Guest Blog: Blacklow Brow Primary’s experience in adopting the Pledge for a Healthy and Active Future

Guest Blog: Blacklow Brow Primary’s experience in adopting the Pledge for a Healthy and Active Future

The Pledge for a Healthy and Active Future (PHAF) was launched by Food Active in 2023 and is designed to engage with schools across local areas to support a whole systems approach to promoting healthy weight. In September 2023, Blacklow Brow Primary School in Knowsley became the first school after the pilot to adopt the pledge, and the first in the North West. Penny Paes, Class Teacher and PE Lead, has shared her learning and experience of adopting the PHAF in our latest guest blog.  

How has the Pledge for a Healthy and Active Future helped your school in supporting better health and wellbeing?

Adopting the PHAF has provided us with the vision and direction in order to provide our children with an environment for them to develop their health and wellbeing. Before we began to make changes, we distributed a questionnaire for parents and pupils to complete. This then gave us additional information from all stakeholders of how best to drive this initiative. We have been able to improve the quality of the school meals through meetings with the local council and our own school councillors. Additionally, we have adapted the school tuck shop to provide healthier snacks for the children to buy at break times. Furthermore, we collaborated with an outside agency to provide children with the opportunity to attend additional sports clubs outside of school hours to promote physical and mental health in the community.

How did you secure senior-level buy in for adopting the pledge?

I attended a senior leadership meeting, in which I highlight the obesity figures within our local community. This emphasised the need for us to provide more support to children and families within our local area. I then introduced the PHAF and asked for their support with this drive to ensure that we can provide not only an academic education within our school, but also promote better physical and mental health for our pupils too.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced during the process?

The biggest barriers we faced was ensuring the parents and pupils were on board with the changes we will implementing. We provided them with a new school food policy and invited them to a launch event, in which we provided them with additional information of the changes that would be implemented. During this, parents and pupils were asked to give us feedback, which we then utilised in any further amendments we needed to make. After six weeks of the new changes, we send out another questionnaire to parents and pupils to gain additional feedback, this was again utilised in tailoring more changes to the needs of our community.

How did you launch the pledge at your school?

We send out letters and information leaflets about the PHAF and created a launch event, for parents and pupils to attend. We asked members of the local community to attend to provide a healthy lifestyle stalls, including our sports facilitator, Activate, who promoted the outside clubs available and health professionals from Healthy Knowsley and School Nurses working with families to discuss oral health and healthy eating. Additionally, we worked with our school kitchen to provide tasters from our new school menu for parents and pupils to try which went down well.

Have there been any challenges since adopting the pledge?

We are still finding difficulties with children who bring a packed lunch to school. Over the coming months, we will be producing a school video to promote our changes and encourage children and parents to make healthier life and food choices in the future. Additionally, we will be adding in further information to our school policy to ensure that children are being provided with healthier options during school hours.

Key pieces of advice for schools

The main advice would be to get staff, parents and pupils on board. Provide them with enough information to be able to understand and accept why the changes are being put in place and how they will support their children in the future.

Final reflections

Launching the PHAF was an enjoyable experience and although there were challenges, the positive outcomes have outweighed these. There is not ceiling with how far you can make changes to support children to have a happier and healthier future.


To find out more about the Pledge, follow the link below.

 

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