Delivered by school nurses, the NCMP measures the height and weight of around one million school children in Reception class (aged 4 to 5 years) and Year 6 (aged 10 to 11 years) in England every year. The latest figures show that a third of 10- to 11-year-olds and over a fifth of 4- to 5-year-olds are overweight or obese.
The Our Healthy Year initiative launches following the Department of Health’s recently published Childhood Obesity: A Plan For Action, which states that Primary schools should deliver 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity for pupils every day through active break times, physical education (PE), extra-curricular clubs and active lessons. Parents and carers will be encouraged to provide another daily 30 minutes outside of school.
“Helping pupils understand the benefits of a healthy lifestyle during Year 6 is really important,” said St. Stephen's Primary School teacher James Frecknall. “Our Healthy Year will help prepare pupils for a healthy transition to secondary school and set the foundations for their future health and wellbeing.”
More than 16,000 primary schools across England will receive the Change4Life Our Healthy Year Reception and Year 6 teaching toolkits this term. The toolkits will include curriculum-linked activity ideas, a classroom poster, stickers and inspiration for whole-school activities. Supporting resources will be available to download from the Change4Life School Zone online, including take-home activities for children and parents, as well as resources for school nurses.
Change4Life has worked with educational experts to develop resources which will help Primary teachers build healthy activity into their existing lessons and everyday routines. The activities are fun, easy and flexible enough to use over a whole year, term, month or week of healthy activity and include direct links to the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum, Early Learning Goals and the Year 6 Literacy and Maths curricula.
Eustace De Sousa, national lead for children, young people and families at Public Health England, said: “With one in three children overweight when they leave Primary school, Our Healthy Year could not have come at a more important time. Produced by teachers, the resources can be easily integrated into the curriculum to help children get into healthy habits to set them up for life.”
The Early Years and Key Stage 2 experts who helped develop Our Healthy Year have emphasised the benefits of focusing on the youngest and oldest children in Primary school.
Teachers can look out for the Our Healthy Year teaching toolkits which will be arriving in schools now. To find out more about Our Healthy Year and the resources available to schools, search for Change4Life/schools online or visit the website.