Teacher hits back at five a day claims

A SCHOOL in Whitton has hit back at figures which suggest that children in the area are not healthy enough.Ann Taylor, head teacher at Whitton Community Primary School, aims to give every child the best start in life by making sure they have a supply of fresh fruit and vegetables every day.

A SCHOOL in Whitton has hit back at figures which suggest that children in the area are not healthy enough.

Ann Taylor, head teacher at Whitton Community Primary School, aims to give every child the best start in life by making sure they have a supply of fresh fruit and vegetables every day.

In the Suffolk Primary Care Trust's Public Heath Annual Report 2006-07, synthetic ward estimates were made, which revealed that although on average 36.7 per cent of children in the county had their five fruit and vegetable proportions every day, this varied across the region. It is estimated that 25.5 per cent of children in the Whitton ward ate their quantity of fruit and vegetables every day, compared to 47.6 per cent in Eastgate ward near Bury St Edmunds.

However Miss Taylor claims the school in Shakespeare Road has employed a number of initiatives to keep children as healthy as possible.

Although fruit for all the younger children is paid for via a government scheme, the school itself funds free fruit and vegetables for the older pupils, aged seven to 11.

She said: “We do a lot of work in learning time about being healthy. It's not just about food, it's about sport too.

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“If you can eat in a healthy way, it affects every part of your body, including your brain. It makes you an agile person in body and mind.

“We do not allow them to bring in crisps and sweets for their break-time snack. Lunchtime is more difficult because some of them bring their own food in. We encourage them to be healthier and they are a lot better than they used to be.

“We have also invested in our own salad bar. We do find our children like a variety of salad so we brought in a salad bar so they can help themselves.”

There is also a school allotment, which the children help to maintain and are then invited to eat what is grown, from raw fruits like raspberries to cooked vegetables like pumpkins.

A free breakfast club is also run from the school three times a week for older children.

Is your school doing something different to aid a healthy lifestyle? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.