We receive a huge amount of very positive feedback from our early years settings, primary schools and local council partners. Below are a small number of recent case studies detailing how some schools and early years settings are implementing the PhunkyFoods Programme.
Claire Rose (Teacher) PETTERIL BANK COMMUNITY SCHOOL, CARLISLE
Having been involved in the PhunkyFoods programme this academic year I have been thrilled with how successful it has been with our children, staff and more importantly with a considerable number of our parents who are waiting in anticipation for the next PhunkyFoods after school club. They can’t wait to tell me when they have tried a recipe at home which is always a pleasure to hear. When I returned from a residential week on Friday the first child I saw as I walked in the door said to me ‘Am I cooking with you next week Mrs Rose’? To which I asked him, ‘Well if you were cooking what would you like to make’? And his reply was ‘Spicy tomato soup’. For a child that struggles to engage this level of enthusiasm was quite unusual. It made me smile but brought home how much cooking and healthy eating is much more a part of our children’s lives than it ever was before and often gives children like him a sense of pride and achievement.
Other than the after school club we have had a staff training session and a PhunkyFoods week which involved lessons and activities to promote a healthy lifestyle. It included some of the interactive assemblies off the website and of course lots of cooking. We invited parents and the community to join us and sample what we had made during the course of the week for a garden party on the Friday afternoon. I also know that some parents took part in the Big Lunch event taking recipes they made in the cook and eat club Gill ran in the community hall next to school too. One parent has also shared the salmon dip and pea and mint smash up with another club she goes to and said they loved them.
I’m already looking forward to the year ahead and building on what we have already achieved this year. Thanks PhunkyFoods and Gill we appreciate all your help and dedication.
Teacher. HOLY ROSARY CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL, BURTON-ON-TRENT.
Our school signed up to the Phunky Foods Programme in January 2014, when our existing head teacher carried out a Phunky School Health Check, with our local Engagement & Development Co-ordinator (EDC). This identified a need to focus on the school lunchtime experience, to introduce a new school food policy, and to extend cooking opportunities throughout the curriculum.
Progress was then made by increasing the uptake of school dinners, and staggering lunchtimes for a calmer dining environment. We also introduced a new school food policy in 2015. By the time of the first health check review in 2015, our school council had been appointed to oversee ongoing dinner hall improvements. We also identified a need to focus on healthier packed lunches, and to extend training opportunities for staff working in this area.
Our second health check review was carried out in September 2017. Following which, our EDC attended a school staff training day to notify all staff how to incorporate the Phunky Foods resources into our curriculum. 2 members of staff attended the Phunky Foods Training Day in November 2017, and our Y5 teacher attended in 2018. As a result of these training opportunities, we are now delivering more healthy eating sessions, both within the curriculum and as extra-curricular activities. In particular, we set up a PhunkyFoods after school cookery club, which began in the summer term of 2018.
PhunkyFoods have also worked on parental engagement at our school, by attending our Parent Forum in October 2017, and attending school sports days and meetings for parents of new intake. These were good opportunities to discuss healthy eating (e.g. healthy lunchboxes and healthy hydration) with some of the harder to reach parents.
One of the best aspects of the PhunkyFoods Programme has been the Ambassador scheme, which raises the profile of the programme across our school community, and also increases ownership of the scheme by pupils.
We appointed our first set of Ambassadors in November 2017; they were trained by our local EDC to deliver the first message “Strive for 5”. They delivered an assembly, carried out class surveys, and assisted our EDC at parent engagement events. They also ran a poster competition and act in a “mentoring” role for the new Ambassadors. We have all been impressed by the confidence and motivation shown by our Ambassadors.
In November 2017, PhunkyFoods asked two of our classes to complete a set of Food and Activity Diaries, detailing everything they had to eat or drink, and any exercise taken, over a 24 hour period. The results provided gave us a detailed picture of our children’s lifestyle habits.
This process was recently repeated, and showed that our children have increased their intake of fruit and vegetables since November 2017. Our first set of Phunky Ambassadors focused on the “Strive for 5” message – and so we are pleased to see that their work has had an impact.
Another focus of the school this year, prompted by our PhunkyFoods action plan, has been on growing/gardening. We have recently established a new garden area on our school site and each year group have taken responsibility for a specific planting area. We have also run a sunflower growing project, where parents and children have enjoyed planting seeds together, with a prize awarded to the tallest sunflower at the end of term.
