Primary School Age Children

Primary School Age Children

This section of the website aims to provide you with information relating to nutrition and physical activity in primary school aged children.
From this section of the website you can access information relating to research and surveys, policy and strategy, campaigns, national initiatives, key resources and useful links.

Data, Research and Surveys

The Sodexho School Meals and Lifestyle Survey  is a UK-wide survey published by Sodexho Limited. It aims to provide information on the eating habits and lifestyles of school children, such as frequency of school meal consumption, amount of money parents give children to be spent in school and format of travel to school.
School Sport Survey 2011 – building on twenty years of Sport Wales surveys on young people’s participation in sport, and school-based provision of sport, the data from this surveyenables the monitoring and tracking of trends in Physical Education (PE) and school sport, and provides a base from which to shape sports policy and practice.
National Foundation for Educational Research (2007) Evaluation of food education provision in Wales  was carried out on behalf of the Food Standards Agency. It was based on a questionnaire survey of a sample of schools together with in-depth interviews in primary and secondary schools. It considers how many pupils aged 5-16 are engaged in different types of food education across Wales, including an analysis of differences by age and gender. There was evidence that an integrated, cross-curricular approach was being used in primary schools, where very good practice in the teaching of food education was identified. The schools felt they would like to introduce better facilities to teach food education and that they did not have staff with specific qualifications to teach food education.
University of Teeside (2006) A systematic review of the effect of nutrition, diet and dietary change on learning, education and performance of children of relevance to UK schools   is a systematic in-depth review of the best evidence from controlled trials studies that have investigated the effects of nutrition, diet and dietary change on learning, education and performance in school aged children (4-18years) from the UK and other developed countries.
Sport Linx – putting children first through: sport, nutrition, health and education Liverpool City Council Sports Development, in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University, the Healthy Schools Team, School Sports Partnerships and Liverpool Primary Care Trust delivers one of the largest on-going health and fitness programmes in Europe. SportsLinx has built up a substantial data archive, including measures of body composition, fitness, dietary habits, and health on over forty-five thousand participants. They use this data to comment on temporal trends, or changes over the years in various measures including levels of obesity and fitness in children. Sport Linx can also investigate eating habits, health inequalities and lifestyle variables such as time spent watching TV or playing sport.

Policy and Strategy

Welsh Assembly Government (2006)  Food and Fitness – Promoting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Children and Young People in Wales 5 Year Implementation Plan   provides a framework for integrating action on nutrition and physical activity for children and young people in Wales.
‘Appetite for Life’ sets out the strategic direction and actions required to improve the nutritional standards of food and drink served in schools across Wales.
The Welsh Assembly Government released Design and Technology in the National Curriculum   in 2007 which outlined proposals for the school curriculum, including making practical food skills compulsory at key stage 2 and 3.
OFCOM (2006) final statement on television advertising of food and drink products to children outlines a total ban, at all times and on all channels on the advertising of high fat sugar and salth products in or adjacent to programmes which have particular appeal to children under 16 years of age. In addition Ofcom proposes that additional restrictions should be imposed on advertisement content.
Children’s Play and Leisure – Promoting a Balanced Approach: Health and safety laws and regulations are sometimes presented as a reason why certain play and leisure activities undertaken by children and young people should be discouraged. Such decisions are often based on misunderstandings about what the law requires. The Health and Safety Executive has worked with the Play Safety Forum to produce a joint high-level statement that gives clear messages tackling these misunderstandings.


The Walk to School Campaign asks parents, pupils and teachers to think about their journey to and from school, and the many benefits of making it on foot.
The British Heart Foundation Food 4 Thought Campaign  aims to help children think carefully about the food they eat. They have devised advertisements to be placed on popular children’s websites, developed innovative teachers’ packs and developed interactive games.
British Heart Foundation Ultimate Dodgeball and Jump Rope for Heart Ultimate Dodgeball and Jump Rope for Heart are fundraising programmes which encourages pupils to get active and have fun at the same time. Schools taking part in Ultimate Dodgeball or Jump Rope for Heart receive a free kit, an Organisers Guide, Teacher’s Manual, posters and sponsorship forms. These events are aimed at 7 -16 year olds.

