Children and young people can look forward to healthy start to the New Year as latest figures reveal that 95 per cent of Leeds schools have achieved a national standard for promoting healthy lifestyles.
Over 260 of the city’s primary and secondary schools now have the National Healthy Schools Standard which is awarded to schools which demonstrate a healthy lifestyle through eating, exercise and general wellbeing.
Over the last nine years, the Healthy Schools and Wellbeing Programme - co-funded by Education Leeds and NHS Leeds - has been supporting schools across the city to become healthier. To achieve the status, schools must meet all 41 criteria of the national standard which include providing healthy food choices, consulting students about their health and food choices, supporting vulnerable children and families and having a range of options to be physically active.
It is hoped the remaining five per cent of schools in Leeds will achieve the standard by Easter 2010.
Councillor Richard Harker, executive board member for education at Leeds City Council, said:
“The importance of a healthy lifestyle is a lesson being taught to children and young people across Leeds. Schools play an important role in ensuring that all aspects of healthy living are promoted and families can be assured that after the food and festivities of Christmas are over, their children will be returning to a healthy school and be leading a healthy lifestyle.”
Chris Edwards, chief executive of Education Leeds, said:
"Together with our schools, teachers and families across Leeds, we are working incredibly hard to make a positive and lasting change to the health and wellbeing of our children and young people.
“It’s brilliant news that 95 per cent of our schools now have this National Healthy Schools status which promotes so many different ways to lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
“We will now work to encourage the remaining five per cent of our schools to achieve the standard so every young person is guaranteed a healthy lifestyle in school.”
Dr Ian Cameron, executive director of public health for NHS Leeds, said:
“With a focus on those schools serving our most deprived communities, and the ability to engage all of our school age children and families, Leeds Healthy Schools can make a real difference to improving health and wellbeing. I am delighted that so many of our schools have got involved and achieved their National Healthy Schools Status”
A school which has flourished since achieving the National Healthy Schools status is Swinnow Primary School in Bramley.
Children and families have learnt about many aspects of healthy living at the school and taken part in, and learnt about, a range issues including: a daily walking bus; breakfast club; parent weekly workshops including cooking, baby massage and behaviour management; healthy lunchbox snacks; daily fresh meals; parents and pupils cooking classes; growing and harvesting vegetables; pupils involved in choosing and preparing school dinners; a range of sporting after school clubs; and healthcare on site providing health messages to parents and carers.
Allison Chinn, headteacher at Swinnow Primary School, said:
"The healthy schools programme has had a huge impact in our school. Health education is at the heart of our curriculum and children are taught how to make good choices on a healthy, balanced diet and the importance of daily exercise. This is supported by an extensive programme of activities for children and parents which includes everything from pupils being involved in choosing school meals, growing and harvesting our own vegetables and having a daily walking bus.“
To find out more about the National Healthy Schools Programme and the work going on in schools across the city visit http://home.healthyschools.gov.uk/
For media enquiries please contact:
Jon Crampton, Leeds City Council press office, 0113 3951577