School shines bright with Diamond award

Pupils and headteacher at New Road Primary receiving award

A Calderdale school has received the borough’s highest level of recognition for their work to promote and support the health and wellbeing of pupils, staff, families and the wider school community.

New Road Primary School in Sowerby Bridge has achieved the top level award in each category of the Calderdale Healthy Schools award programme, which recognises the work that schools carry out to support children and young people be healthy.

The primary school provides a high-level of support for its pupils, across the programme’s key themes of mental and emotional wellbeing, physical activity, and food and nutrition. The school’s exceptional work to support the physical and mental health of pupils and staff, together with the focus on healthy eating has led to it becoming the first school to achieve Gold level awards in all three Healthy Schools criteria.

This incredible achievement has been recognised by Calderdale Council, with a new level of ‘Diamond’ status being created for schools which achieve excellence in every Healthy School category. As the first school to achieve this accolade, a special Diamond award was presented to New Road Primary School by the Council’s Director of Public Health, Debs Harkins.

Examples of the school’s good work include a weekly family fitness session where young people and their parents and carers are active together, daily active lessons, and pupils growing, preparing and eating their own produce. A specialist Learning Mentor is employed to support not only pupils’ needs but also those of parents and carers, whilst the school shares information regarding community initiatives such as food discounts and any locally run free services such as holiday clubs and activities.

To receive the awards, the school was required to produce evidence including links to curriculum learning, from which it was clear that school’s ethos is based on a broad and balanced curriculum where children learn about the benefits of being healthy and how to make healthy choices.

The approach is further supported by visual displays throughout the school, including an entire wall of the school hall that shows photos of pupils, parents and staff enjoying being physically active in their lives outside school. Pupils speak confidently and knowledgeably about how to be healthy and active, and staff are passionate about supporting pupils to know how to make healthy choices.

Headteacher at New Road Primary School, Sharon Harwood, said

“I’m extremely proud of our achievement of being awarded the Healthy Schools status at New Road, especially as the first school in Calderdale to receive the Diamond level.

“Reaching this high standard is a clear reflection of the commitment and dedication of the whole school community working together. Our staff are continually implementing unique and creative initiatives that our children and families embrace eagerly.

“Promoting positive attitudes and encouraging healthy behaviours is not just a priority for our children to follow whilst they attend primary school, our aim is to instill these choices so our children understand the importance of maintaining them into their adult lives.”

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, Cllr Tim Swift, said:

“New Road Primary school has really gone above and beyond to demonstrate their commitment to the Healthy Schools programme, supporting pupils, staff and the wider school family to be healthy and active and embedding wellbeing support and an understanding of nutrition into the school’s curriculum.

“Their efforts were so impressive we’ve created a whole new tier for the programme, so the school now holds Diamond status – an incredible achievement, of which the school should be very proud.”

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, Cllr Adam Wilkinson, said:

“It’s really great to hear about the creative and varied initiatives implemented at New Road School and how they’re helping to shape the health and wellbeing of the whole school community.

“It’s especially inspiring to hear how the pupils themselves speak knowledgeably about the importance of living healthy, active lives and how they’re encouraged to share their favourite ways to keep active, inspiring others to make healthy choices.”

The Calderdale Healthy Schools award programme supports the Vision 2024 for Calderdale, with improved health and wellbeing outcomes creating more resilient communities where people can reach their potential. The programme has been developed in partnership with schools and provides a clear framework to enable them to demonstrate their commitment to young people’s health and learn from each other.

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