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St Joseph's R.C. Primary School

Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes - National Quality Award


Congratulations on achieving the Welsh Network of Healthy School Schemes National Quality Award. We are pleased to confirm that St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School has demonstrated meeting all the criteria of the National Quality Award. These criteria are set out against 7 health topics which are shown below.

Schools that achieve the NQA are implementing wellbeing initiatives at the very highest level. In this report we highlight the particular strengths of your school’s approach to promoting the wellbeing of everyone connected with the school. This report also identifies areas for continued development and consideration. We hope that the report is both an encouragement and a useful guide as pupils and staff at St Joseph’s seek to maintain and extend the excellent approach and embed it even further into school life.

NQA Criteria

  1. Food and fitness (nutrition and physical activity)
  2. Mental and emotional health and wellbeing, including staff wellbeing
  3. Personal development and relationships, including sex and relationships education
  4. Substance use and misuse, including alcohol, smoking, and drugs (legal, illegal, and prescription). l
  5. Environment, including eco-initiatives and improving the school and wider environment
  6. Safety, including a variety of topics such as child protection, sun safety, internet safety, and first aid
  7. Hygiene including across school and non-school settings

The criteria are supported by a number of underlying principles, namely:

  • The importance of pupil participation in core areas of school life which directly affect the health and wellbeing of children and young people e.g., teaching and learning, environment, pastoral care
  • The importance of the understanding and commitment to action of the whole school community
  • The existence of a positive approach to health
  • Equality

Wendy Ostler

Summary of Visit

It was a pleasure to be involved in the achievement visit for the National Quality Award and witness the variety of work undertaken by the school on its healthy schools journey. The school environment is very welcoming and the healthy school ethos is central to everything and was highly evident throughout the school. The staff, governors, pupils and parents of the school are justifiably proud of this. The school has achieved an impressive array of awards which complement aspects of Healthy Schools including: the third Eco Schools green flag, the silver award for Rights Respecting Schools and the highest Fairtrade Schools award. The    electronic evidence provided in advance of our assessment visit, gave us a clear idea of the procedures and policies which are in place to promote the health and wellbeing of the school community. However it was during our visit that we felt that we came to know the heart of the school and experience how the seven aspects of the Healthy Schools Scheme are promoted in the daily life of the school.

 We were warmly welcomed by the Headteacher, a governor representative, the in-school Healthy Schools Coordinators, staff leading on different aspects of the scheme and pupil representatives from: Minnie Vinnies, the Healthy Schools Action Group, the Eco committee, the Digital leaders, the Friendly Solvers and the Senedd

Teamwork is a key feature of the approach to wellbeing and both staff and parents are enthusiastic about developing pupils’ health and wellbeing. School policies are regularly reviewed, which is effective in maintaining good practice, ensuring all aspects are relevant and up to date.

Communication is an outstanding key feature of the school with Healthy Schools messages conveyed regularly to parents through the schools google app and twitter. The parent representatives we met were well informed about the school’s commitment to health and wellbeing and particularly appreciated: the open door policy which enables staff to ‘nip problems in the bud’, the children’s active involvement, eg the recent letter to promote healthy lunchboxes, the school’s endeavours to maintain contact with every family during the Covid lockdowns and the family atmosphere the school creates.

Learner evidence and schemes of work show that all aspects of Healthy Schools are embedded in the curriculum across all phases and that the school has risen to the challenges of undertaking the new curriculum in September 2022.

The school takes every opportunity to ensure the indoor and outdoor environment promotes health and wellbeing and it is hard to believe that the school is sandwiched between two busy roads.  The outdoor area includes reading shelters which enable the children to have quiet time to reflect, outdoor classrooms , a new assault course to develop physical skills and a beautiful Forest School’s area. No litter was evident, and the school was clean throughout. Displays in corridors and classrooms are colourful, stimulating and reinforce key health and wellbeing messages and information on key aspects of safety as well as promoting the school’s core values through a focus on the virtues and a series of inspirational quotes chosen by teachers.

