Primary has stamp of success

5th August 2005 at 01:00
Children who make healthy meal choices and eat up their greens are being given a rubber stamp of approval on the back of their hands to show to their parents.

The initiative is part of a holistic approach to pupil well-being which has won a south Wales primary the inaugural Welsh teaching award for healthy school of the year.

Ysgol Gynradd Caerfilli picked up its Plato award at a ceremony in Cardiff last term.

When he arrived three years ago, headteacher Lyn Griffiths, 40, instigated a health culture that not only includes a fruit tuck shop and daily consumption of water, but encourages the pupils to engage with the local community, delivering Christmas cards to elderly people in the vicinity, and inviting them to visit the summer fair.

"We don't solely focus on academic skills. We feel that it's important for the children to be good citizens as well," he says.

Nourishing school lunches are also firmly on the agenda. "Caerfilli was looking at healthy school food long before Jamie Oliver got involved. Fruit and vegetables feature on the menu daily, and all the puddings contain fruit of some description, apple crumble, for example," said Mr Griffiths.

He acknowledges that well-being extends beyond the physical, which is why the Mets Gret (Great Mates) programme was set up to prevent bullying.

"The NSPCC came in to give Year 6 pupils some basic training on empathy skills so that they would be equipped to be 'buddies' to the younger ones," he said.

Earlier this year the pupils formed an eco council, to make the school more environmentally friendly by conserving energy and water, and creating a haven for wildlife.

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