The Healthy Schools Task Force consists of Davenant students, staff and parents. We meet regularly to discuss how to make our school a healthier environment.
In our bid to achieve Healthy Schools Plus status we have been running a very successful Youth Health Champions programme over the last year. This is our second cohort and we are making improvements in the planning and execution of our campaigns with each successive cohort.
Having completed detailed application forms last year, Mrs Lamb selected the best candidates for the role of Youth Health Champions. Criteria for selection include commitment of time to the role but also the ability to speak out with confidence and conviction, often with messages that may not be considered ‘cool’ by all of their peers. It can take courage and passion as well as perseverance to communicate these important health messages.
Our target for achieving Healthy Schools Plus is to reduce levels of substance misuse. In our second campaign we focused on drugs including smoking and binge drinking. As well as leading three assemblies to the whole school, the Champions went into all the Year 7 and 8 Tutor groups during form time and set up stalls with interactive visual aids at lunch times. The Champions reported that the most successful aspect was the dialogue with the
lower school students in form time. They were delighted by the questions and enthusiasm of these younger students. The Champions also recognise the importance of communicating these health messages at an early stage.
Our first campaign focused on healthy eating and the importance of a balanced diet based on all the food groups. Most students at Davenant are very well informed at home and in their PSHE lessons but nevertheless, it helps to have these messages reinforced by their peers. This is the crucial and important role of the Champions: to provide peer to peer education.
Five weeks before the end of term, it was generally agreed that it was the right time to address the issue of sleep deprivation. In our last set of assemblies this year we examined the role of sleep and the importance of being disciplined at night. This means that students need to stop using all technological devices at least half an hour before settling down. We also considered the serious effects of sleep deprivation on our ability to focus
and to concentrate. This included an important discussion of the effects of caffeine and so called energy drinks which give a short term energy boost followed by a slump in sugar levels. Many students expressed surprise when they heard this and had mistakenly assumed that they were ‘healthy’. Our Key Stage 5 assembly looked at psychological research into sleep and we extended the depth of information for the Sixth Form students. Many staff and students expressed their appreciation of the information and pledged to change their bad habits!