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Health Promotion and Nutrition in Schools

 Schoolchildren eating healthy mealsThe Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Act 2007

The Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Act builds on the work of health promoting schools and Hungry for Success. It places health promotion at the heart of a school’s activities and details a number of duties on local authorities such as to promote school meals and consider sustainable development guidance when providing food and drink.

We published guidance, titled Health Promotion Guidance for local authorities and schools, which will support local authorities and schools, and managers of grant-aided schools, in working with partner agencies to meet their duties under the Act.  

Also in 2010 we published materials for parents, teachers and pupils on what the Health Promotion and Nutrition legislation means for them.

The Nutritional Requirements for Food and Drink in Schools (Scotland) Regulations 2008

The Nutritional Requirements for Food and Drink in Schools (Scotland) Regulations 2008 were introduced in primary schools in august 2008 and in Secondary schools in August 2009.  The Regs set strict nutritional standards for all food and drink being served in schools.

Guidance, titled Healthy Eating in Schools - A guide to implementing the Nutritional Requirements for Food and Drink in Schools (Scotland) Regulations 2008, has also been published. This guidance is intended to provide practical advice to help those involved in providing food and drinks in schools to implement the regulations.

A manual to support local authorities with the nutritional analysis of their school lunch menus is available and can be downloaded here. The manual outlines the methodology for use in demonstrating compliance of lunch menus.  This provides supporting evidence in relation to meeting the nutrient standards set within the regulations and contributes to self-evaluation of school lunch provision. 

Health and Wellbeing in Curriculum for Excellence

In 2010 Curriculum for Excellence was introduced.  One of the 8 main curriculum areas is health and wellbeing where a number of experiences and outcomes are described including ‘food and health’.  This aims to ensure that learners develop the skills to make healthy food choices and help establish lifelong healthy eating habits.

Taken together with the Health Promotion guidance, the health and wellbeing experiences and outcomes outline the Government's expectations upon individuals, schools and local authorities for promoting the health and wellbeing of children and young people. This includes promoting physical, social, mental and emotional wellbeing by supporting pupils to make positive lifestyle choices in relation to their health and wellbeing.

Mental, Emotional, Social and Physical Wellbeing

All adults who work in schools have a responsibility to support and develop Mental, Emotional, Social and Physical Wellbeing. It is for the local authority and schools to decide how to develop their own approaches to implement Curriculum for Excellence, based on local needs and circumstances.

The experiences and outcomes describe the expectations for learning and progression in all areas of the curriculum. Under the experience and outcome (HWB 06a), teachers must ensure that children and young people understand the importance of mental wellbeing and that this can be fostered and strengthened through personal coping skills and positive relationships. Children and young people should have an understanding that there is support available to them if they need it.

A mental health link person is available to every school, this has been achieved in a variety of ways using various models working to meet local needs. The link worker may be a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) clinician or another speciality such as a primary care worker. However the named link person will be able to contact specialist CAMHS services for advice if they have any concerns about a pupil.