In late 2015, the Cabinet Social Policy Committee asked ERO to assess ‘the current status of food, nutrition and physical activity in schools and early childhood services’ and to report on Health Promoting Schools that were included in the sample. We visited 202 early learning services, 46 primary schools and 29 secondary schools in the first half of 2016.
We asked: How well does the service/school promote positive attitudes to physical activity, and food and nutrition to benefit children?
ERO found that most schools and services were doing a good job of equipping young people with the knowledge, skills and attitudes to make healthy choices around food, nutrition and physical activity.
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ERO made an overall evaluative judgement for each school and early learning service in response to the question:
How well does the service/school promote positive attitudes to physical activity and food and nutrition to benefit children?
ERO gathered information from 202 early learning services during their regular education reviews during Term 1, 2016.
A sample of 46 primary schools and 29 secondary schools were reviewed by special review teams, and F, N and PA was the sole focus of the review. Primary schools were visited during Term 1, 2016. Secondary schools were visited during Term 2, 2016.
The schools were selected from eight District Health Board (DHB) areas, including those with high, average and low rates of children aged 2-14 years who have been identified as obese or overweight.
Within each DHB area, at least one school participating in the Health Promoting Schools (HPS) scheme was identified and selected. Some of the DHBs did not have secondary schools participating in the HPS. Additional secondary schools participating in HPS were selected in other regions to make up for this. Schools were also selected to reflect the national population of schools as closely as possible (decile grouping, school type, location).
Further detail about the schools and services in this evaluation can be found in Appendix 3.
ERO asked the following key questions in each school or service to inform their overall judgement:
- How well are physical activity, food and nutrition programmes planned and implemented?
- How well are children learning about and participating in programmes and activities relating to physical activity, food and nutrition?
- How well is the service/school involving whänau and the community in approaches and activities?
- What stories of success or challenges does the service/school have to share?
The questions ERO used to guide discussion and the effective practice statements ERO used to judge how well a school or service promoted positive attitudes to F, N and PA are in the findings sections of this report.
During each review, ERO collected information from a variety of sources including:
- discussions with leaders and/or teachers at each school or service
- documentation related to the operation of the service or school and children’s learning
- observation of the school or service environment
- conversations with school students.