Primary School Obesity

Schools should stop telling parents how to raise their children, Ofsted report says.

There is no evidence to suggest that teachers’ attempts to “influence” parents makes children healthier.

Schools should stop telling parents how to raise their children and focus on cooking lessons and PE to tackle obesity, an Ofsted report has found.

There is no evidence to suggest that teachers’ attempts to “influence” parents makes children healthier, according to the schools watchdog.

Inspectors visited 60 primary schools around the country as part of a study into whether school are having an impact on levels of childhood obesity.

The report concluded that schools should concentrate on improving existing provision such as cooking lessons and PE. Teachers should not waste time on endeavours that  go “beyond their core educational role” as this may lead to “unintended consequences”, the report warned.

“How much workload is being created in planning and delivering events around health that parents struggle to attend?” the report said.

“One of the most striking things from the evidence given to us by schools is how much effort is being put into activities designed to influence parents without any evidence that they either have an impact or are what parents want.”

The report does say that parents want to see more time in the curriculum for cooking lessons and PE.

Parents most commonly said that cooking activities during the school day (28%of parents) and lessons about healthy eating (32%) were the ways in which pupils were taught about healthy eating. Unfortunately only (26%) of children are actually offered the activity "Cooking".

Amanda Spielman, Ofsted’s chief inspector, said that schools cannot provide a "silver bullet" to tackle childhood obesity.

Schools can help encourage cooking, healthy lifestyles and exercise as part of the curriculum, but they must not be expected to address all aspects of the problem, she said.

The Ofsted report comes just weeks after the Government published the second chapter of its childhood obesity strategy, which called for a united effort to halve childhood obesity by 2030.

It warns schools focusing on activities other than curriculum education, may fail to improve health, help children lose weight or teach them what they need to know.

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