Dawn Roebuck (Pastoral Parent Support Worker). WEST VALE PRIMARY, HALIFAX.
We first became aware of the PhunkyFoods Program in February 2019 when Fiona Gardiner the Principal introduced the idea to promote healthy eating, links to DT and PE and develop pastoral contacts in new Parent Support Worker role in school. We were very keen to introduce the resources and find new ways to encourage parents to attend Healthy Eating and Cooking Workshops with their children. Helena our Co-ordinator came to introduce the programme and couldn’t wait to get started working on this new and exciting project.
Helena was so organised and helpful and explained how the programme would work in our school. The resources arrived very quickly at school early March ready for us to start the programme and as the programme is web based the school we had our own personal password and staff started accessing the materials straight away. All the PhunkyFoods curriculum ideas, recipes, gardening ideas, Breakfast Club activities, after school and lunchtime club ideas were introduced to Teaching staff in April and we decided to start the Ambassadors Programme alongside the Eating and Cooking Workshops to run in June and July to give us a chance to select parents who would benefit from the Workshops. Helena came to introduce the programme to the children in assembly and the Ambassadors were elected May.
The Class 5 Teacher said that the children were a bit nervous about doing the programme at first but Helena soon encouraged them to come up with lots of ideas for the school assembly to introduce the Ambassadors Programme. It was good to prepare them for taking on more responsible roles in preparation for transition to Year 6. They came up with their own ideas ‘keeping bodies active’, choosing a range of games for the children to encourage healthy activities at playtime. They were able to successfully discuss their ideas together, organise a meeting with the Head Teacher Mrs Gardiner and they soon gained permission to carry the activities out safely and fairly over different playtimes. They sourced the equipment, created a feedback book and Helena came into school to evaluate their work. The four representatives all said they really enjoyed doing it and were very proud of themselves.
Miss Acton Class 5 Teacher said ‘The resources are great and we know they are there as a bank if we want to use them or incorporate them into our planning for next year. I have used them in the DT curriculum and the PE ideas are useful. I am looking forward to using the resources properly in September as the pilot has been a success’.
We completed a Health Check in no time and as we were able to make use of the school Dining room and the excellent kitchen facilities this helped greatly. The children made a variety of easy to prepare dishes and especially liked making their own pizza’s and even had chance to taste them with mums and dads. It was a great success and to help children try new foods was a big plus. The parents all said that they appreciated the chance to spend time preparing easy recipes that they can easily use at home and it was nice to have fun and be more relaxed about food. ‘She is liking it so much and learning how to make different things… it’s really encouraging her and me too’. ‘I think it’s been very interesting and I have learned lots of new stuff and I didn’t know that you could eat a whole water melon!!!’ ‘It’s been so well organised and everything taken care of. Finding out about new ways to do easy food has been very helpful especially when mums are so busy’. ‘I’ve really enjoyed coming and it’s been nice to meet the other mums and have fun’. ‘Helena has been so helpful and I have really enjoyed coming’. What has been really inspiring was one of the children saying, ‘I look cooking and sometimes I bake at home and I would love to do this when I grow up I would like to be a chef’.
Teacher. FOREHILL PRIMARY SCHOOL, AYRSHIRE
Over the past few years Forehill Primary school has worked in partnership with PhunkyFoods who have delivered numerous parent and child workshops across the school. During the academic year 2018-2019, Jennifer Morrison our local PhunkyFoods Support Worker, has become an integral part of the wider school team. She has delivered a whole school assembly programme focused on “drain your drinks”. This was very well received by all pupils, many of whom engaged further with the resources during the lunch hour.
Numerous parental engagement activities have been undertaken and Jennifer has been fundamental in engaging parents in a variety of opportunities. She has worked flexibly in supporting the role out of the healthy lunch box during a Primary 1 transition session, attended parent’s evenings in order to raise awareness and promote the value of healthy eating as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Within the ELCC, Jennifer delivered a series of parent and child cooking classes which were extremely well attended. Her positive approach, attention to detail and her well organised manner encouraged a high number of returning parents to attend further sessions. The evaluation feedback highlighted the value which parents placed on having the opportunity to attend these sessions and further develop their skill set.
