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Teaching | May 16, 2024

The benefits of healthy eating

By helping pupils establish healthy eating habits during childhood, we’re able to give them a strong foundation for a lifetime of wellbeing.

We create an environment in our school that prioritises nutritious food choices, to give our pupils the ability and the confidence to make informed decisions about their diet and cultivate habits that support their physical and intellectual growth.

Healthy eating is not purely about physical health, it also improves cognitive function, academic performance and a person’s overall wellbeing. A study published in the Journal of School Health found students who consumed a higher quality diet, including more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, had better academic performance compared to those with poorer dietary habits. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition indicates nutrients (such as omega-3 fatty acids) are essential for cognitive development in children, and an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals, such as iron and zinc, has been linked to improved cognitive function and attention span.

We teach pupils about nutrition as part of the Paradigm Trust curriculum. In lessons they learn about the importance of balanced diets, food groups, the importance of vitamins and minerals, and nutritional value. We also organise workshops and events to engage pupils and provide them with practical knowledge about healthy eating. Pupils go on farm trips so they can understand more about the provenance and seasonality of food, and we use resources including digital media and printed posters in school to reinforce key messages about nutrition and healthy food choices.

To encourage healthy eating habits, it’s important pupils always have access to nutritious food. Our school lunches are provided by Lunchtime Co., a caterer that prepares its menus carefully, following the School Food Standards Guidance in combination with the nutrition criteria of the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering Services. Variety is a key consideration in what they create, so different fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, meat and fish are incorporated across the week, to serve food that looks good and tastes good too.

Promoting healthy eating in our schools is a vital investment in the wellbeing and future of our children. By prioritising nutrition education, providing access to nutritious food, teaching culinary skills and creating supportive environments, we help give pupils the ability to make informed choices that support their physical, cognitive and emotional health.

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Teaching | March 8, 2024

The value of extracurricular activities

Extracurricular activities can play an incredibly important role in a pupil’s educational journey. They give children the chance to explore beyond their classrooms, providing them with the opportunities to discover new interests and learn new skills. 

The benefits of extracurricular activities

A study published in the Economics of Education Review by Stephen Lipscombe found that when it came to extracurricular activities, athletic participation is associated with a 2 percent increase in maths and science test scores. Club participation is associated with a 1 percent increase in maths test scores, and involvement in either type of activity is associated with a five percent increase in Bachelor’s degree attainment expectations.    

It’s crucial however, to avoid thinking extracurricular activities are only good for supporting subjects on the mainstream curriculum. Each one has its own intrinsic value and can spark an interest or uncover a passion which pupils carry with them for years to come, either simply as a pastime, or something that influences their choice of a profession in later life. 

Paradigm’s core principle is that our curriculum prepares pupils to lead fulfilling lives and to play an active, positive and productive role in our democratic society. In essence, the value of extracurricular activities lies in the holistic development they offer, contributing to well-rounded individuals ready to face the challenges of the future.

Extracurricular activities often improve social skills and teamwork. Whether through sports teams, games clubs, music ensembles or other activities, pupils learn to collaborate, communicate effectively, and appreciate the importance of collective effort. These experiences can contribute to personal growth and prepare pupils for the collaborative nature of the world of work.

Taking part in extracurricular activities is also a positive way for children and young people to build cultural capital. Participation exposes pupils to a variety of new experiences and environments, and this exposure can help them develop a broader understanding of different cultures, perspectives and ways of life. Participating in arts, music, drama and other creative activities can allow pupils to express themselves and develop an appreciation for various forms of cultural expression. This exposure enhances their cultural capital by growing creativity and aesthetic awareness.

Finally, clubs can also encourage pupils’ attendance, as they provide something additional they may look forward to coming to at school. 

By having a wide range of extracurricular activities on offer, before and after school, and at lunchtimes, we can give children access to learning and experiences they may not receive otherwise, helping them become more rounded individuals for the future. 

Last updated March 20, 2024