The school participates in a variety of initiatives which support aspects of Healthy Schools e.g.: Forest Schools, the Daily Mile, Thrive, EcoSchools and Fairtrade Schools.

Pupil voice at St Joseph’s is at the heart of school life. Minnie Vinnies, the Eco Committee, Criw Cymraeg, Digital leaders, Friendly Solvers and The Healthy Schools Action group feed into the Senedd, ensuring that learners can make a meaningful contribution to their school and the local and global community. During our visit we met with a variety of school groups who spoke passionately and eloquently about the ways that their school is a healthy school. We also benefited greatly from the school tour, expertly undertaken by Bill, Orla, Max, Melvia and Isla.


Highlights of the visit

The school has many areas of good practice. It is not possible to name them all in such a restricted report. These are the areas that particularly stood out.


Mental and Emotional Health and Wellbeing (MEHWB)

The wellbeing of pupils and staff is an exemplary feature of the school, it is led by the Headteacher, well-coordinated and extends throughout the school and its community.


Specific highlights include:

  • A very strong focus on pupil voice with pupils active in a range of action groups which feed into the Senedd. All pupils can offer suggestions through the suggestion boxes, which are checked regularly. All ideas are discussed and feedback provided to pupils.


  • Pupils needs are identified through the PASS survey as well as teachers observations  and there are an effective range of interventions to address pupil Emotional Health and Wellbeing, such as: Thrive, targeted after school clubs, Rainbow Readers and the Rainbow bereavement programme. The fact that all areas of the PASS survey were green and there were no surprises is a testament to the staff’s diligence in seeking out the children and families who may need extra help.


  • Staff health and wellbeing is supported with a well-equipped staff room area and a good support system with regular social activities.


  • Children’s rights are promoted through Rights Respecting Schools, themed assemblies, individual class charters and displays. Children had a good understanding of the difference between equity and equality, the factors which work against children’s rights and how they can make a difference locally and globally.


Personal Development and Relationships

Relationship education is delivered successfully within the school and evidenced through our meeting with Mrs Houston,  the schemes of work and examples of pupil work. The school follows the diocesan policy and ensures that programmes are underpinned by the virtues of: love, respect, tolerance and compassion.


Highlights include:

  • Respectful relationships with pupils and staff and pupil to pupil, which were observed throughout our visit .
  • The effective use of a wide range of resources to deliver a curriculum which ensures that pupils have the knowledge and skills to keep themselves safe, the tools to manage the changes which occur at puberty, an understanding and respect for difference and diversity and an age appropriate understanding of the human reproductive system.
  • Parents Evenings are held to explain the Personal Development and Relationships curriculum and the parents we met were very supportive of the curriculum.
  • The school actively promotes period dignity, ensuring sanitary towels are available in pupils’ toilets and providing additional supplies for pupils to take home.


Food and Fitness


Highlights include:

  • Encouraging healthy eating through a breakfast club, targeting pupils entitled to free school meals and pupils with additional needs, the positive promotion of fruit only break times, guidance to parents in the school handbook and the provision of free school meals to all reception children (which will increase to all Foundation Phase pupils next term).
  • The enthusiasm of the Healthy schools Action group and their ‘snack spies’ – writing to parents, encouraging and rewarding children who make healthy choices and contacting local shops for support.
  • The provision of outdoor areas which promote active play, with playground markings, a new assault course and timetabled football for every class.
  • Participation in local and national initiatives eg: the Daily Mile, Walk to School Week, Bike to School Week, Food Standards Agency workshops and a visit to Glamorgan Cricket Club.


Substance Use and Misuse

All policies and robust schemes of work are in place, Minimum standards are met regarding no smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes clearly banned on school grounds.