During a practical demonstration she worked in partnership with the Primary 7 teachers to deliver a cooking session to both classes. This provided the Primary 7 teachers who are keen to promote cooking within the school with the opportunity to further develop their own skills within this area. In turn enhancing their skill set which enabled them to deliver practical cooking sessions to all Primary 7 pupils.
Jennifer has also provided invaluable CLPL for staff in order to develop their confidence to teach cutting techniques to pupils. Jennifer has a pleasant and approachable manner and always ensures that sessions are highly organised. At all times Jennifer is reflective of her own practice and is keen to strive to improve and plan for future health enhancing opportunities.
Headteacher at Winshill Village Primary School, BURTON-ON-TRENT (July 2018)
We signed up to the Phunky Foods Programme in 2013 and since then there have been a number of staff changes within school. In 2016/17 our local co-ordinator ran a session at our staff inset day to notify us of the resources and support available under the programme and all staff took part in a “supercrunch pudding” session which demonstrated how easy it can be to incorporate food prep into the curriculum. During that academic year our co-ordinator also came into school to provide information to parents of new intake on healthy lunchbox planning. She also attended a stay and play session at our nursery open morning where the children and their parents made supercrunch together, and parents were given information about healthy hydration. We had some concerns about the dental health of children in Early Years and so this information was quite appropriate.
In November 2017, we carried out a school Health Check. We were keen to focus on parental engagement around healthy eating, and to work with our breakfast club staff. We also needed to review our curriculum and boost cooking opportunities for all year groups. Our breakfast club leader attended the East Staffs Phunky Foods Training Day in November, and this was followed by training of new incoming breakfast staff later in the year. We are also planning another full staff training opportunity at a school staff meeting in September.
Since the Health Check in November 2017, we have reviewed our school curriculum and decided to adopt the Phunky Foods physical activity curriculum for next academic year. We have also incorporated cookery for every year group each term.
Parental engagement has been our main focus this academic year. Our local co-ordinator attended our whole school parents evening in February 2018 to engage with parents around healthy packed lunches. A number of parents expressed interest in attending a follow up “Love Your Lunchbox” parent workshop, and so this took place in March. 12 parents attended and made tuna and tomato couscous, feedback was very positive. In fact several families have since turned around their family eating habits as a result of attending this workshop, including Zoe James (with her children Matilda and Wren) and Rachel Tipper (with her children Lucas and Lilly – pictured below)
“We had lost our way and forgotten that it is not OK for our kids to be eating crisps every day. The workshop gave us lots of new ideas to try. Our children were happy to replace their crisps with healthier snacks like unsalted unsweetened popcorn and fruit. They are drinking more water. I can’t remember when we last ate crisps! The whole family has benefitted – my husband lost 1 ½ stone. It has made a big difference cooking meals from scratch again.”
“We made lots of changes to our family eating habits – the children now take water instead of squash, Lucas always takes fruit/veg in his packed lunch. I am also a lot more careful about checking food labels now”
As a Headteacher it has been pleasing for me to notice healthier changes in lunchboxes in particular I have noticed couscous appearing since the Parent Workshop!
Parental engagement also occurred this year at our KS1 sports day in June – when our co-ordinator focused on healthy hydration, and talked to parents about the amount of sugar in popular soft drinks. And finally at our open day at the end of term in July when parents were again reminded about healthy packed lunches and invited to sample the tuna and tomato couscous option.
Next year we are excited to be running the Phunky Ambassador scheme with our Yr 5 students and looking forward to involve more of our pupils in the healthy key messages.
Headteacher at Bishop Harvey Goodwin Primary School, CARLISLE (July 2018)
We have now been a part of the PhunkyFood program for just under a year now. It has given us a lot of opportunities in and out of school prompting the importance of being healthy and keeping active. Teachers have been able to deliver high quality lessons given children a depth of understanding of being healthy and the life benefits this can provide. We have also been able to begin a mile a day with the support of the ambassadors prompting this in and around the school. Our school tuck and snack policy has been reviewed and refined so we are supporting children in making changes to their daily routine choices. They are also aware of what they should be drinking and the quantities that are needed so they keep hydrated in and out of school. Poster have been made by all year groups showing this knowledge and competitions have been held which children have been enthusiastic and co-operative with.
