Primary schools gear up to tackle childhood obesity with the launch of the ‘Healthy schools rating scheme’

Karen Faux
Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The long awaited scheme, which will enable schools to monitor how effectively they are educating children about healthy eating and physical exercise, will launch this year.

The voluntary scheme, which was announced in the Government’s child obesity plan, is to help primary schools recognise and encourage their contribution to preventing obesity by helping children to eat better and move more.

The scheme will be taken into account during Ofsted inspections. Once in operation, it will be referred to in the School inspection handbook.

The healthy schools rating scheme will let schools self-assess how they are doing in terms of areas such as healthy eating, the school food standards and children being physically active. It will give them a rating as to how well they are doing, which they can share with parents and their community.

Putting healthy eating on the early years menu

Healthy habits in reception as part of the school day

Speaking at the Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum’s seminar on childhood obesity earlier this month, the assistant director of the Healthy Pupils Unit at the DfE, Andrew Hudson, unveiled details of the scheme – which was originally slated to be rolled out in September 2017.

He said it will also provide the DfE with useful information about how schools are performing in the areas of healthy eating and physical activity.

Delegates raised concerns, during a question and answer panel session, about what they said was Ofsted’s lack of attention to healthy eating during the inspection process, with many claiming that the organisation was not doing enough to prevent childhood obesity.

Mr Hudson said he would feed back delegates’ comments to the DfE. However, he said he believed Ofsted’s new Education Inspection Framework includes a reference to healthy living.

The new Schools inspection handbook, which comes into force in September, states under ‘Personal Development’ that schools should be ‘developing pupils’ understanding of how to keep physically healthy, eat healthily and maintain an active lifestyle, including giving ample opportunities for pupils to be active during the school day and through extra-curricular activities’.




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