Virtual Schoolbag (VSB)

21 Jan 2019
Business managers, bursars and secretaries, governors, headteachers, ict technicians, pastoral care leaders, sencos, teachers and teaching assistants of all primary, special, all-through schools
For information
Take your pupils on an adventure in Sugar Smart World!

As part of the latest Change4Life nutrition campaign, this article provides details on how schools can use new Sugar Smart World resources to support pupils to discover how much sugar is in their food/drink, and to make healthier sugar swaps.

While children’s sugar intake has declined slightly in recent years, children in England are still consuming around 8 excess sugar cubes each day; equivalent to around 2,800 excess sugar cubes per year!

Too much sugar is bad for children’s health as it can lead to the build-up of harmful fat on the inside that we can't see. This fat can cause weight gain and serious diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Too much sugar can also cause painful tooth decay. Most of the sugar children are having comes from sugary drinks, confectionery, biscuits, cakes, desserts, higher-sugar breakfast cereals and higher-sugar yoghurts.

To help parents manage this, Change4Life has launched a new campaign this January to encourage families to ‘make a swap when you next shop’.

Change4Life is showing families how easy it is to cut back on sugar by making a few simple swaps to their everyday food and drinks. Campaign partners will also be highlighting healthier options in-store and in their own advertising and many will be using a new Change4Life ‘good choice’ badge to make it even easier for families to make healthier choices.  

As part of the campaign, participating primary schools will also receive a free take-home pack for their pupils during January. The pack takes children on an ‘Adventure in Sugar Smart World’ and features fun games and stickers to get children to spot the higher-sugar food and drinks and choose healthier swaps. Further details are outlined below.

How can I support my pupils to make healthier sugar swaps?

Helping your pupils discover how much sugar is in their food and drink, and how they can make healthier sugar swaps has never been easier - simply visit the School Zone, and download the ‘Sugar Smart World’ curriculum-linked resources. These include:

  • Key Stage 1 and 2 English lesson PowerPoints and worksheets. These lesson plans will support pupils' literacy skills, including phonics, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, and creative and persuasive writing – all while exploring how much sugar is in our everyday food and drink. Pupils can then create a poster, comic strip or persuasive letter to share what they've learned.
  • Key Stage 1 and 2 Maths lesson PowerPoints and worksheets. These interactive PowerPoints will encourage pupils to practise maths skills such as addition, subtraction, division and multiplication, through exploring how much sugar is in everyday food and drink, and learning about healthier swaps.
  • Early Years lesson PowerPoint. This simple, engaging PowerPoint lesson will get early years pupils thinking about how much sugar is in their food and learning about some healthier swaps they'll love.

You could also:

  • Encourage all staff to sign up to access the School Zone newsletter
  • Incorporate ‘Sugar Smart World’ activities within your whole-school health improvement action plan or PSHE schemes of work.
  • Where relevant, utilise your school’s Year 6 Health Related Behaviour Survey findings to better understand your pupil’s current eating habits and to inform the particular sugar swaps you may wish to discuss with your school community.
  • Access additional healthy eating resources to support your work through the East Sussex County Council health promotion resources webpages. By signing up, you will be able to access a range of leaflets and posters, teaching aids and online material (across a variety of health promotion topics) for free.

Beyond the classroom:

  • Sugar Smart Word Take Home Pack: As part of the campaign, all primary schools participating in the School Fruit and Veg Scheme (SFVS) will receive a free take home activity pack for their pupils around mid-January. This pack takes children on an ‘Adventure in Sugar Smart World’ and features fun games and stickers to get children to spot the higher-sugar food and drinks and choose healthier swaps. It also provides easy tips on everyday sugar swaps for the whole family.
  • Create a Sugar Smart World display board for your school! It's a great way to feature pupils' persuasive posters, comics and letters, and show parents the healthier swaps their children are learning about. Display Board Print Outs are available to download from the School Zone.
  • Recipe Idea print outs: Looking for easy, healthy recipes to make with pupils and send home to parents? Download these printable Change4Life recipe ideas for tasty options from around the world that will please pupils of all ages.
  • Use your Parent Mail, website, newsletter and social media to encourage families to look for the Change4Life ‘Good Choice’ badge in shops, download the free Food Scanner app or search Change4Life to help them find lower sugar options.

Not part of the SFVS?

If you’re not part of the SFVS, you can order your ‘Sugar Smart Word Take Home Pack from the School Zone from February 2019.


Nicola Blake
Nicola Blake
Health Improvement Specialist - Children, Schools and Families

Phone: 01273 335060