Phunky Food Ambassadors
Aimee – I have been given the opportunity to share my opinions and take the lead with a very important part of a school curriculum. I really like doing the mini ten minutes’ actives each day in the different classes and seeing all the children and my friends smiling when we do this.
Liam – It has given me confidence to share what I think and to help teach younger children what choices they can make at school and home focusing on sugar content.
Georgia – I feel happy when I am working with different children in school, I have made a lot of friends during this opportunity which has helped me outside of school as well. I like it when children smile and when we have competition that children join in with. I also love how this has changed so many opinions and our snacks are really healthy now.
Tyler – I liked the poster competition because I like how everyone did something different to share and help our school become fit and healthy.
Head Teacher – thoughts about the program and impact on our school.
I have been delighted to see the positive impact Gill and Phunky Foods has had in our school in such a short space of time, especially the impact it has had on staff and pupils alike. Gill has delivered clear and effective sessions via worship and sports day. We are looking forward to even closer work next year and have added it to our aims for well-being in our Sports Funding Statement on our website.
Ben Cass, Teacher at Beckermet CE Primary School, COPELAND (July 2018)
We first heard about the Phunky Foods programme when our PE coordinator was offered two places for staff to attend the training day back in the autumn term. My colleague and I attended the day and we were very impressed by the programme. I was surprised at some of the facts and figures given about just how unhealthy children in Copeland are compared to the rest of the UK. It really brought home just how important the programme is as a way for schools to have a positive impact on healthy eating.
We felt the programme website and materials were very easy to use and considering it is free, the resources are vast and of high quality.
We decided to opt into the programme as a school during the beginning of the spring term and we have since received a lot of help and support from Harriet, our Engagement and Development Coordinator. She came into school free of charge and delivered a workshop called ‘Strive-for-5’ to our KS1 class.
Feedback from the staff and children involved in our after school cookery club has been positive; they have found the varied and healthy recipes simple and easy to follow. Our two older school councillors became our school Phunky Foods Ambassadors after completing the training with Harriet. They received a workbook to complete and in return were given a pin badge to proudly wear. They have delivered half termly assemblies to the school, each time delivering one of the whole school topics. This has been a great way to ensure all the school receives some of the vital messages of Phunky Foods, as time constraints and pressures of the curriculum have meant some classes have not done as many of the schemes of work as they would have liked. One whole scheme topic which I feel was most effective was the Eat Well guide - our children are much more aware of what proportions of food groups they need for a healthy diet. The programme has allowed our children to make more informed decisions about healthier alternatives.
Overall, we are very happy with the Phunky Foods programme and we are planning on developing our use of it even further next year.
Alison Oliver, Assistant Head at Norland C of E Junior & Infant School, SOWERBY BRIDGE (July 2018)
Norland is a small, rural, primary village school which has grown from 95 to 107 pupils over the last year. These children are drawn from a wide catchment area and diverse backgrounds. Pupil premium, FSM and SEN are all below national averages. There are 4 classes, 3 of which are mixed year groups. School was rated ‘good’ by OFSTED, December 2016 and ‘outstanding’ by SIAMS (October 2017). School meals are externally provided.
During the academic year 2017-2018, Helena Glancy from Phunky Foods has continued to play an integral role in the Norland family, supporting Healthy living, Science, PSHE and the DT curriculum.
She supports the children in their learning, across all ages and she has helped teachers deliver many aspects of the curriculum. There is an established culture: children aspire to be a Food Ambassador; healthy eating habits are openly discussed; and ‘a treat’ is understood to be something that is not daily!
Scientific language is filtering down the school and recently I discussed an eat-well plate with Y2 children who confidently talked about protein and carbohydrate and why the body needs them!
Helana continues to be a valued member of the team: she is an excellent role model; she always follows school policy and expects the highest standards of behaviour and learning; she talks sensitively to parents and although she recognises their needs, she encourages healthy choices.
I would strongly recommend the Phunky Food programme to any primary school and have offered to host events to promote it locally, if this would be helpful.
