Focusing on Food and Fitness across the Vale of Glamorgan

As the Move More Eat Well Partnership Plan continues to inspire and encourage people across Cardiff and the Vale to make positive lifestyle changes, one school in Barry has been rewarded for its encouraging efforts to promote the health and wellbeing of its staff and learners.

Oak Field Primary School has worked with Vale of Glamorgan Healthy Schools Scheme to implement healthy food choices and prioritise physical activity. Working with these community partners, the school identified areas of improvement that could be made to drive a whole school approach that promotes healthy living.

With the help of In School Healthy School Coordinators and keen learners, the school began to introduce some new initiatives that ensures healthy food choices and physical activity are the easy choice.

School and community wide approach to sustainable food

All classrooms now have a kitchen area where learners are taught to prepare and cook food. The youngest are encouraged to make their own healthy snack each day and prepare their lunch once a month. Beyond this, the school has also introduced a vegetable patch where they can grow their own vegetables which can be used in their cooking.

Driving positive change beyond the whole school approach, Oak Field Primary School has worked with Food Vale to bring together businesses, community groups and individuals to build a better local food system and set up ‘The Big Bocs Bwyd’. Linking sustainability with education, ‘The Big Bocs Bwyd’ has been developed as a pay as you feel community shop which receives weekly donations from FareShare and local supermarkets. This is a scheme which provides local families with healthy food options to encourage a balanced diet at home.

The positive response received from ‘The Big Bocs Bwyd’ has resulted in the initiative expanding into other areas. The Welsh Government has provided funding to establish a further five ‘Big Bocs Bwyd’ shipping containers to schools across the valleys. To learn more about this please read this government press release.

Receiving the Phase 6 Healthy Schools award, Oak Field Primary School has also been put forward as a good exemplar to the Food Vale Coordinator and as a result, the learners were invited to participate in the Food Vale promotion video, showcasing their commitments and efforts to the Move More Eat Well agenda.

Understanding what influence the educational setting can have on lifestyle behaviours, Oak Field Primary School has been supporting learners, staff and families in the local area on the benefits of moving more and eating well and how this can be key to enhancing future life outcomes.