Healthy schools scheme hits 150 sign-ups

Bedale High has become the 150th school to sign up to the challenge of completing the changes needed to achieve Healthy School accreditation from the County Council.

Cllr Dickinson with Andy Childe Catering Manager Annette de Roche and colleagues and pupils at Bedale High

The Healthy Schools award scheme was launched by the County Council in October 2019, using funding from its public health grant. The online scheme supports schools to work towards improving the health and wellbeing of pupils and staff through teaching and learning initiatives across four key areas: personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE). This includes advice on building relationships; emotional health and wellbeing; active lifestyles; and food in schools, including snacks and packed lunches.

The scheme has a dedicated website, which enables schools to work towards Bronze, Silver and Gold Healthy School awards, and teachers can take advantage of free training sessions around the county. Pupil voice and involvement is a key part of the scheme, along with staff health and wellbeing.  

Bedale High teacher Andy Childe said: “I went to the Healthy Schools launch event at Harlow Carr last year and I was really excited about getting involved in the scheme. Our senior leadership team agreed we should go for the Silver Award, and focus on the themes of emotional health and wellbeing and personal, social and health education (PSHE).

“I feel that in secondary schools, staff and students are facing increasing pressures from both inside and outside the classroom. There is an ongoing challenge to get the balance right when it comes to ensuring that we are giving our students the best possible academic provision, while also taking good care of the emotional health and wellbeing of everyone within our school community. It is vital that we keep this issue at the forefront of our plans and commitments as we move forward and believe that participation in the Healthy Schools programme will help us achieve this goal.

“We’ve already developed a staff wellbeing group, appointed two Year 11 student leaders for ‘student wellbeing’ and begun a review of our taught PSHE curriculum that every single student receives. The school is also working hard to ensure that the importance of emotional health and wellbeing, not just academic success, are integral to everything we do”.

County Councillor Caroline Dickinson, Executive Member for Public Health, Prevention and Supported Housing, said: “The Healthy Schools programme is playing a very important part in our ongoing work to deliver Young and Yorkshire 2, the North Yorkshire Children and Young People’s Plan. Young and Yorkshire 2 is driven by the vision that our county will be ‘a place of opportunity where all children and young people are happy, healthy and achieving’.”

The Healthy Schools scheme has been developed in partnership between the Energy and Sustainability Traded Service and the Children and Young People’s Education and Skills Service, with support from the County Council’s Facilities Management Catering and external partners, including North Yorkshire Sport.

All North Yorkshire County Council schools can sign up to the scheme at no cost for an initial two years. Private and out of county schools can join for an annual charge. For further information, email Ruth Stacey, Healthy Schools Programme Manager, at healthy.schools@northyorks.gov.uk or register to take part online. 

This story was published 18 February 2020