Healthy Eating and Physical Activity at Rhyl Primary
Our work to improve healthy eating and increase physical activity of our pupils made a significant impact and we have achieved the Healthy Schools London Silver and Gold Awards.
What were your reasons for doing this development work?
As a school with Healthy School Recognition, we wanted to further progress our health and wellbeing work and achieve the Healthy Schools London Silver and Gold Awards by developing an action plan and improving healthy eating and increasing physical activity. The reasons for undertaking this work are below.
Pooled data from the National Child Measurement Programme between 2011-2014 showed that our pupils’ weight in reception and Year 6 was higher than the Camden average. In addition, the Health Related Behaviour Questionnaire that Year 6 completed in June 2015, highlighted that 38% of boys and 27% of girls were eating crisps on most days or every day which was higher than the Camden reference sample. It also showed that 41% of boys and 23% of girls were drinking fizzy drinks on most days or every day which was significantly higher than the Camden reference sample.
These results were further corroborated through a survey which was carried out with Key Stage 2 pupils in November 2015 that found that 34% of children were drinking fizzy drinks most days or every day and 62% of children were eating crisps most days or every day.
For our Silver Plan we identified the following universal outcomes:
- Decrease the % of pupils that eat crisps most days or every day from 62% (145 out of 235) to 25% (58 out of 235).
- Decrease the % of pupils that drink fizzy drinks most days or every day from 34% (80 out of 235) to 15% (35 out of 235).
A survey of afterschool clubs which took place in November 2015 showed that as few as 11% of girls (18 girls out of a possible 158 from Y1-6) were involved in a club relating to healthy lifestyle. This was through a girl’s football club and an outreach club. Lunchtime play was analysed over a 2 week period and only 8% (12 girls – the same girls who attend afterschool clubs) were accessing the organised games on the astroturf pitch.This was significantly below the Camden data from the annual PE survey that showed 59% of girls participate in inter-school competition. Although not specifically after school clubs it does give an indication of the level of participation of girls in primary schools across Camden.
For our Silver Plan we identified the following targeted outcome:
- Increase the number of girls involved in extra sport (outside of PE lessons) and health related activities from 11% (18 out of 158) to 25% (40 out of 158)
Who were the identified target learners?
Healthy Eating – Key Stage 2
Physical Activity – Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2
What specific curriculum area did you intend to have impact on?
Physical Education, Design and Technology (Cooking and Nutrition), PSHE
What did you do - what teaching approaches did you use?
We achieved the outcomes by making Healthy Eating a very visible focus throughout the school by making displays that celebrated healthy, home-grown and home-made foods.
Our mini Health Champions raised the profile of eating healthily at home by sharing healthy recipes in the newsletter every week and our Junior Leadership Team led an initiative to make lunchtimes “calmer, healthier and happier”. The outcome from this was that children were able to help themselves to as much salad, fresh fruit and homemade bread as they wished. In terms of children receiving packed lunches, we sent out a Healthy Packed lunch leaflet and in order to prevent children from drinking sugary drinks at lunchtime, we informed parents that they no longer needed to provide children with drinks in their packed lunch as unlimited milk and water are now provided, free of charge.
In addition, we:
- Held a Healthy Eating Poster Competition
- Reviewed and updated what is taught about high fat and salt foods or fizzy/sugary drinks and drinking water in the curriculum and ensured that recipes are low fat/low sugar
- Ran two parent workshops to promote healthy eating with a focus on high fat/high sugary food and drinks
- Reviewed the cooking and nutrition curriculum to ensure a focus on low fat/low sugar recipes
- Encouraged parent volunteers to assist with food curriculum in the classrooms and promote healthy eating and water consumption
- Included Healthy eating features on the school website
In September 2016, we gave our HLTA the responsibility of managing PE under the strategic leadership of the Deputy Head Teacher. She was instrumental in providing as many opportunities for children to take part in sports clubs and the number of clubs on offer this year has doubled. As a passionate role model, the HLTA also inspired more girls to take part in sport activities. Securing the Arsenal in the Community has also had a significant impact on many children – including more children taking part in holiday activities.
We also allocated five Sports Champions and five Playtime Champions from Year 5 and 6 whose purpose was to support children during sports and play activities.
We introduced a regular after school dance related club which appeals to girls (requested on questionnaire from girls). There is also a girls only club on Friday at lunchtime and an after school dance club which is open to all pupils although mainly attended by girls. In addition there is an after school girls football club, after school ballet and after school netball club. Girls have been entered for the Camden Netball league and girls football leagues for Years 3/4 and 5/6
In addition we:
- re-evaluated how lunch play is organised and marked out zones on playground
- met with a selection of girls from different year groups and gathered their views on what they would like and what would encourage more activity – they are now involved in ordering playtime equipment
- have a ‘girls day’ on the astro pitch where girls can choose what sport they would like to play at lunchtime
Outcomes and Impact
What has been the impact on pupil learning?
As a result of our work to support health and wellbeing, pupils are now making healthier food choices and the amount of physical activity of girls has increased. We are very pleased to have achieved the targets identified in our Silver Plan and as a result, we have now also been awarded the Healthy Schools London Gold Award.
Number of children who eat crisps most days or every day has fallen from 62% (145 out of 235) to 22% (56 out of 249) – target of 25% achieved
Number of children who have fizzy drinks most days or every day has fallen from 34% (80 out of 235) to 12% (31 out of 249) – target of 15% achieved
Number of girls who regularly participate in extra sport has risen from 11% (18 out of 158) to 38% (40 out of 158) – target of 25% achieved
What is the crucial thing that made the difference?
- Having a consistent approach rolled out by the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), class teachers and children
- Healthy Eating assemblies and visible displays give a consistent, whole school message of our shared Healthy Eating ethos
- The newsletter goes out weekly and this is our best way of reaching parents as they are full-colour and packed full of photos of children
- Adding Healthy Recipes was a good way of encouraging parents and children to cook together
- Having an outdoor Learning Teacher who is also heavily involved in teaching food education in our school had a significant impact
- Having celebrity chef Giorgio Loccatelli adopt our school – he regularly delivers healthy cooking workshops with our Year 4 children
- Our mini health champions wear lanyards advertising their role and support at lunchtimes to check that packed lunches are healthy
- Having a passionate HLTA as the driving force behind sports.
Listening to the girls’ views and acting on them
- Asking children to select play equipment (Junior Leadership Team) with an equal balance of boys and girls
- Ensuring that we have a wide variety of sports clubs that appeal to girls and a weekly “Girls only” football session
If another individual or school was attempting to replicate this work, where should they start?
Ensuring schools collect baseline data before they begin their interventions is really important as this will help demonstrate the impact of their work. Having support from Senior Leadership and involving pupils is also key to success.