A school in South Tyneside school has taken positive action to ensure its pupils get a balanced diet of exercise and good food in an initiative to promote healthy living.
Staff at Ridgeway Primary Academy encouraged children to fundraise – then invested the £2,000 they collected on a week of healthy activities.
It saw classes in gymnastics, dance, athletics and yoga added to the timetable at the school, in Park Avenue, South Shields.
To ensure the good work done during the school day reached beyond the classroom, parents were encouraged to join in.
They took part in their own fitness sessions in the school hall and were given expert guidance around healthy food for the home.
Melissa Baker, assistant headteacher and head of early years, said: “The children enjoy healthy meals when here, but it seems too few have hobbies or take part in activities outside of school.
“When we asked what they do when not in school, they tended not to mention hobbies, and talked about food that isn’t healthy.
“We felt we needed to do some positive and asked our children to fundraise, with the money paying to bring experts into school to support the initiative.”
She added: “The children loved the activities and the parents have also thoroughly enjoyed what we have done. It’s been such an enjoyable and positive week that we hope to run a programme every year.”
A Monday gymnastics class was led by South Tyneside Gymnastics Club and, on the Tuesday, Lauren Anderson Academy of Dance put youngsters through their paces with half-hour classes.
Start 2 Finish Sports Coaching led 40-minute hurdles, relay and tag team events on the Wednesday, while Karma Baby Yoga brought relaxation to the school the following day.
The week finished on Friday as parents came ventured in for a 30-minute fitness session, led by Dare 2B Fit Fitness Centre.
Daily take home recipes of courgette Bolognese, fish and chips with sweet potatoes, chicken goujons, pitta pizza and beef stir fry were provided by Dare 2B Fit.
Each day the pupil judged the most enthusiastic was selected to take home that day’s ingredients.
Courtney Adams, 27, mum of pupil Archie Trewhitt, five, said: “I exercise regularly with some of the parents, but it was good to take part in a session at the school.
In 2016 it was ranked the best among 21,000 mainstream schools in England and Wales for writing improvement and in its last report, Ofsted praised the school’s overall improvement, describing the upward trend as ‘dramatic’.