From the Chairman

I have been laying out SCUK's areas of interest and involvement for the future. Nutrition and physical activity is another area where school councils have a vital role to play.

My family's sport is sailing. My sons are lucky enough (and, to be fair to them, they have worked hard enough) to be part way down the pre-Olympic pathway. Their sport is organised at this level by the RYA, the authority that supports the training with funding from Sport England. In the RYA programmes, not only do the boys get supported in honing their sailing skills but they are also supported in nutrition and lots more.


So nutrition and physical activity come as second nature in our house. And crikey, it makes a difference. Let me share some of the advice with you. It starts with the mantra "Eat well: Drink well: Sleep well". This is the advice to Olympic and pre-Olympic athletes.

You can't even think straight if you are not properly hydrated. If you were to add into dehydration a massive sugar hype, like Coke, you would become effectively dysfunctional a short while later. Sugar-hype is followed by sugar-dive. You feel rubbish. The caffeine dehydrates you more and so on. I have seen sailors unable to go out in a major championship after years of training because they are literally ill, through drinking Coke on a hot summer's day. What's the point of that?

In foods, the tales of e-numbers are well known and do not need repeating here. It's not just the e-numbers. Jamie Oliver was right when he said [to paraphrase] eating the wrong stuff truly does you more harm than good. Yes, our family has fish and chips every now and again but pasta is a mainstay. It's no hardship, in fact it's highly recommended. Would you like a copy of our family's nutrition guidelines? Email me -

So what's School Councils UK's position?

This is another instance when school councils really have a vital role to play because school councils could and SHOULD have nutrition and physical activity on their agenda. Because nutrition and physical activity really do affect the real lives of real young people. Massively.

The school council could and SHOULD be pushing the adults to make sure the food people eat at school (and at home) is actually good for them. It's something that has to come from the young people because top-down insistence from the adults won't work and the only way it WILL work is when the young people themselves decide to make it happen. The adults need to show leadership.

Similarly the school council has a direct interest in the physical activity that happens at school. They could and SHOULD be pushing to encourage physical activity to happen after school as well as in school and at home. They could and SHOULD be showing leadership by gathering in as many of their peers as they can into sports activity of some kind. Sometimes you just need a friend to ask you, to get started. So ask. If not sports activity, then dance activity. Any sort of leisure or sports activity. It doesn't matter. And yes, the disabled can sail too.

So my practical offer here is threefold:

1. Please email me, if you would like to go sailing – – whether you are a student or an adult and I will introduce you to someone in sailing who will help you get started. It's a genuine offer. Dare you to take me up on it!

2. Please email me for our family's recipe for pomarola (tomato) pasta sauce that is a staple in our every day and sailing diet. It's very simple and very yummy. The boys are addicted. So will you be. [Mums: it never goes begging] Oh, and by the way, the children should make the pasta sauce (at an appropriate age and under appropriate supervision, of course). Young people love to cook and when the result is yummy, you can't get them out of the kitchen.

3. If you would like a copy of our nutrition programme, drawn up in consultation with a top RYA physiologist, please email me,, and I will send it to you.
Meantime, a message to those schools who already routinely have nutrition and/or sports activity on the school councils agenda, please would you let me know. I'd love to know about your schools.

Stephen Page

Featured School: White's Wood

whiteswoodlogo.jpgWhite's Wood Lane is a medium sized Junior School in Gainsborough, a small market town in Lincolnshire.  The school is one of only 3 schools in Lincolnshire to learn German across the whole school and has strong International Links with Jamaica and a school in Germany. It is a leading SEAL school.

Headteacher Sharron Close writes:

“White’s Wood Lane Junior School is justly proud of its school council. Last year it really went ‘the extra mile’ by going out into the local Community and visiting care homes. They took games to play with the elderly, shared mince pies at Christmas and chatted to lots of residents. This term they will be inviting residents to come and share a school meal with them. The next step is to introduce some of the residents to their computer games!

“Later in the school year, the School Council went with a neighbouring school’s council and their parents to visit a really new school in nearby Nottingham. The children came back with lots of ideas about how we could improve our school and I am very much looking forward to working with them on emailing pupils from the other school to ask them to visit us.

“Other projects they will be working on include National Takeover day on 12th November and I can’t wait to see how they choose who will be ‘Headteacher’ for the day!
“Our children say ' learning is fun'. One of the key features of our school is that everyone from the Caretaker to the School Business Manager are a strong team who all really do believe in our children. We believe that every child can achieve their potential and fill our creative curriculum with lots of extra curricular projects such as the Garden Gang and recently achieving our Bronze Award for Food for Life, working together with the kitchen to use what they grow to feed the community’

“Our children have just recently re-written their school motto - they chose 'We all achieve when we believe'.”

Sharron’s Top Tip for the success of a School Council is “to make sure that it is valued. Give them something real to do and they will always respond.”

Have you done your Government survey yet?

The independent review of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England.

Have you shared your views yet? This review has been set up to make sure that the Children’s Commissioner is really helping you. Have you heard of it? Doesn't matter – we still want to hear from you!

You can send us your opinions in two ways - using this online survey or, if you prefer, do this questionnaire which you can fill in and return to us by email or post. If you would like to interview your friends then use this interview version of the questionnaire. If you would find it easier to share your views in another way then please feel free to do so. Remember – the closing date is 4th October. 
It is very important to us to make sure that your views are heard, so thank you very much for taking part and sharing your opinions with us.

P.S. Reminder from School Council Resources

In case you haven't already had the chance, please take a moment to check out your needs for School Councils Resources this term at
Remember, new for this School Year are the 2010/11 Year Planners and the launch of the brand new, re-written and re-designed Primary School Handbooks which we anticipate will be ready for despatch after half term! Pre-order now to get yours first! Click here for more information on ever popular badges – classic quality that will do true credit to your school and be a privilege to wear plus information on hats, books, DVD's, Toolkits and so on. While you are looking, check through for all your other needs and save postage! For a fuller article on Resources, see here.