The Healthy Schools Task Force consists of Davenant students, staff and parents. We meet regularly to discuss how to make our school a healthier environment.
HEALTHY SCHOOLS UPDATE - JUNE 2013
Update on Healthy Schools
In our bid to achieve Healthy Schools Plus status we have been running a very successful Youth Health Champions programme over the last year. This is our second cohort and we are making improvements in the planning and execution of our campaigns with each successive cohort.
Having completed detailed application forms last year, Mrs Lamb selected the best candidates for the role of Youth Health Champions. Criteria for selection include commitment of time to the role but also the ability to speak out with confidence and conviction, often with messages that may not be considered ‘cool’ by all of their peers. It can take courage and passion as well as perseverance to communicate these important health messages.
Our target for achieving Healthy Schools Plus is to reduce levels of substance misuse. In our second campaign we focused on drugs including smoking and binge drinking. As well as leading three assemblies to the whole school, the Champions went into all the Year 7 and 8 Tutor groups during form time and set up stalls with interactive visual aids at lunch times. The Champions reported that the most successful aspect was the dialogue with the
lower school students in form time. They were delighted by the questions and enthusiasm of these younger students. The Champions also recognise the importance of communicating these health messages at an early stage.
Our first campaign focused on healthy eating and the importance of a balanced diet based on all the food groups. Most students at Davenant are very well informed at home and in their PSHE lessons but nevertheless, it helps to have these messages reinforced by their peers. This is the crucial and important role of the Champions: to provide peer to peer education.
Five weeks before the end of term, it was generally agreed that it was the right time to address the issue of sleep deprivation. In our last set of assemblies this year we examined the role of sleep and the importance of being disciplined at night. This means that students need to stop using all technological devices at least half an hour before settling down. We also considered the serious effects of sleep deprivation on our ability to focus
and to concentrate. This included an important discussion of the effects of caffeine and so called energy drinks which give a short term energy boost followed by a slump in sugar levels. Many students expressed surprise when they heard this and had mistakenly assumed that they were ‘healthy’. Our Key Stage 5 assembly looked at psychological research into sleep and we extended the depth of information for the Sixth Form students. Many staff and students expressed their appreciation of the information and pledged to change their bad habits!
Of course we need to evaluate our work. It is important to provide hard evidence of the impact of the work of the Youth Health Champions. We carried out a detailed survey in September 2012 of students in all years. We are also currently reviewing the influence of the Champions on the attitudes and behaviours of students in Year 7-10 with questionnaires. Before the end of term we will be conducting Focus Group research to
find out more about what has worked well and how we might do even better. Hopefully by October we will have enough evidence of the positive impact to write up our finalreport in order to achieve Healthy Schools Plus status in December.
As teacher in charge of this project I am immensely proud and full of admiration for the students who continue to work as Champions. In a busy school like Davenant where there are so many opportunities for students in many cross- curricular clubs and activities, both in and outside lessons, it is really heartening to see the tremendous commitment that so many of them have made over the last two years. I have seen them grow in confidence
and develop so many skills. It has involved making sacrifices: giving up precious socialising time at lunch and break and creating power points, videos and posters and manning stalls. I am planning a thank you team building experience in October, hopefully at Lambourne End.
A new cohort of Champions will be trained in September over three days. Training will involve talks and activities by a wide range of health professionals. .Once again the training will culminate in the opportunity to achieve the Level 1 Public Health qualification which could be very useful in a variety of future careers. This opportunity will be open to all Year 8 and Year 9 students. Completed application forms and a letter outlining the
skills they could offer to the programme must be submitted to Mrs Lamb by July 1st
The list of successful applicants will be posted in the second week of July. There may also be an opportunity for some students who have already achieved Level 1 to progress onto Level 2 with more training and a more challenging examination.
More information will be posted shortly.
Mrs M Lamb
Head of PSHE, Healthy Schools and Psychology