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Food and fitness through PSE

Personal and Social Education

Food and fitness through PSE

As part of the Key Stage 4 timetabled PSE programme, all Year 11 learners take part in an eight week ‘Health and Fitness’ course. The rationale for introducing the Health and Fitness programme centred on concern from school staff regarding media coverage of the increasing incidence of obesity and the sedentary lifestyles of many young people. The course also provides a final opportunity to reinforce key food and fitness messages before many learners move on to other settings.

The course was planned by the PSE coordinator and Healthy Schools coordinator in consultation with the Science, PE and design and technology departments to ensure an integrated approach. Assessment evidence indicated that learners had a good understanding of key principles, however, many were not applying their understanding and were not ‘putting their learning into practice’ when it came to making health choices. Following a curriculum audit and consultation with young people, the emphasis is on health-related fitness.

The course is delivered by the PSE ‘Health’ team, twenty staff who have received specific training to deliver health and emotional well-being. The team includes PE staff who provide specialist inputs. At the start of the course  learners complete a lifestyle questionnaire and carry out a simple cardiovascular fitness test.  Care is taken to make the activities enjoyable, inclusive and to avoid potential embarrassment. Learners review their personal healthy eating choices and the need for a balanced diet is reinforced. Interactive ICT resources are used to allow independent self-supported study.

Learners develop a personal exercise plan which emphasises the inter-relationship between food and fitness. They identify ways to incorporate exercise into their daily lives by researching local amenities and look for opportunities that encourage whole family participation. At the end of the programme, learners are reassessed and any cardiovascular improvements noted. The school has had support from external agencies including

  • Healthy Schools who provided resources, advice and a WAG food and fitness grant of £500
  • Safer Routes to School Officer.

Strong links have also been established with local leisure related businesses and sporting groups. Learner achievement is celebrated through a year group assembly with a range of rewards provided to those learners who show most improvement. Whole school recognition is achieved via the Healthy Schools Award.The PSE Faculty leader has evaluated the programme with teaching staff and learners. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Most learners demonstrate a greater willingness to apply the key principles in terms of taking responsibility for keeping the body safe and health, and being able to set personal goals for fitness and healthy eating.

Links with the PSE framework


The course provides learners with opportunities to:

  • use prior knowledge to explain links between cause and effect, and make predictions
  • analyse information and ideas in order to assess bias, reliability and validity
  • take different perspectives into account when making informed decisions and choices effectively
  • select from and interpret a variety of methods of presenting data, including pie charts, scatter graphs and line graphs, to support understanding of PSE-related issues.


The course provides learners with opportunities to:

  • accept personal responsibility for keeping the mind and body safe and healthy

and to understand:

  • the short and longer term consequences when making decisions about personal health
  • the factors that affect mental health and the ways in which emotional well-being can be fostered.

Future plans

The school already encourages learners and staff to cycle to school. The school council has identified the need for additional secure cycle storage racks as a priority. Funding has been allocated by the school and the school council is working closely with the Safer Routes to School Officer to extend local cycle routes to encourage more learners to cycle to school.

Related Links

The PSE framework provides the foundation for a broad, balanced holistic approach to PSE.