltons Health Matters
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Briefing: Local action on health inequalities:Building children and young people’s resilience in schools


This briefing was commissioned by PHE and written by the Institute of Health Equity. It is a summary of a more detailed evidence review on the same topic and is intended primarily for directors of public health, public health teams and local authorities. This briefing and accompanying evidence reviews are part of a series commissioned by PHE to describe and demonstrate effective, practical local action on a range of social determinants of health.

You can view the briefing by clicking here:

The associated evidence summary is: Local action on health inequalities: Building children and young people’s resilience in schools

1. Resilience is the capacity to bounce back from adversity. Protective factors increase resilience, whereas risk factors increase vulnerability. Resilient individuals, families and communities are more able to deal with difficulties and adversities than those with less resilience.
2. Those who are resilient do well despite adversity, although it does not imply that those who are resilient are unharmed – they often have poorer outcomes than those who have low-risk background but less resilience. This applies to health outcomes and affects success in a range of areas of life across the life course. Evidence shows that resilience could contribute to healthy behaviours, higher qualifications and skills, better employment, better mental well-being, and a quicker or more successful recovery from illness.
3. Resilience is not an innate feature of some people’s personalities. Resilience and adversity are distributed unequally across the population, and are related to broader socioeconomic inequalities which have common causes – the inequities in power, money and resources that shape the conditions in which people live and their opportunities, experiences and relationships.
4. Those who face the most adversity are least likely to have the resources necessary to build resilience. This ‘double burden’ means that inequalities in resilience are likely to contribute to health inequalities.
5. Schools have a key opportunity to build resilience among children and young people, and there is a range of ways in which local authorities can support and encourage schools to take action.
6. Actions to increase resilience can be targeted at different levels - they can aim to increase achievements of pupils; to support them through transitions and encourage healthy behaviours; to promote better interpersonal relationships between people – particularly parents or carers and children; and to create more supportive, cohesive schools that support both pupils and the wider community.

Information Type

Evidence Summary

Geographical Level


Population Level



Public Health England


local authority, public health, health inequalities, school, mental health, wellbeing



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