Nearly one fifth (19.1 per cent) of final year primary pupils were obese last year, according to new government statistics. And among children starting primary school, aged four or five, the proportion was 9.1 per cent. The study – based on measurements of 1.1 million children – shows that the proportion of obese 10- and 11-year-olds has risen since 2006-07, when 17.5 per cent were obese. The proportion in reception has fallen slightly, from 9.9 per cent.
Concerns over childhood obesity were this week raised by the Commons Health Committee, which said the situation required “bold and urgent” action from the government. It recommended that teachers should be given government backing to confiscate unhealthy items from lunch boxes. Its report quoted chef and campaigner Jamie Oliver who had said that: “A can of Red Bull in primary schools is inappropriate.”
The government has introduced new rules concerning how universities recruit primary postgraduate teacher trainees. Fears had been raised that under the latest system, where applications for all providers would have closed as soon as a national limit was reached, universities wanting to take their time selecting trainees would have been forced out by other providers prioritising early applicants. Universities have now been told that they can carry on recruiting up to 75 per cent of the number of trainees they had in 2015-2016 – but they must take on no more than 95 per cent.
Primary children at Jonah Lomu’s former school, Favona primary in Auckland, New Zealand, paid tribute to the All Blacks rugby star by performing a song at his memorial service this week. Mr Lomu, who died last month aged 40, was remembered in the song called You Are My Legend, which was written by the children and includes the lines “You showed us to follow our dreams” and “Number 11, our hero in heaven”.
Helen Ward (@teshelen)