Nearly 70 schools have taken part in the first ever Northamptonshire Healthy Schools Week.
Primary schools across the county have been running a variety of fun health-related activities this week for children to take part in and learn about leading a healthy active lifestyle.
It is also hoped that the week will raise the profile of schools’ contribution to becoming a happier and healthier county by the year 2020, which ties in with the wider public health campaign known as 2020 Northamptonshire.
Almost 70 schools signed up to the week and have been running activities including the jump rope challenge, peer mentoring and active travel challenges as well as activities and challenges for staff and parents.
Over the past year, the majority of schools have been involved in a new initiative entitled the Healthier Child Programme run by Northamptonshire County Council and Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust designed to tackle the growing issue of childhood obesity in Northamptonshire.
A team of healthy child advisors have been offering one-to-one support for primary schools including assessments and action plans to help them improve health and well-being for their pupils.
The Healthier Child Programme provides a framework for schools to develop and address aspects of their health and well-being.
Healthy child advisor Victoria Leitner said: “The 2020 Healthy Schools Week presents a great opportunity for schools to showcase the importance of healthy lifestyles to both pupils and parents.
“In partnership with Northamptonshire Sport we have managed to provide schools with a raft of resources, ideas and fun challenges that they can utilise during the week.
“Some of the schools I have been working with will be taking part in our healthy lunchbox leaflet competition, walk to school challenge as well as fruit tasting sessions and many other health-related activities.”
Parklands Primary School in Northampton has been involved in piloting some of the resources, activities and challenges for the week.
Headteacher Sally Gedney said: “Parklands Primary School has been part of the Healthier Child Programme this term and we are delighted to be part of an initiative that will strengthen our existing good practice.
“We have been really pleased with the support we have received so far, which is enabling us to focus on a specific area of pupil well-being (healthy eating).
“This is very pertinent because of new initiatives such as the universal free school meal offer and the revised design technology curriculum with an increased emphasis on food technology and nutrition.
“The next steps to liaise with parents and pupils are in hand and we are ready for our family fun training and roll out later this term.”
Warwick Primary School in Wellingborough has also been involved and launched its primary Change4Life Club on Tuesday.
The school, with support from Northamptonshire Sport, is part of a Wellingborough pilot programme for this countywide initiative (Change4Life Clubs).
Saints star Ben Foden helped launch the club this week and said: “It was great to visit Warwick Primary School and be part of the launch of their Change4Life Club, with a special focus on teamwork for the first session.
“There was a real buzz across the school, with lots of activities to mark Healthy Schools Week in Northamptonshire.
“I enjoyed answering some brilliant questions from Year 2 up to Year 6 and hopefully inspired pupils to take up a new sport and lead an active and healthy lifestyle.”
During a question and answer session with the children, Ben said: “My advice is to play lots of sports before you decide on your favourite sport.
“I actually started playing rugby at the age of four and loved playing the game from a young age.
“If you find a sport you enjoy doing, whatever gives you enjoyment, with more practice, you’ll get better.
“Just try to stay active and healthy.”
For more information go to http://www.northamptonshiresport.org/2020-healthy-schools-week.