health for life

To see what type of work schools do and the impact of the programme, please watch the short video above. To see videos from previous years please click here.

The Health for Life programme promotes an ethos and environment which encourages a proactive approach to developing a healthy lifestyle.

We focus on growing food, healthy eating and cooking, physical activity and try to involve families as much as possible in the process. See the tabs on the left hand side to find out more about these objectives.

Education Advisers will work with you to use the curriculum to embed an understanding of how to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

The Health For Life Programme:

  • Won the national award from FDF in Health and Well-being
  • Featured at the International Symposium on Healthy Lifestyles, Granada 2013 & Chicago 2016
  • Won the Regional Big Tick for Developing Sustainable Communities (twice)
  • Was shortlisted as a finalist in two national Health and Wellbeing awards.

By working with lots of schools we are able to share good practice and give you lots of ideas and support. Find out which schools have taken part so far, here.

Check to see if you are one of the schools invited to join the Health for Life programme for the academic year 2022/23…

Schools in postcodes B6, B7 & B19
Aston Tower Community Primary School B6 
Birchfield Primary School B6 
Manor Park Primary Academy B6 
Mansfield Green E-ACT Primary Academy B6 
Prince Albert Junior and Infant School B6 
Cromwell Junior and Infant School B7 
St Clement’s Church of England Academy B7 
Anglesey Primary School B19
Lozells Junior and Infant School and Nursery B19
St Chad’s Catholic Primary School B19
St George’s Church of England Academy, Newtown B19
Schools in postcodes B20 & B21
Canterbury Cross Primary School B20
Grestone Academy B20
Holy Trinity CE Primary Academy (Handsworth) B20
Sacred Heart Catholic School B20
St Marys C of E Primary and Nursery, Academy, Handsworth B20
St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School B20
Welford Primary School B20
Westminster Primary School B20
Grove School B21
James Watt Primary School B21
Nishkam Primary School Birmingham B21
Rookery School B21
St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School B21
St James Church of England Primary School, Handsworth B21
Wattville Primary School B21
William Murdoch Primary School B21
Schools in postcodes B23, B36 & B42
Brookvale Primary School B23
Featherstone Primary School B23
Marsh Hill Primary School B23
Oasis Academy Short Heath B23
Slade Primary School B23
St Margaret Mary RC Junior and Infant School B23
St Mary and St John Junior and Infant School B23
Castle Bromwich Infant and Nursery School B36
Castle Bromwich Junior School B36
Firs Primary School B36
Hodge Hill Primary School B36
Smith’s Wood Primary Academy B36
St John the Baptist Catholic Primary School B36
St Mary and St Margaret’s Church of England Aided Primary School B36
St Wilfrid’s Catholic Junior and Infant School B36
Tame Valley Academy B36
Beeches Infant School B42
Beeches Junior School B42
Calshot Primary School B42
Dorrington Academy B42
St Mark’s Catholic Primary School B42
Schools in postcodes B72, B73, B75 & B76
Holland House Infant School and Nursery B72
Maney Hill Primary School B72
Penns Primary School B72
Town Junior School B72
Boldmere Infant School and Nursery B73
New Oscott Primary School B73
St Nicholas Catholic Primary School B73
Wylde Green Primary School B73
Coppice Primary School B75
Hollyfield Primary School B75
Little Sutton Primary School B75
Mere Green Primary School B75
New Hall Primary School B75
St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School B75
Whitehouse Common Primary School B75
Curdworth Primary School B76
Holy Cross Catholic Primary School B76
Minworth Junior and Infant School B76
The Deanery Church of England Primary School B76
Walmley Infant School B76
Walmley Junior School B76

If so, come along to the briefing to learn all about what the programme entails, the funding grant you will receive and how you can build HfL into your curriculum to benefit your pupils and staff in an exciting and dynamic way.

