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Healthy Futures Set for Launch 23 March 2007

The Healthy Futures initiative is being launched today.

This is a joint initiative between the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Social Security, and the Department of Tourism & Leisure.

All schools will be involved and offered support from a named health adviser and from the Department of Education’s Skimmee Gien Mie team (Team Well Being – formerly Life Education).

Healthy Futures aims to help schools to promote the health and well-being of pupils and staff through a well-planned and taught curriculum in a physical and emotional environment that promotes learning and healthy lifestyle choices.

The aim of Healthy Futures is to ensure that schools have a clear set of criteria against which to judge the provision they make to:

• Support children and young people in developing healthy behaviours;

• Help reduce health inequalities;

• Promote social inclusion.

When children eat a healthier diet, participate in more physical activity, and are better equipped to make healthier lifestyle choices, they are more likely to achieve higher academic standards.

Schools will be expected to work on raising the quality of their provisions for key areas which relate not only to the taught curriculum but also to the emotional and physical development of children and young people. For the last 2 years, schools have been carrying out a detailed School Self Review and Evaluation (SSRE) of their work in all areas.

The Healthy Futures criteria will be added to the SSRE Framework so that they become a part of every school’s evaluation of its provision for children.

Professionals from the Department of Health, Manx Sports and Recreation and the Department of Education worked together to write the criteria and the first set of learning resources to support teachers in the classroom. More resources will be developed in the future and a programme of training will begin in the next academic year.

It has been good to see people from different professional backgrounds working so well together. Lez Dorward, Director of Health Promotion has been particularly influential in getting Healthy Futures into schools.

However, the launch of these materials is just the start. Support and training for teachers will be provided from all the Government Departments involved, with Skimmee Gien Mie playing a key role in helping schools to develop their practice.

The launch of Healthy Futures is to take place at Ballacottier School on 22 March 2007 at 3.45 pm for a 4.15 pm start.

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