As part of the response to the Childhood Obesity Plan, the UK Government proposed a Healthy Schools Rating Scheme (HSRS), which would be used to evaluate how schools are supporting children to keep themselves healthy.
At SFM we believe that a HSRS that works for everyone can be developed through consultation and collaboration. That's why we turned to parents, school staff and governors to find out their views. You can read the report here but in a nutshell:
97% of people surveyed are in favour of a Healthy Schools Rating Scheme (HSRS).
When asked if the scheme should be mandatory, 85% of respondents agreed.
93% are in favour of the HSRS being applied to all state-funded schools.
When asked if Ofsted should monitor the scheme, 72% of all people surveyed, and 76% of parents, agreed.
In July 2019, the Department for Education (DfE) announced a 'beta phase' of a new Healthy Schools Rating scheme. The new scheme is not a standalone programme; rather, it comprises a set of new questions that have been added to the existing Active Lives Children and Young People survey - a self assessment tool with questions about physical activity and school food. The Active Lives survey is administered by Sports England and the affiliated ‘Active Partnerships’ in each region.
We decided to test the new Scheme, in order to provide feedback to the DfE on the 'beta phase'. We worked with 25 schools across multiple regions: Berkshire, Bristol, Devon, Halifax, Hull, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Shropshire, Walsall, and York.
In April, we completed our report, concluding that the confusing eligibility and opt-in process, the time, effort, and resources involved, the delay in results, and the lack of focus on healthy eating at school means the HSRS is not fit for purpose in its current form. However, we continue to support the concept of a healthy rating scheme, and so recommended the DfE convene an advisory group to assist in a redesign of the programme.
We believe that school food should be a consistent and non-partisan priority for government. We use our real-world experience of working in schools to strengthen our campaigns on children’s health, access to nutritious school meals and food education.