health for life

The Health for Life programme promotes an ethos and environment which encourages a proactive approach to developing a healthy lifestyle.

We focus on growing food, healthy eating and cooking, physical activity and try to involve families as much as possible in the process.

Education Advisers will work with you to use the curriculum to embed an understanding of how to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

The Health For Life Programme:

  • Won the national award from FDF in Health and Well-being
  • Featured at the International Symposium on Healthy Lifestyles, Granada 2013 & Chicago 2016
  • Won the Regional Big Tick for Developing Sustainable Communities (twice)
  • Was shortlisted as a finalist in two national Health and Wellbeing awards.

By working with lots of schools we are able to share good practice and give you lots of ideas and support. Find out which schools have taken part so far, here.

The objective is to engage pupils in growing food to increase their knowledge and understanding of its links with a healthy lifestyle.

Example Activities:

  • Create or extend a school garden for growing fruit and/or vegetables. Can also look at sustainability such as saving seeds; rotating  crops; harvesting rainwater; using school-produced compost, wormeries
  • Use allotments for growing fruit and/or vegetables
  • Fruit and vegetable growing in containers such as hanging baskets, troughs, ‘funny’ containers
  • Planting fruit trees
  • Build raised beds
  • Build greenhouse
The objective is to make a measurable improvement in the diet of school children through cooking and healthy eating activities.
Example Activities
  • Development of a recipe book for use in schools and at home
  • Making healthy soups, drinks, picnics snack foods
  • Cooking competitions between schools (with focus on healthy eating)
  • Practical cooking lessons (with focus on healthy eating) with pupils
  • Practical lessons on cooking through the ages (with focus on healthy eating)
The objective is to make a measurable increase in the amount of regular physical activity of pupils in order to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Example Activities:
  • Active play in school grounds
  • Play leader training (and implementation) for pupils
  • Cycle training – Bikeability, Bike it
  • Walk to school/scooter to school
  • Build bike/scooter racks
The objective is to actively involve parents and families in promoting and adopting healthy, active lifestyles.
Example Activities
  • Inspire workshops e.g. build-a-kite workshop
  • Use of parent partnership workers
  • Sharing of information through letters/emails/school website
  • Train as walk leaders
  • Family bike rides/family picnics
  • Sending recipe home to cook as part of homework
  • Sending seedlings home to grow at home
During the Autumn and Spring term there are four courses to be attended by an appropriate member of staff from each school.
Courses are on:
  • Growing food
  • Physical activity
  • Healthy eating/cooking skills
  • Food safety qualification

On average only 12 schools are selected each year to take part in the Health for Life in Primary schools programme in order to ensure that each school has a sufficient level of support.

Therefore what we require from each school joining the programme is a level of commitment because if a school drops-out halfway through the programme their place can’t be offered to another school.

Selected schools will take part in the programme for a period of four terms.  During this time they will receive support to plan and implement the programme to suit their particular circumstances.

Services For Education recruits schools in the summer term in order to start the programme the following September. Information is sent out by email, post and ebriefing to eligible schools.

Autumn Term

With the help of a Services For Education Adviser you will

  • Ascertain starting points and record
  • Get children involved to review current practice
  • Complete on-line baseline surveys with pupils
  • Complete a baseline audit of school practice
  • Identify barriers and factors that hinder progress
  • Develop ideas that will promote change
  • Nominate a member of staff to attend the two funded training days
  • Prepare an Action Plan that will structure and keep track of resources required, jobs and dates for completion, success criteria
  • By the start of December submit your action plan to steering group for approval – this will trigger the first part of the grant (£3,500 to be paid in two stages)

Spring Term 

With the help of your Services For Education Adviser you will

  • Start to implement your Action Plan
  • Nominate a member of staff to attend two funded training days
  • Engage the whole school community in progress and change
  • Address all strands in a way to encourage engagement
  • Collect evidence of impact (ongoing)

