Wayne Rooney surprises Kirkby primary school with Schools 4 Health award

Published on: Friday, 04-December-2015

England football captain Wayne Rooney returned to his roots to pay a surprise visit to a primary school just up the road from his birthplace of Croxteth in Liverpool.

Wayne dropped into the whole-school assembly at St Laurence’s Catholic Primary School in Kirkby to present staff and pupils with the Knowsley Schools 4 Health Gold Award.

The Leeside Avenue school has been working in partnership with the Schools 4 Health programme, run by 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, over the last year to support their pupils to get healthy and develop a healthier culture within the school. It is the first school in Knowsley to achieve Gold Award status – the highest level of the programme.St Laurence’s pupils Amber and Alex collect the Schools 4 Health Gold Award from Wayne Rooney during the whole-school assembly.

The Gold Award is only presented to schools that can show evidence of both positive behaviour changes and sustainable cultural changes within the school community. St Laurence’s has brought in a raft of positive changes as part of the programme, such as introducing a healthy cookery programme and a wide range of after-school activities, including a family fit class where children and their parents are encouraged to get fit together and learn about the importance of healthy eating.

Children and teachers watched in stunned disbelief as Wayne walked into the hall at St Laurence’s on Thursday 3 December, with the pupils completely unaware the footballer would be joining them for the assembly.

John Cushion, Health and Wellbeing Lead at St Laurence’s, said: “We are extremely proud to have achieved the Schools 4 Health Gold Award status, which we feel is testament to the hard work and effort our staff, pupils and parents have put into developing a healthy culture here at St Laurence’s.

“We were absolutely thrilled to have Wayne join us for the presentation, not only as a positive role model for so many of our pupils but also as an ambassador for sport and physical activity, which is such an important part of the Schools 4 Health programme. We’re so grateful to him for giving up his time to come and hand over the award, and I know it meant the world to the children.”The Knowsley Schools 4 Health team with Wayne Rooney, 5 Boroughs Partnership Chairman Bernard Pilkington and Susannah Quinn from Public Health at Knowsley Council.

Wayne, who was a pupil at Our Lady and St Swithen’s Primary School in neighbouring Croxteth, said: “It’s great to see a school close to where I grew up taking the health and wellbeing of its pupils seriously.  It’s really important that youngsters are given plenty of opportunities to get active during and after the school day. St Laurence’s has done brilliantly to make this happen so quickly.”
Schools 4 Health Programme Lead Victoria Cheung said: “Schools play an important role in supporting children to lead healthy lifestyles. They can help children learn about their health and increase their motivation, allowing them to make healthier choices on their own.

“St Laurence’s is the first school in the borough to achieve Schools 4 Health Gold Award status and they’ve blown us away with their efforts to support their pupils to get healthier.

“We would normally expect a school to achieve Gold Award status within three years, so to have reached this level in less than a year is a fantastic achievement for the school, and what better way to celebrate than with a visit from a local sporting legend like Wayne?”

For more information about the Knowsley Schools 4 Health programme, visit: www.5boroughspartnership.nhs.uk/knowsley-schools-4-health. You can also visit St Laurence’s Catholic Primary School’s website at:  www.stlaurences.co.uk