Celebrating Healthy Schools

Students performing their ‘Chemical Soup’ drama to illustrate the contents of secondhand smoke and its dangers to health.
Students performing their ‘Chemical Soup’ drama to illustrate the contents of secondhand smoke and its dangers to health.

Schools in Newcastle were celebrating at a special event (14 July) to mark their work to improve pupil health and wellbeing.

Many schools in the city are involved in the Newcastle Healthy School Programme and have shown that they are meeting rigorous quality standards to promote healthy lifestyles to their pupils.

The Newcastle Healthy School Programme is coordinated by Newcastle City Council’s Public Health team.

Local schools are continually developing and improving their work and those achieving Healthy Schools Plus are able to prove how their work has changed children’s health behaviour or attitudes, helping them to live healthier lives.

Some of the changes that schools have made include, increasing the amount of fruit and vegetables children eat each day, while also encouraging more exercise and living in a smoke free home.

Through their actions, schools have also increased the number of pupils regularly brushing their teeth twice a day.

At the event, ten schools were presented with special plaques by Helen Robinson, Acting Senior Public Health Specialist, for achieving Newcastle Healthy School Plus status.

A further ten received certificates to mark their involvement in the Healthy School Plus programme, together with 43 others achieving Newcastle Healthy School status. 

Audiences were treated to performances by pupils from seven schools, showcasing different aspects of their health promotion work with children. Bridgewater Primary School pupils entertained the audience with a rendition of their ‘tooth brushing’ song which they sing each day at breakfast club before cleaning their teeth. Atkinson Road Primary Academy performed an amusing poem about their successful work to improve school meals and packed lunches. Pupils from English Martyrs’ RC Primary School choir performed a fabulous and moving medley of songs to highlight the importance of music in relation to our emotional wellbeing.

‘Chemical soup’ was the name of a play performed by students from Excelsior Academy, with a focus on the chemicals in secondhand smoke and their effect on health. Stocksfield Avenue Primary and St Oswald’s RC Primary School pupils both performed dances to illustrate the importance of physical activity. Finally, West Denton Primary School pupils spoke about their outdoor bushcraft learning programme which includes opportunities for outdoor cooking, investigation of flora and fauna, holding reading session in the treehouse, and exploring animal life.

Cabinet Member for Public Health and Housing, Cllr Jane Streather, said:

“I am delighted that so many schools continue to address pupil health and wellbeing as a priority. We know that healthier children do better in learning and in life, and schools can make a real difference in making our children healthier.

“Importantly, this learning and early behaviour change creates a positive platform for better health in later life. I am particularly pleased to be able to see the impact that schools efforts have made on changing children’s health behaviour. Schools continue to take health improvement messages and make learning fun and informative - some outstanding progress has been seen.

“The Newcastle Healthy School Programme recognises the excellent practice that is evident in many local schools to improve pupil wellbeing and health behaviour. It is a quality mark which schools should rightly be proud of.”