Loreto College - Coleraine, Co. Derry, Northern Ireland
Loreto Crest
 

Healthy Lifestyles Policy

INTRODUCTION
The College is committed to reflecting the values, attitudes and moral perspective which are consistent with a Christian conscience and seeks to know and respect each pupil as an individual person within a caring school community.

The College acknowledges that parents are the first and foremost educators of their children. The close partnership between school and home is recognised as an essential element of both pupil welfare and the success of the College.

The College actively encourages initiative and positive leadership. These qualities lead pupils to grow in freedom, and to build an awareness that they are personally responsible for the choices they make.  Together we seek to create a caring and community environment in which students can grow and mature spiritually, intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically.

RATIONALE
It is widely recognised that there is a strong connection between a healthy lifestyle which encompasses diet and physical activity and a student’s ability to learn effectively and achieve high standards in school.  Loreto College also appreciates the relationship between diet and exercise and the positive impact they can make in eradicating some of the global public health problems which exist today such as obesity. The prevalence of obesity has risen three-fold in the last decade with the trend being particularly alarming in children and adolescents.  The College is also aware of the impact the media and celebrity has on young people and will promote healthy lifestyles not fashionable ones.

AIMS
To develop and maintain a shared philosophy on Healthy Lifestyles that includes all aspects of food, drink and physical development and mental well-being.  The Policy makes a public statement which demonstrates how Loreto College cares for and makes a positive contribution to the health and well-being of pupils, staff and other stakeholders.
The overall objectives of this policy are;
• To improve the health of pupils, staff and their families by helping to influence their lifestyle choices through increasing their knowledge and awareness of food and physical activity issues, including what constitutes a healthy and environmentally sustainable diet and the importance of physical activity on a daily basis. 
• To ensure that pupils are well nourished at school, and that every pupil has access to safe, tasty and nutritious food, and a safe, easily available water supply during the school day. 
• To ensure that food provision in the College reflects the medical requirements of staff and pupils e.g. peanut allergies, coeliac disease and diabetes. 
• To make the provision and consumption of food an enjoyable and safe experience.
• To ensure pupils are given the opportunity to partake in various physical pursuits regardless of their ability.
• To introduce and promote practices within the school to reinforce these aims, and to remove or discourage practices that negate them.

The College is therefore committed to providing and promoting a school environment in which every pupil has access to the resources, opportunities, curriculum and school provision that will inform and lead them to healthy lifestyle choices

METHODS
Curriculum
The school curriculum is central to helping young people develop the fundamental skills, knowledge, qualities and dispositions that are pre-requisites for life and work. These fundamentals are equally important for all young people, including those whose aspirations are for a place at university. The New Curriculum aims to help young people develop the skills, knowledge, attitudes and values necessary for independent thinking, informed decision making and responsible action throughout their lives.

Home Economics
Good nutrition plays a vital role in promoting and protecting health. It helps prevent common health problems prevalent in N Ireland including CHD, some cancers and obesity.  The current trend for convenient, fast effortless eating has already started to take a negative toll on the health of society.  In Home Economics, pupils learn about diet and health through various mediums including the planning and preparation of food and challenge the way pupils choose food.  Home Economics gives pupils the opportunity to learn and become more able to make informed and responsible choices about their health, and their family’s health now and in the future.
The Home Economics Department within Loreto College actively promotes the health of pupils through increasing their knowledge of food and nutrition and its impact on health throughout all Key Stages.  The Department ensures that the food prepared in practical classes is nutritious and links clearly with the theory being taught at the time. 

Physical Education
Physical Education helps young people to develop positive attitudes towards participation in physical activities in their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. Active, enjoyable and challenging learning experiences in Physical Education aim to develop positive attitudes and enjoyment of physical activity in young people, and also an awareness of the positive impact of physical activity upon health and wellbeing.
The Physical Education Programme within Loreto College aims to contribute to the physical, mental and social education of students. It promotes healthy attitudes towards competition and team spirit, purposeful use of leisure time, an enjoyment of physical activity and an appreciation of its benefits both in maintaining lifelong health and fitness and in coping with stress related problems. Pupils develop a variety of skills and competences in a broad range of physical activities.

Drugs Education Programme
Drugs Education is an integral part of the Pastoral Care programme in the College.  It is also supported by key contributions from the teaching of Religious Education, Physical Education, Biology and English.  The overall aim of the programme is to provide opportunities for the pupils to develop knowledge and understanding of the use, misuse, risks and effects of drugs; at the same time developing the appropriate skills to help pupils make informed and responsible choices in life which would reflect a positive attitude towards a healthy lifestyle.

School Council
The Student Council within Loreto College is a democratically elected group of students who represent their peers and enable pupils to become partners in their own education, making a positive contribution to the school environment and ethos. The Council are driving forward improvements and initiatives to promote healthier eating throughout the school.  They are doing this by reviewing the opinions of the student body with regard to their eating habits within the school.  Breakfast and lunch consumption of present students are being addressed as the council have initiated a survey asking the pupils about their breakfast and lunch eating habits either at home or in school and asking for any suggestions on improvements that the College can make to ensure that pupils are well nourished at school and that every pupil has access to safe, tasty and nutritious food.

School Food Provision
The new minimum nutrition standards for school food were introduced in September 2006 to ensure healthier eating throughout the school day, banning meals high in salt, fat and sugar or containing low quality meat from school canteen menus.  The standards will ultimately improve the quality of food in schools.  The canteen staff in Loreto College have embraced the recommendations fully and have adapted their already nutritionally sound menus to completely comply with the new recommendations.  Many of the recommendations made including that school lunches are free from low quality meat products, fizzy drinks, crisps and chocolate or other confectionery, had already been identified by the SLT and canteen staff prior to September 2006.

Loreto College had also ended the sale of “junk” food in vending machines and tuck shop (including confectionery, crisps, chocolate and fizzy drinks) and provide healthy vending machines to promote sales of healthy drinks which are now only water based.  Loreto College will continue to improve their existing menu enabling the canteen menu to comply with the even more stringent nutrient-based standards which stipulate the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, for school meals which will be introduced into secondary schools by September 2009.

Drinks Provision
It is widely recognised that there is a positive relationship between the health of young people and their educational achievements. That is to say, that education can have a positive impact on young peoples’ health, and that by improving the health of a child they become more able to learn. In theory, by teaching children the relevant knowledge, understanding, values, attitudes and skills, they will be become better equipped to make ‘healthier life choices’ for themselves, and in doing so will become healthier and more receptive to learning.
The College appreciates this and made the decision in the school year 2004-2005, to take all fizzy, high sugar drinks out of the school via vending machines and canteen.   The school provides free drinking water in the canteen at lunch times and the pupils have the option of buying bottled water from the vending machines in the school.  Pupils are encouraged to drink water by their teachers and are allowed to when in class.

RELATED POLICIES
• Drugs Education Policy
• Pastoral Policy
• Health and Safety policy
• Anti-bullying policy

REVIEW
This policy will be made available to a random sample of parents for comment and review.  It will be reviewed annually.