Cardiff primary scoops healthy schools success

Severn Primary School in Riverside is celebrating success in a Public Health Wales scheme after being recognised with a Welsh Government National Quality Award. 


The staff, pupils and parents at the school have been working with Cardiff Council's Healthy Schools Team to introduce initiatives which are designed to improve the health and wellbeing of the school community, both in and outside of school. 

Severn primary was the first school in Wales to develop ‘park and stride', where parents park away from the school and staff escort the pupils as they walk the rest of the way. 

It also introduced ‘forest school' and ‘sand between our toes' for pupils to experience the natural environment. 

Many opportunities for family engagement have been created, including a healthy lunchbox workshop. 

Describing the benefits that working towards healthy schools status has brought to Severn primary, Headteacher Mrs Julie Morris said: "Working towards national accreditation has enabled us to share a consistent health message with children, staff and parents. Our children now have a better understanding of health issues and are able to make healthy choices for themselves. 

"The positive focus on well-being was important for the whole school community and the children particularly enjoyed meeting the wide range of people who came to school to share knowledge with them.

"I would like to thank the Healthy School Team, including Joan Roberts, Carol Maher and Karen Trigg for all of their support." 

Severn primary is the fifth school in Cardiff to be recognised with a National Quality Award, following Herbert Thompson Primary School in Ely's 2011 success, Moorland Primary School and Ysgol Pwll Coch in 2015, and Adamsdown Primary School last year. 

Adding her congratulations, Deputy Leader of Cardiff Council and Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merrysaid:"This is a fantastic achievement and the staff, pupils and parents at Severn primary should be very proud that their hard work has been recognised with a National Quality Award. 

"Health and wellbeing is an important part of the overall learning experience, and the work of Severn Primary School is a great example of how our schools are continuing the drive to deliver an excellent standard of education in the city." 

Managed by Public Health Wales, theWelsh Network of Healthy School Schemeshas been running since 1999, and considers initiatives around food and fitness, mental and emotional health and wellbeing, personal development and relationships, substance use and misuse, environment, safety and hygiene. 

Mary Charles, Principal Practitioner for the Public Health Wales Healthy Schools Programme, said: "We are delighted that Severn Primary School has received our top health award. They deserve this important recognition for their commitment to embedding health and wellbeing in the culture and fabric of the school. 

"This achievement demonstrates how the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes are enabling Public Health Wales to work in equal partnership with schools to improve the future health and wellbeing of our children. By combining our efforts and assets in a purposeful way, we can create a healthier, happier and fairer Wales."


The Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes (WNHSS) involves nursery, primary, secondary and special schools, along with the Pupil Referral Units (PRU), and 99.9% of schools in Wales are part of the scheme.

The scheme works to encourage schools to take a whole school approach to improving health which means they look at everything from the policies adopted, the school environment, the curriculum and the involvement of the whole school community and the wider community around the school. 

Schools are assessed against the following criteria for the National Quality Award:

  1. Food and fitness (nutrition and physical activity)

  2. Mental and emotional health and wellbeing, including staff wellbeing

  3. Personal development and relationships, including sex and relationships Education

  4. Substance use and misuse, including alcohol, smoking, and drugs (legal, illegal, and prescription)

  5. Environment, including eco-initiatives and improving the school and wider environment

  6. Safety, including a variety of topics such as child protection, sun safety, internet safety, and first aid

  7. Hygiene including across school and non-school settings