Sara Williams, Year 2 Teacher at West St Leonard's Primary Academy, EAST SUSSEX (July 2017)
We started the Phunkyfoods programme in September 2015. All of our staff were initially trained at a staff meeting training session and the resources are used across the school. We carried out a Phunkyfoods health check with our EDC in June 2016 to make improvements to the healthy living environment across the school and recently reviewed it. Some of the positive improvements include:
- Working with parents to promote healthier snacks
- Making sure the breakfasts on offer are consistent with healthy eating messages (sugary options have been limited and healthier food is now on offer)
- Giving pupils the opportunity to do farm based activities
- Keeping pupils physically active in all lessons
- Involving community partners in growing, cooking and physical activity programmes
- Using reward based initiatives to promote healthy lifestyles (the school is taking part in the Golden Mile; we also do ‘Just dance’ everyday with classes competing and weekly certificates)
With my class, I now regularly refer to the Eatwell guide and I and other colleagues encourage the children to make healthier choices at lunchtime. I like to use the PSHE approach – showing children how to appreciate their bodies and value themselves as well as being aware of other cultures, of food hygiene, of the social experience, of vegetarianism etc. Since the health check, I have started eating lunch with the children on a regular basis and have found it a very positive experience; we all enjoy it!
Fiona McManus, PSHE Coordinator at Elmwood Junior School, CROYDON (July 2017)
The PhunkyFoods program has been absolutely fantastic this year. Wendy Walsh has delivered a number of informative assemblies and workshops to the whole school to promote healthy lunches and to deliver the message ‘Strive for Five’. In the most recent assembly, Wendy demonstrated how to make fruit smoothies and some of the children had the opportunity to taste them. In addition, Wendy ran an Egyptian food tasting session on Ancient Egyptian Day and she provided ideas for recipes for the Year 4 Roman day.
We have also appointed two PhunkyFood Ambassadors in the school who assisted Wendy in her most recent assembly. They have also delivered an assembly to promote the message ‘Strive for Five’ and their new message is ‘Drain your Drinks’, an initiative to stay hydrated every day.
At the beginning of this academic year, Wendy delivered a staff meeting about the PhunkyFoods website and all of the resource available for the teachers to use. The resources are extremely useful, interactive and informative. We look forward to working with PhunkyFoods next year!
Charlene Carrett, PSHE Leader at Pegasus Academy Trust, CROYDON (1600 pupils across 4 schools)
We became involved with the PhunkyFoods Programme because we were missing a nutrition scheme of work and we wanted to teach more food related topics. We wanted our children to have a better understanding of how to live a healthy lifestyle. We have been running the PhunkyFoods Programme for one year now. All staff members were trained during an inset day and since then we have delivered parent workshops, assemblies, children’s food workshops and we have also used the resources and lesson plans during class work. The pupils are really benefiting from the PhunkyFoods Programme and they are now able to make and discuss healthy choices; they enjoy talking about food and can make healthy snacks. Our results in health and self-care in Reception have definitely increased this year as we placed a greater emphasis on PhunkyFoods in Reception. The Reception children are very articulate about discussing healthy eating and the benefits. We recently took part in food growing and sold our vegetables at a local market and we also involve parents in the programme through parent workshops. Moving forward we are working on supporting the Juniors more. The Juniors have topics and we would like them to incorporate the PhunkyFoods lesson plans through their topic work.
Fran Simpson, Head of School at Parkland Infant School, EAST SUSSEX (180 pupils).
We joined the PhunkyFoods programme in September 2015 to develop our healthy lifestyle work in school. Our Community Support Worker, Georgina, came into school to deliver some training on the programme which we then cascaded to all staff in both schools. A member of staff from our Junior school also attended the full PhunkyFoods training day.
We took part in a health check in January 2016 which was reviewed in June 2016. As a result of the health check, we drafted a new school food policy, arranged a farm visit for Year 1 and introduced staff eating with the children at lunchtimes. We set up a summer sports and summer holiday project, a food tasting project for International Food Day and a growing project plus a new reward system connected to making healthy choices.
The health check was a fantastic tool and together with a lot of effort from staff, we have made big changes in the quality of our teaching and learning on healthy lifestyles.
In our breakfast club, we now have fresh fruit everyday and the staff, who also use the PhunkyFoods website resources, made the ‘Supercrunch’ dish with the children. We have also worked to improve the quality of packed lunches.
This term we have been working with parents to get the key messages across. We have shared the resources on the website with them and we add a PhunkyFoods recipe to our newsletter every week. This term we held two workshops for parents and their children on the themes of healthy lunchboxes and getting active and in September 2016 we are introducing a parent/child aerobics and relaxation course.