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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 107

Date:- 12 July 2003

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Liverpool schools are the
'healthiest in Britain'

LIVERPOOL kids are the healthiest in Britain or they very soon will be as more and more schools in Liverpool are being awarded the illustrious Healthy Schools award than anywhere else in Britain. 

Another 20 schools in the city were presented with the national Healthy Schools kitemark for achieving the best standards in health education. Since the scheme was introduced by the Department for Education and Science five years ago, a total of 178 schools in the city have been given the full award, 11 have been given a partial award and a further 23 schools are working towards full accreditation.

The city council's executive member for education, Councillor Paul Clein, who will present the awards at a special ceremony tonight, said, "Parents and teachers are becoming alarmed at the unhealthy state of children today. Junk food, stuck in front of computers for hours, lack of exercise and increasing obesity among young people is reaching worrying levels. 

That is why our Healthy Schools Awards are more important than ever. Good quality education to look after your health is vital. Parents as well as schools must tackle the high levels of poor health and fitness among young people. If not, we are facing a massive heath crisis in years to come. It's as serious as that.

I'm pleased schools in Liverpool are leading the country in this crucial area. There's little point in giving our children a first class education if they cannot enjoy the benefits that will bring because they are dogged by ill health and even disability in later life."

The Healthy Schools Award is given to schools who have met tough targets in nine areas of health education, including exercise, health and diet. Schools also have to provide lessons on drugs 

Schools have to pass stringent heath and safety and first aid tests and its school meals have to be balanced, healthy and nutritious. A panel of health experts assesses each school before making the award.

Colin Hilton, executive director of education, said:- "I would like to congratulate all schools for taking part in this vital scheme. They have worked extremely hard to put Liverpool at the top of the Healthy Schools league table. Our teachers are under constant pressure to cram more and more into the curriculum, but this is an important area that needs to be addressed by all schools."

Councillor Clein presented certificates and trophies to the latest Liverpool schools awarded the Healthy Schools status at a special ceremony at the city's Palm House in Sefton Park on July 10.

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EXCUSES for getting out of facing yet another boring meeting or conferences are becoming more common, and more imaginative - Particularly among men, according to a recent poll carried out on behalf of National Meetings week.

Research reveals how prevalent and widespread what is now seen as 'justified' skiving has become. The proportion of meetings organisers who think that at least a third or more of their delegates have told tall stories to get out of attendance is 61%. This total includes 18% who think that at least two-thirds of delegates persistently make excuses. The more meetings that people are required to go to, the higher is the incidence of occupational 'fibbing'. 

At least half of participants try to find reasons not to go to between three and five of the external meetings they ought to attend each year. However, this is no ordinary phenomena, as often is the case with such schemata; it shows a behaviour that is prevalent through other parts of life. Evidence shows that this added pressure in the workplace however, only appears to increase the imagination for excuses and avoidance.

A large majority (80%) of planners think such meetings evasion is on the increase, and 72% believe men are the worst culprits. Explanations for non-attendance are also becoming more creative. 

Examples include "a blackbird is nesting in my car and the eggs are about to hatch"; "my chauffeur has just quit"; "I suffer from pregnancy forgetfulness hormones", and "my cat hid the car keys". To excuse their noticeable lateness, the participants use explanations including "it's quicker to get to France than north London"; and "I'm acting as 'phone-a-friend' on Who Wants to be a Millionaire".

Humorous maybe, but the most curious excuse arose from a man who claimed to have a fear of confined spaces so he would not attend an event in a room with more than five chairs, regardless of how large the conference room is. Another unusual reason submitted by a woman was that she had to perform her conjugal services for her husband at 5am and then fell asleep.

Ideas for encouraging people to attend the meetings that they should range from offering a bonus or some other incentive for being there, and non-refundable pre-paid fees, to running meetings rigidly to a stop-clock, plus the guarantee of good speakers and the promise of something new to be heard. Other recommendations are to serve cappuccinos at 9am, provide better lunches, reduce the length of meetings, and to start the event with a lively session of jazz.

Commendable solutions, but National Meetings Week co-ordinator, Martin Lewis stressed, "the collective goal of industry must be to ensure that meetings are perceived to be 'wish to attend' rather than 'seek to avoid' events"

With thanks to Charlotte Martins form For National Meetings Week.


Southport Reporter is a registered Trade Mark.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2003.