Schools in Bristol are being recognised by the city council for the role they’re playing in improving the health and wellbeing of students, families and communities at an annual award ceremony.
The improvements are driven by two major Public Health initiatives - the Healthy Schools’ Programme which is the larger of the two initiatives and focuses on improving health behaviours such as eating well and being active, and the Bristol Ideal, a domestic violence prevention programme promoting healthy relationships, equality and respect. Both initiatives lay out standards for schools to meet and the city’s Public Health team support them to get there.
Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens, who was involved in launching the idea, said: “I have always been passionate about the ideology behind the Bristol Ideal and I am so proud to have been and continue to be involved in such a ground-breaking scheme, working with young people across the city to educate them in healthy relationships.
“We are fortunate to live in a world where we have access to information and have the ability to raise awareness amongst our young people of what makes a healthy relationship. Working towards the common goal of showing that inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated, is the greatest gift we can give our children.”
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “I’m so proud to see our schools taking a lead role in teaching students about these significant issues. When it comes to staying healthy and safe, prevention is absolutely the key to tackling wider health issues such as obesity, cancer and poor mental health. I intend to support mental health and wellbeing interventions for all primary school children and this work will also help to reduce health inequality in our city. I would encourage every school in the city to get involved and put health and wellbeing firmly on the curriculum.
Six new schools will be collecting the Mayors Award for Excellence as a Health Improving School, the top accolade in the Healthy Schools Programme, taking the city’s total to 24 schools who’ve achieved this accolade since the awards launched two years ago. The reach of the programme is broad with many more schools currently working towards this, showing the appetite for health improvement from the education sector.
Cllr Clare Campion Smith, cabinet member for People, said: “Through the Healthy Schools Programme and Bristol Ideal we are teaching our pupils how to make wise choices for their futures. Teaching high quality Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) is key to this work as it arms students with the knowledge and skills they need to live positive, healthy lives. Crucially, this work doesn’t stop at the school gates and it is already helping shape the attitudes and behaviours of families, communities and generations to come.”
Jack Lacey, headteacher at Victoria Park Primary School, said: “Achieving the Mayor's Award for Excellence as a Health Improving School is a big step forward for us and helps us to give our children the best possible start in life. It has been a joy watching how much the children have got out of learning about our school values, growing their own vegetables at our allotment and learning about their bodies. We chose to focus on developing Relationships and Sex Education and improving the lunchtime environment and we have seen real results too: 30% more children now say they enjoy their lunchtimes.
This is the first year that the award ceremony will include The Bristol Ideal; a project which, though in its early stages, has already generated interest from the Home Office and Education Select Committee for its innovative approach to preventing domestic and sexual violence. The first three schools to pass – Redland Green, Shirehampton Primary and Chester Park Junior have taken a whole-school approach to tackling abuse including teaching about healthy relationships, ensuring pupils know where to go for help and having a named champion within the school.
Sarah Baker, headteacher at Redland Green School, said: “We are delighted to be one of the first schools to achieve the Bristol Ideal award. We feel it is our responsibility to provide young people with the knowledge and skills to tackle the tricky issues they face today whether that be sexism, sexual harassment or abusive relationships. Ultimately, we hope that this will lead to a culture shift where any form of domestic violence and abuse is unacceptable. Embedding a full Relationships and Sex Education curriculum has been key to that work as well as ensuring our staff are well trained in spotting signs of abuse.”
The Bristol Ideal and Bristol Healthy Schools programmes are open to all schools in the city and are supported by Bristol City Council. For more information visit the project websites: http://www.bristolhealthyschools.org.uk/ and http://www.bristolideal.org.uk/.
Posted on Wednesday 6th July 2016