Highlights include:

  • Schemes of work, followed by all staff identify areas for each year group and pupils’ work includes the effects of smoking and alcohol on the body.
  • The All-Wales Police Liaison Officer PC Rhys Cadwallader provides lessons across all year groups on specific topics, which are then further developed by staff in lessons. Staff, pupils and parents spoke highly of PC Rhys which shows he clearly makes an impact.
  • Year 6 pupils attend the annual Crucial Crew presentations.



All hygiene policies conform to current regulations and all minimum standards are met.


Highlights include:

  • Water bottles are taken home to be washed and refilled daily and water is available in all classrooms.
  • Posters on hand-washing are clearly displayed in the toilets, information on the flu Vaccine is provided at the school entrance, hand sanitisers are provided and visitors reminded to use them and Catch it, Bin it, Kill it posters are prominently displayed.
  • Partnership working with Designed to Smile promotes oral hygiene - the scheme has recently resumed post Covid.
  • Schemes of work and pupil work evidence coverage of hygiene issues in the curriculum e.g. handwashing, oral hygiene and personal hygiene.



A high priority is given to the safety of pupils, staff and visitors in the school. 


Highlights include:

  • School gates and doors are locked and codes required to enter the school site. Visitors sign in digitally and are given information on child protection.
  • The work of the Friendly Solvers who have clear protocols in place to ensure that every child feels safe and happy at break times.
  • Internet safety is addressed in an effective manner, with Mr McHugh supported by the Digital  Leaders, ensuring that pupils have a good understanding of how the internet works and how to enjoy using IT whilst protecting themselves.
  • Effective partnership with  outside agencies– eg  the All Wales Police Liaison Officer, the Fire Service and Crucial Crew.
  • Messages on Sun Safety are provided to parents and there are ample shaded areas around the school.
  • The school has a number of qualified First Aiders.




 Highlights include:

  • The school has a very active Eco Action Group and has achieved the 3rd Green Flag for  EcoSchools.
  • The school benefits from well designed school grounds, which are litter free (due to the great work of the litter squad) and well maintained with a range of play equipment.
  • The involvement in Fairtrade schools and Minnie Vinnies initiatives promotes global understanding.
  • Every class has timetabled sessions in the Forest Schools area.



Areas for further consideration


  1. It would be good to see the action groups develop pupil friendly and age-appropriate versions of key policies to display in classrooms.
  2. The school is undertaking such good work on environmental issues, it would be good to see the school achieve its Platinum Award.
  3. Similarly the Rights Respecting School initiative throughout the school is highly developed and it would be great to see the school achieve the Gold Award.
  4. The excellent systems of support for staff are not currently reflected in the staff handbook, which focuses on expectations and responsibilities. Whilst information is available in the staffroom perhaps you could consider including information in the handbook.
  5. The RSE policy is a diocesan policy which covers schools in England as well as Wales. As the statutory guidance is different in some key aspects it would be good to provide a summary of the key points for Welsh schools e.g. the statutory elements of the curriculum and the fact that parents no longer have the right to withdraw their children from RSE.
  6. Update the Food and Fitness policy, when the new county template is developed.
  7. Reinstate 2 sessions of PE per week for every class in addition to the Daily Mile.



Feedback to pupils

Dear pupils of St Joseph’s school

It was such a delight to visit your lovely school and to see the wonderful things that you and your teachers are doing to keep you healthy and well.

I would like to thank Bill, Orla, Max, Melvia and Isla for taking us on the tour of the school. You were highly informative, so enthusiastic, explained things so well and answered all our questions and showed us how proud you are of your school.

We would also like to thank  members of the Senedd, the Healthy Schools Action Group, the Eco Group, The Digital Leaders, The Friendly Solvers and the Minnie Vinnies for the wonderful presentations on how you help to make St Joseph’s such a healthy happy and kind community and how you take your work beyond the school to support children who do not have the same advantages as you, across the world.

You have a really good understanding of your roles and responsibilities and you make sure that you listen to the ideas of all your fellow pupils.

Thank you for making our visit so special. You are wonderful ambassadors for your school and your community.


Wendy Ostler & Carin Quinn

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