Book Your Places Now

Picture of some children holding up vegetables they've grown as part of Health For LifeThe objective is to engage pupils in growing food to increase their knowledge and understanding of its links with a healthy lifestyle.
Example Activities:
  • Create or extend a school garden for growing fruit and/or vegetables. Can also look at sustainability such as saving seeds; rotating  crops; harvesting rainwater; using school-produced compost, wormeries
  • Use allotments for growing fruit and/or vegetables
  • Fruit and vegetable growing in containers such as hanging baskets, troughs, ‘funny’ containers
  • Planting fruit trees
  • Build raised beds
  • Build greenhouse
Two children and a teacher taking part in a Health For Life practical, chopping up foodThe objective is to make a measurable improvement in the diet of school children through cooking and healthy eating activities.
Example Activities
  • Development of a recipe book for use in schools and at home
  • Making healthy soups, drinks, picnics snack foods
  • Cooking competitions between schools (with focus on healthy eating)
  • Practical cooking lessons (with focus on healthy eating) with pupils
  • Practical lessons on cooking through the ages (with focus on healthy eating)
Kids playing outside on a climbing frame with ropes.The objective is to make a measurable increase in the amount of regular physical activity of pupils in order to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Example Activities:
  • Active play in school grounds
  • Play leader training (and implementation) for pupils
  • Cycle training – Bikeability, Bike it
  • Walk to school/scooter to school
  • Build bike/scooter racks
Picture of a mum and child filling out Health For Life booklets.The objective is to actively involve parents and families in promoting and adopting healthy, active lifestyles.
Example Activities
  • Inspire workshops e.g. build-a-kite workshop
  • Use of parent partnership workers
  • Sharing of information through letters/emails/school website
  • Train as walk leaders
  • Family bike rides/family picnics
  • Sending recipe home to cook as part of homework
  • Sending seedlings home to grow at home
Picture of two health for life delegates cutting up food for a Health For Life practicalDuring the Autumn and Spring term there are four courses to be attended by an appropriate member of staff from each school.
Courses are on:
  • Growing food
  • Physical activity
  • Healthy eating/cooking skills
  • Food safety qualification

Picture of some children smiling with their thumbs up at a health for life eventOn average only 12 schools are selected each year to take part in the Health for Life in Primary schools programme in order to ensure that each school has a sufficient level of support.

Therefore what we require from each school joining the programme is a level of commitment because if a school drops-out halfway through the programme their place can’t be offered to another school.

Selected schools will take part in the programme for a period of four terms.  During this time they will receive support to plan and implement the programme to suit their particular circumstances.

Services For Education recruits schools in the summer term in order to start the programme the following September. Information is sent out by email, post and ebriefing to eligible schools.

Autumn Term

With the help of a Services For Education Adviser you will

  • Ascertain starting points and record
  • Get children involved to review current practice
  • Complete on-line baseline surveys with pupils
  • Complete a baseline audit of school practice
  • Identify barriers and factors that hinder progress
  • Develop ideas that will promote change
  • Nominate a member of staff to attend the two funded training days
  • Prepare an Action Plan that will structure and keep track of resources required, jobs and dates for completion, success criteria
  • By the start of December submit your action plan to steering group for approval – this will trigger the first part of the grant (£3,500 to be paid in two stages)

Spring Term 

With the help of your Services For Education Adviser you will

  • Start to implement your Action Plan
  • Nominate a member of staff to attend two funded training days
  • Engage the whole school community in progress and change
  • Address all strands in a way to encourage engagement
  • Collect evidence of impact (ongoing)

Summer term

With the help of your Services For Education Adviser you will

  • Continue with implementing your Action Plan
  • Attend the celebration event in June to help share good ideas (compulsory)
  • Take part in BBC Gardeners’ world wheelbarrow event (optional)
  • Continue to engage the whole school community in progress and change
  • Continue to address all strands in a way to encourage engagement
  • Collect evidence of impact (ongoing)

Autumn term

With the help of your Services For Education Adviser you will

  • Continue with implementing your Action Plan
  • Continue to engage the whole school community in progress and change
  • Continue to address all strands in a way to encourage engagement
  • Take part in the ‘Cookathon’ (optional)
  • Collect evidence of impact (ongoing)
  • Repeat the on-line surveys with pupils
  • Repeat the school audit
  • Collate evidence of impact

Spring term

  • Continue with sustainable activities in your Action Plan
  • Attend Awards ceremony
Group of children meeting the mayor at a Health For Life eventA Celebration Event is held half way through implementation phase – so in June – and is a way to share good ideas; motivate you all to continue and showcase the programme to VIPs – the Lord Mayor, MPs, people from Local Authority, Public Health and the next cohort of schools.
At the end of the implementation phase there is an Awards Ceremony in the Banqueting Suite to celebrate and recognise the work that you have all done.
We invite 2 members of staff and up to 4 children to each event to showcase what they’ve done that they are proud of.

Little girl holding up a large teapot with plants growing in it. The Health For Life competitions at BBC Gardeners’ World Live are an exceptionally popular annual feature at the show.

School Children can show off their creative flair, working as a team, with the satisfaction of seeing their final creations on display at the show, enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors.

This competition is a simple, hands-on and fun gardening activity that can be enjoyed by pupils of all levels. The children will need to nurture and care for their plants, so that they grow and thrive in their container.

