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Healthy schools, healthy pupils

Schools across Waltham Forest have been embracing a London-wide health campaign to improve children and young people's wellbeing.


The Healthy Schools London programme, which is supported and managed locally by the Council’s Public Health team, was officially launched last November in Waltham Forest – and to mark its first anniversary, an event was held at Chingford Assembly Hall earlier this month.


Currently, 43 of the borough’s schools have signed up to the programme, which aims to help the capital’s children stay healthy and happy as they grow up.


It offers three levels of accreditation that schools can achieve – bronze, silver and gold – and they do so by meeting criteria across five themes relating to healthy eating, physical activity, emotional health and wellbeing, environment and personal, social, health and economic education.


Amanda O'Regan, Inclusion Leader at St Joseph's Catholic Junior School, in Leyton, said: “We began our quest for a Bronze Award in January 2014. This has helped us to refresh, revive and re-establish the healthy environments we have worked hard to develop in recent years.”


Taking part in the programme enables schools to directly support the health and wellbeing of all pupils and staff, with benefits going beyond health. Healthy Schools London says participating schools have reported reduced incidence of bullying, improved behaviour and improved attendance.


Cllr Ahsan Khan, Waltham Forest Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We’re committed to doing all we can to give our young people the best start in life – ensuring they know how to eat well, remain fit and active and continue to lead healthy lifestyles as they get older.”


The anniversary event saw representatives from Waltham Forest’s participating schools and staff from schools interested in signing up to the programme take part in workshops led by Council officers and Public Health experts.


They included sessions about physical activity, healthy eating, food growing schools and dental health. There were also presentations about the wider Healthy Schools London programme, including ideas for future health and wellbeing projects and activities.


For more information about Healthy Schools London visit www.healthyschoolslondon.org.uk.

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