Almost 100 primary, junior and infant schools have signed up for the first wave of Northamptonshire County Council’s new Healthier Child scheme.
About the Healthier Child scheme
The scheme will see a specialist team work with the schools to start to improve nutrition and activity levels in year five and six children.
Improving nutrition and activity levels can have a positive impact on cognitive ability and behaviour, helping children do better in school in areas such as academic achievement, behaviour and attendance.
Cabinet member for public health and wellbeing Councillor Robin Brown said: “I’m very pleased that 95 schools have already signed up for this scheme and hope that the rest of the county’s schools follow their example.
“This is an opportunity for schools to join an innovative approach to improving children’s health and wellbeing, and by being part of it at this early stage, schools will be able to obtain some useful baseline data which will help them to measure their progress in the future.
“The new Healthier Child initiative is just part of the way we are working to help the county’s children and young people be healthier and happier.
“It will build on the excellent work already happening through our school nursing service, Northamptonshire Sport, our outdoor learning facilities and our school meals service Nourish, which all play a vital role in supporting the health of our children and young people.”
The services involved in the scheme
The Healthier Child scheme follows an announcement earlier this year that the council would be investing in school nursing to increase numbers from current levels (50.4 whole-time equivalent) to 82 by 2018. This figure includes an increase in specialist community public health nurses, from 16.9 in 2014 to 43 by 2018. This will help to make the school nursing service more accessible and visible, allowing them to make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of children and young people.
The scheme will include activity already taking place through Northamptonshire Sport, which works closely with schools across the county to enhance the quality of sporting opportunities through the curriculum and out of school hours learning, as well as intra and inter school competitions.
It also be supported by the council’s Nourish school service, which provides nutritionally balanced food in line with the standards set by the Children’s Food Trust, plus is now delivering Universal Infant Free School Meals to all pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, from September 2014.
The Healthier Child scheme will also be supported through the council’s three outdoor learning centres which offer a range of outdoor activities for schools that complement the National Curriculum.