  • The School Wheelbarrow Competition. School groups are encouraged to look at flora and fauna, garden styles, national heritage, architecture, cuisine and cultures from around the world, ultimately picking one country to be the inspiration behind the design and planting of their wheelbarrow.
    Download our factsheet here.

Apply for the School Wheelbarrow Competition Here.

  • Useful Planters Competition – Early Year Foundation Stage. The Useful Planters Competition is a gardening competition for Early Years nurseries, pre-school settings and reception classes. This competition is a simple and fun gardening activity devised to complement the EYFS Statutory Framework. As well as the planting activity, the children will need to nurture and care for their plants for them to grow and thrive in their containers.
    Download the factsheet here.

Apply for the Useful Planters Competition Here.

What is the Health for Life Cookathon?

The Health for Life Cookathon is a chance to celebrate winter cooking by making some delicious soup and sharing it out with others.

You may wish to share your soup with the rest of your school or group, or hold a big event and share the soup with family, friends and other members of your local community.

After your event, we would love you to share your pictures and stories with us so we can see what you got up to.

Please tweet your photos and use #hflcookathon so we can see what you’re doing and tag us in @SFE_SS 

On this page you’ll find lots of resources and activities to help you make Cookathon extra special.

Who can take part?

Any schools can take part.

Why should you take part?

We are very proud to have such an amazing community of schools across Birmingham as part of the Health for Life programme. We see the Cookathon as a chance to celebrate all your good work and do something together.

You can also use the Cookathon to: 

  • Create or strengthen links with parents and families (if you invite them in to share the soup)
  • Promote your school to the rest of your school, group or community
  • Use our resources to help plan for your event and help you with what to do afterwards
  • Promote healthy eating to others


Our Cookathon – 2020

The 2020 Cookathon took place on Tuesday 11th February 2020. You can use our video and printable resources.


Download Glynn Purnell’s Winter Vegetable Soup recipe here.



How do I make the soup?

There is a step-by-step film on our website of Glynn Purnell cooking the soup. So if you watch the film it will show you how easy it is to make soup.

You can also download the recipe, equipment and ingredient list which you can then use or adapt, if you wish, to suit your school.

Where should we do the cooking?

Schools vary enormously in the facilities they have – some schools have a classroom just for cooking, other schools will have portable cooking equipment that goes from class to class. It is up to you where it is best to do the cooking – we don’t mind so long as it is safe for the pupils and also that they have fun doing it.

How many children should I involve?

It would be great for as many children as possible to be involved. You could have several classes either cooking at the same time or over the school day – it’s entirely up to.

Or you could have some children cooking the soup whilst other children make some bread to eat with the soup.

And if you are inviting in parents or other people you could have some children write the invitations, act as waiters/waitresses serving the soup.

Do we need to do a separate risk assessment?

When cooking in schools you do need to do a risk assessment ahead of the event. As part of the risk assessment you would need to check on food allergies of any guests that you might invite in for the soup sharing.

Our Cookathon – 2018

On 23rd October, our Health For Life schools took part in a cookathon to promote healthy living. The cooking is demonstrated by award winning chef Marcus Bean. You can watch the video and download the recipes, below.

Download our Root Vegetable Recipe here.

And the Homemade Bread Recipe here.

For more information contact us here or call us on 0121 366 9950.

Accreditations and Partnerships:

The programme supports Change4Life and offers a range of opportunities to encourage families towards leading healthier lifestyles and works in partnership with Life Education Centres, Birmingham Adult Education Service, Sport Birmingham, Run Birmingham, Let’s Get Cooking, Grow to Learn, the Conservation Volunteers and more

Mondelez International logo

The programme is funded by Mondelēz International. Health for Life is delivered in Primary and Nursery schools by Services for Education and the community programme is delivered by The Conservation Trust.


“In less than 12 months of running the Health for Life programme, we’ve exceeded everything we hoped to achieve. It’s brought a whole community spirit back into school.”
– Teacher, Lakey Lane Primary

“In light of the statistics, it’s so important that children are educated on the importance of being active and eating healthily now more than ever. The Health for Life programme effectively engages young people in a fun and educational way.”
– Dr Adrian Phillips, Director of Public Health, Birmingham

“You feel really proud that you’ve helped to grow the foods that you’re eating.”  – Y5 pupil

“Health for Life has a really beneficial impact on the life of the school. This learning will stay with our children for the rest of their lives and hopefully they will build on what they’ve started here and it will be something that really will be health for life.”
– Teacher, Sladefield Infants School

The main documents that you will need through the course of the Health for Life programme can be downloaded by clicking on the links below.

Primary Schools:

Nursery Schools:

Page Last Modified:  12/05/2022 15:28