Summer term

With the help of your Services For Education Adviser you will

  • Continue with implementing your Action Plan
  • Attend the celebration event in June to help share good ideas (compulsory)
  • Take part in BBC Gardeners’ world wheelbarrow event (optional)
  • Continue to engage the whole school community in progress and change
  • Continue to address all strands in a way to encourage engagement
  • Collect evidence of impact (ongoing)

Autumn term

With the help of your Services For Education Adviser you will

  • Continue with implementing your Action Plan
  • Continue to engage the whole school community in progress and change
  • Continue to address all strands in a way to encourage engagement
  • Take part in the ‘Cookathon’ (optional)
  • Collect evidence of impact (ongoing)
  • Repeat the on-line surveys with pupils
  • Repeat the school audit
  • Collate evidence of impact

Spring term

  • Continue with sustainable activities in your Action Plan
  • Attend Awards ceremony
A Celebration Event is held half way through implementation phase – so in June – and is a way to share good ideas; motivate you all to continue and showcase the programme to VIPs – the Lord Mayor, MPs, people from Local Authority, Public Health and the next cohort of schools.
At the end of the implementation phase there is an Awards Ceremony in the Banqueting Suite to celebrate and recognise the work that you have all done.
We invite 2 members of staff and up to 4 children to each event to showcase what they’ve done that they are proud of.

Accreditations and Partnerships:

The programme supports Change4Life and offers a range of opportunities to encourage families towards leading healthier lifestyles and works in partnership with Life Education Centres, Birmingham Adult Education Service, Sport Birmingham, Run Birmingham, Let’s Get Cooking, Grow to Learn, the Conservation Volunteers and more

The programme is funded by Mondelēz International. Health for Life is delivered in Primary and Nursery schools by Services for Education and the community programme is delivered by The Conservation Trust.


“In less than 12 months of running the Health for Life programme, we’ve exceeded everything we hoped to achieve. It’s brought a whole community spirit back into school.”
– Teacher, Lakey Lane Primary

“In light of the statistics, it’s so important that children are educated on the importance of being active and eating healthily now more than ever. The Health for Life programme effectively engages young people in a fun and educational way.”
– Dr Adrian Phillips, Director of Public Health, Birmingham

“You feel really proud that you’ve helped to grow the foods that you’re eating.”  – Y5 pupil

“Health for Life has a really beneficial impact on the life of the school. This learning will stay with our children for the rest of their lives and hopefully they will build on what they’ve started here and it will be something that really will be health for life.”
– Teacher, Sladefield Infants School

The Health For Life competitions at BBC Gardeners’ World Live are an exceptionally popular annual feature at the show.

School Children can show off their creative flair, working as a team, with the satisfaction of seeing their final creations on display at the show, enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors.

This competition is a simple, hands-on and fun gardening activity that can be enjoyed by pupils of all levels. The children will need to nurture and care for their plants, so that they grow and thrive in their container.

  • The School Wheelbarrow Competition. School groups are encouraged to look at flora and fauna, garden styles, national heritage, architecture, cuisine and cultures from around the
    world, ultimately picking one country to be the inspiration behind the design and planting of their wheelbarrow. Find out more here.
  • The Teapot Plantpot Competition. As individuals, or groups, the children should source old teapots which could work as planted containers and pick plants to grow in their pot, with support and ideas from their EYFS leader and/or family members. Find out more here.

You can apply for the School Wheelbarrow Competition, using this form. Or for the Teapot Planpot Competition using this form.

The main documents that you will need through the course of the Health for Life programme can be downloaded by clicking on the links below.

Primary Schools:

Our Cookathon – 2018

On 23rd October, our Health For Life schools took part in a cookathon to promote healthy living.

The cooking is demonstrated by award winning chef Marcus Bean. You can watch the video and download the recipes, below.

Download our Root Vegetable Recipe here.

And the Homemade Bread Recipe here.

For more information contact us here or call us on 0121 366 9950.

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