St Cuthbert’s Catholic High School has embarked on a week-long celebration of healthy eating, cooking and drinking, food provenance and being active, involving the whole school community.
The Summer Health Festival will see students rise to five challenges – identified by the British Nutrition Foundation – over as many days, aimed at breaking down the barriers to a healthy lifestyle.
The challenges began earlier today (Monday) with a healthy ‘grab and go’ breakfast taster for all students, which demonstrated just how important the most important meal of the day is, and that a healthy breakfast can still be a tasty one.
On Tuesday, students will be treated to some refreshing alternatives to sugary drinks and pop, with fruit and herb-infused waters, aimed at getting young people to drink plenty.
Wednesday will see the lunchtime menu given a healthy twist, with a five-a-day fruit and vegetables challenge.
Then on Thursday, students across the school will stretch their legs and burn some calories on a mile-long run around the grounds.
The celebrations will culminate on Friday with an off-curriculum day, including music and dancing, taste and mental health sessions, discussions about food in other cultures and a healthy barbecue to reward the students for their efforts.
There’s loads more going on throughout the week, such as daily ‘wake up and shake up’ sessions, teachers cooking their favourite dishes, after school Zumba and parent and pupil cooking classes.
St Cuthbert’s will also welcome young people from nearby primary schools, challenging them to use all their senses to experience food in new ways.
The Summer Health Festival is supported by the council’s Healthy Living and Schools Catering teams, with Executive Development Chef, Andrew Ferguson, who has been working with students and schools to transform the School Meals Service across the borough.
Local businesses and organisations have shown their support too. Asda, Tesco, Morrisons and Co-Op stores have donated fruit and vegetables, and the Saints RLFC Foundation will be helping out with physical activities on Thursday.
Mr Ferguson said: “Since setting up a School Food Action Group at St Cuthbert’s earlier this year, we have been working hard towards the Summer Health Festival which will showcase the benefits of fresh and healthy, well-balanced meals.
“The festival is just the starting point in creating a positive approach to school meals, health and wellbeing for the students of St Cuthbert’s.”
Catherine Twist, head teacher of St Cuthbert’s, said: “By following the five challenges through a range of fun and memorable activities across the curriculum, each student will develop core skills and knowledge around food, diet and physical activity.
“I’ll be taking to the smoothie bike during the week and hopefully the fruits of my labours will be healthy drinks that the staff and students can enjoy!”
Councillor Andy Bowden, cabinet member for education, said: “We all know by now how important good nutrition is, particularly for our children and young people, but St Cuthbert’s has gone further and is doing a fantastic job of engaging them in some very meaningful and hopefully lasting ways, building good habits for their futures.
“The work to keep young people healthy starts in the home, but a lot goes on in schools too.
“We’re committed with our School Meals Service to serving nutritious food for growing bodies, and our efforts to maintain high standards of freshness and traceability in primary schools has led to us recently receiving a nationally-recognised Bronze Award for Life catering mark from the Soil Association.”