STAFF at Swindon schools spoke about how they are helping children lead healthy lives after new figures revealed that one in five primary school leavers in the town are obese.

Extra-curricular exercises and healthy eating programmes have been put in place to tackle childhood obesity and encourage pupils to keep fit and active.

NHS statistics revealed a record high in obese and overweight 10 and 11-year-olds across England for the fourth year in a row.

Drove Primary School sports coach Kelly Reynolds said: “These figures were not a surprise to us.

“We have a lot going on in Drove to tackle the issue, it’s high on our agenda, and we work with pupils who are overweight as well as pupils who are not but need extra physical development.

“Sometimes people are reluctant at first but are then really pleased with their progress, it has a big impact and we see great results from our activities.

“A few of the parents join in to encourage the children and it benefits multiple generations, which is really rewarding to see and they really take our advice on board.

“Our three sports coaches start off every morning at 8am with high-intensity work out sessions and games like dodgeball which pupils can join before they go to classes.

“There’s also a running club for beginners which ends the year by taking part in Race For Life. That really boosts their confidence and enjoyment of exercise.

“Hopefully they carry on these good habits in secondary school.”

Westlea Primary School was the first school in Swindon to win the Healthy School Gold Award and went on to win it twice more.

Headteacher Sarah Summer said: “We champion local suppliers and most of the school menu is made from raw ingredients.

I organised a cooking on budget workshop for parents and children and we organised parent and child wellbeing sessions, led by the family support worker.

“We want to encourage the children to eat a hot meal every day. Every Thursday is a roast dinner and this is the only menu choice, to encourage the children to eat more vegetables.

“We have a meat-free day at least once a fortnight. We offer a selection of free after school sports clubs, which are open to children from Year 1 upwards.

“The children complete a daily mile challenge where every class completes a set number of playground laps each day.

Data from NHS Digital showed that 19 per cent of Year 6 pupils in the town over the last year were obese – and an additional 15 per cent were classed as overweight.