As the Chairman of Governor’s at the Federated Nursery Schools of Ashmore Park & Phoenix, I received this letter from Wolverhampton City Council. I thought that it contained some important advice and information for parents as well as School Governors. The Nursery Schools do not fall into the actions and advice being offered. But it is not only useful information to the Primary School Community. It is also very useful information for our whole community. I therefore have decided to publish its content here on my own social media outlets. As a quick way of informing both parents and Governors of the contents. The contents are very much in the public interest.
7 July 2016
Dear Chair of Governors,
Tackling Childhood Obesity
The consequences of childhood obesity are well documented. Data from the National Child Measurement Programme tells us that in Wolverhampton 25.2% of 4-5 year olds are overweight/ or obese and 40.6% of 10-11 year olds are overweight or obese. These rates are significantly higher than the England averages of 21.9% and 33.2% respectively. Data on levels of overweight/obesity is available at an individual school level, and will be circulated to schools with the Health Related Behaviour Survey results due out towards the end of the summer term.
As a part of the programme to tackle obesity in the City and following a proposal to introduce a daily mile (15 minutes exercise programme) in the City’s primary schools, on the 26th April a joint education and health scrutiny review was called to consider ‘Tackling Childhood Obesity’. The enquiry group recognised the level of good practice on offer across the City, and made a number of recommendations. A key recommendation was to inform school governors of the current offer in relation to school support to tackle this wicked issue.
As a key player in the system, you are able to influence the uptake of interventions in your schools, which at the enquiry group, was considered to be inconsistent across the City.
The Children and Young People’s Health Improvement Team, part of my Public Health & Wellbeing Service in the council, have recently developed an Obesity Prevention Framework for primary schools, outlining the multi-component whole school approach needed to contribute to the prevention of childhood obesity. The framework illustrates activities the school should embed to drive long term change in the school culture, ethos and environment. It is for use by Governors, Headteachers, SLT and subject leads to reflect on current practice and identify areas for development to maximise the contribution the school makes to childhood obesity.
I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the local support and programmes available for your school to benefit from, and I refer you to the enclosed appendix. In addition to the offer outlined there is growing national and local interest in the daily mile programme as developed by a school in Stirling, Scotland. The programme provides a daily opportunity for all pupils to walk, jog or run for 15 minutes through a whole school approach. Public Health would support the adoption of this programme as part of the City offer.
I acknowledge the increasingly complex pressures faced by schools, with priorities and resources primarily directed towards improving academic performance. However, evidence shows that education and health are closely linked; Pupils with better health and wellbeing are more likely to achieve better academically whilst the culture, ethos and environment of a school significantly influence the health and wellbeing of pupils and their readiness to learn. In addition, the new Common Inspection Framework judgement on ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’, requires pupils in ‘outstanding’ schools to be able to explain accurately and confidently how to keep themselves healthy and make informed choices about their mental and physical health and wellbeing.
Through engagement with programmes like those listed above, we would like to work with your school to become active partners in our work to preventing and tackling childhood obesity, and to ensure a universal ‘offer’ is received by all children and young people in the City.
I would be grateful if you could share this letter and information with your Governing Boards at your earliest convenience. For more information on the programmes and projects outlined above or to discuss your schools engagement please contact Louise Sharrod, Children & Young People’s Health Improvement Team Manager on 01902 555931 or email Louise.Sharrod@wolverhampton.gov.uk.
Ros Jervis – Service Director Public Health and Wellbeing