Oxfordshire County Council: proactive targeting of schools

Oxfordshire County Council’s public health team has joined forces with the local sports partnership, ‘Active Oxfordshire’, to help target schools that may need a little extra support. This case study forms part of our resource on the National Child Measurement Programme.

Active Oxfordshire run a well-established school games movement. Last year over 90 per cent of primary schools took part in the year-round event. Together they have combined data from the NCMP and the school games and cross-referenced that with other information to identify the schools that could benefit.

The other sources of data include researching what schools were doing with the PE and sport premium and the healthy pupils capital fund, a pot paid for through the sugar levy which can be used for things such as improvements to kitchens and dining facilities, playgrounds and smaller scale projects to increase mental wellbeing.

Figures on which schools received targeted healthy weight promotion sessions delivered by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, the provider of NCMP, were also included. Those schools that have high rates of obesity and are not active in the other areas are being supported. Since the work started in spring 2018, around one in 10 primary schools in the county have been identified as falling into this category.

Health Improvement practitioner Sal Culmer said: “We realised we had all this data to hand and thought if we combined it all it would give us a rich picture of how schools could benefit. There was quite a bit of work to do to combine the datasets. We set up a shared file that we could both work from, but we got there in the end.”

A conference for Primary School PE leads was held by Active Oxfordshire in November at which the schools identified in the analysis were subtly approached and options discussed. The opportunity was also used to explore what other strategies they may have in place. For schools not already involved in the School Games, this was promoted. Suggestions were also made for how to use the PE and sports premium and the healthy pupils capital project.

The WOW project, delivered by walking charity Living Streets and initially funded by public health, to encourage walking to school was pushed as well. Currently 19 schools have signed up and data from them show it has increased active travel by a third.

Ms Culmer said: “None of these will tackle obesity on their own, but we believe as part of a whole systems approach to healthy weight, they are useful in in creating a cultural shift towards everyday activity.”

Contact details
Sal Culmer Health
Improvement Practitioner
Oxfordshire County Council

This case study was produced jointly with Public Health England (PHE). For more information about the NCMP and current guidance from PHE on how the programme should be operated by local authorities, in line with the relevant legislation and best practice, go to: NCMP Operational Guidance.