Healthy success for two Cardiff primary schools

Glyncoed Primary School in Pentwyn is the latest school to receive a national award for its work to promote health and wellbeing throughout its school community.

Assessors for theWelsh Network of the Healthy School Schemes National Quality Award (NQA) found that with support fromCardiff Council's Healthy Schools Team, the school has introduced a number of schemes which promote health and wellbeing at the very highest standard.

Initiatives that were praised include the implementation of the schools Active Travel scheme which includes an active travel plan, new bike sheds and a walking bus tocollect pupils and take them to after-school club.The pupils in the School Nutrition Action Group (SNAG) also organise the provision of a nutritious fruit stand in the junior playground.

Assessors also applauded the range of strategies which have been introduced across the school to promote positive mental health and the fact that pupils are proactively encouraged to use reflective practice.

In addition, the report commended Glyncoed Primary School as a UN Rights Respecting school and noted that it was abundantly clear that this has a positive and beneficial effect on school life.

Deputy Leader of Cardiff Council and Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said: "I am delighted to learn that two more of the city's primary schools have been awarded the prestigious National Quality Award which recognises the hard work from staff, pupils and parents.

"Health and wellbeing plays an important part of school life and the broad range of activities and schemes presented by these schools, will go towards having a positive impact on everyone associated with the school community."

Describing the benefits that working towards healthy schools status has had on the school Headteacher Mrs Elizabeth Beevers said: "Our success is a reflection of the fantastic work of all stakeholders - pupils, staff, parents, governors and volunteers- who work with me to drive the school forward and promote physical and mental wellbeing for everyone in our school community.  

"I am very proud of the excellent practice of staff in promoting the health of our staff and pupils across every area of school life. We have worked with a range of partners to develop our bespoke co-curricular wellbeing programme and we will continue to promote and extend our wellbeing provision even further through new partnerships in 2019-2020."

Recently Bishop Childs Church in Wales Primary School in St Mellons also received the award bringing the number of NQA Cardiff schools to eight.

During a visit to Bishop Childs C/W, inspectors praised the school for their approach to food and fitness and commented that ‘pupils and staff are happy, which reflects that mental and emotional health and wellbeing is at the heart of everyday life of the school.'

The school was also praised for its anti-bullying policy, ‘Playground Buddies' which helps children experiencing loneliness and the school's commitment to environmental issues including a Reflection Garden for all to use when a calm outdoor space is required.

Headteacher at Bishop Childs, Nicola Price said: "Children at Bishop Childs learn about how to lead healthy lives with regards to food, physical activity and even tooth brushing is a part of the school's daily routine. We are proud of this practice and there are additional things that we think are particularly special, our pupils take the lead and their ideas and opinions are sought and acted upon. They themselves place health and wellbeing at the heart of the school and staff, in turn, are required follow this lead as role models.

"I am proud of the efforts of all our children, staff and parents and I hope that this healthy start in life will help shape positive lifestyles choices into adulthood."

Managed by Public Health Wales, the scheme has been running since 1999 and requires schools to demonstrate strengths within seven health topics including; Food and Fitness, Mental and Emotional Health and Wellbeing, Personal Development and Relationships, Substance Use and Misuse, Safety, Hygiene and Environment.

Gemma Cox, Principal Public Health Practitioner - Educational Settings, Public Health Wales said: "We are delighted that Glyncoed Primary School have received our National Quality award. They deserve this important recognition for their commitment to embedding the whole school approach to 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."