National Initiatives

The Welsh Network of Healthy Schools Scheme  actively promote and protect the physical, mental and social health and wellbeing of their community through policy, strategic planning and staff development in relation to the school curriculum, ethos, physical environment and community relations.
The Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes (WNHSS) have produced a report ‘In Perspective’ which provides case studies of food and fitness actions in schools. It looks at actions on nutrition and physical activity undertaken by one school from each of the twenty two local Healthy School Schemes.
The guide Developing a Whole School Food and Physical Activity Policy   is to be used as schools consider food and fitness activities as part of the Welsh Network of Health Schools Schemes; their local Healthy School Scheme Co-ordinators will guide schools through this process.
The Welsh Government have introduced the Primary School Free Breakfast Initiative, which aims to provide all primary school aged children, registered in maintained primary schools in Wales, with the opportunity to receive a free, healthy breakfast each school day by January 2007.
Download the evaluation of the free school breakfast initiative.
Cooking Bus  has been sponsored by the Welsh Government, through Design Dimension Educational Trust. The Bus visits schools and provides practical cooking lessons for pupils and one teacher training session at each school. The bus visits primary schools in Communities First areas which are part of the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes, and which are already working on healthy eating and physical activity.
Designed to Smile is a national child oral health improvement programme announced by the Minister for Health and Social Services in March 2008. The core programme will have two main parts, a supervised toothbrushing scheme for 3-5 year olds and a promotional programme for 6-11 year olds. The core programme also includes the clinically appropriate use of other fluoride supplements.
The Eco-Schools  programme is an international initiative that encourages pupils to engage with environmental and sustainable development issues.  It provides a highly structured system for the environmental management of schools. The programme is a learning resource and topic areas include Litter, Waste Minimisation, Transport, Healthy Living, Energy, Water, School Grounds and Global Citizenship.
The National Federation of Women’s Institutes- Wales established the Gardening with Schools Project to encourage WI members to work with their local primary schools to develop and maintain their school gardens. For more information email [email protected].
Dragon Sport  is a Sport Wales initiative which offers 7-11 year olds fun and enjoyable sporting opportunities outside of the curriculum. The eight Dragon Sports are rugby, athletics, cricket, football, hockey, netball, tennis and golf.
The Welsh Government’s Free Swimming initiative  entitles all children under 16 to free sessions at selected times at local leisure centre’s and at least one free structured activity session each week in the school holidays.

Key Resources

Please find below a list of key resources relating to primary school aged children. For more resources please visit the Nutrition Network for WalesResources Database. 
These BHFNC fact sheets examine factors influencing activity among the under fives and provide advice on interventions to increase activity. The factsheets are ideal for practitioners who simply want the facts and figures relating to physical activity in the early years
The Welsh Government has produced guidelines for preparing healthier lunchboxes  with some ideas for a week’s menu.
Breakfast is Brilliant, which is published by the Welsh Government and provides suggestions for establishing breakfast clubs in schools.
The Food Standards Agency Wales and the Welsh Government have published Fruit tuck shops in primary schools, providing a practical guide to planning and running a fruit tuck shop.
The Class Moves  is a programme which enables primary schoolchildren and teachers to discover the pleasures and benefits of movement and relaxation. The Class Moves! consists of a set of activity calendars for every primary school year group and accompanying manuals. It is available in all primary schools.
Thirty two gardening projects from across Wales, involving Women’s Institute (WI) members and their local primary schools, are featured in the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI)-Wales Gardening with Schools Case Studies Book. To receive a hard copy of the booklet please send an A4 SAE (78p) to NFWI-Wales, 19 Cathedral Road, Cardiff CF11 9HA. For an electronic version please e-mail [email protected].
Think Food and Farming is the legacy project building on the successes of the Year of Food and Farming which ran in England during 2007- 2008. Think Food and Farming is a long-term project led by Farming and Countryside Education (FACE) whose primary aim is to educate children and young people about food and farming in a sustainable countryside. It promotes healthy living by offering children and young people direct experience of the countryside, farming and food through growing and cooking activities, and visits to farms.
This information sheet gives a review of research and guidance on the benefits of independent active play and active mobility in childhood. The leaflet explains why active outdoor play is essential for children, including facts and suggestions.

Useful Links