Top 10 shortlist for

Supporting Healthy Lives

Discover the schools named in the Top 10 shortlist for the World’s Best School Prize for Supporting Healthy Lives

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About the World's Best School Prize for Supporting Healthy Lives

From arts to sports. From nutrition to social-emotional learning. From personal development to caring relationships. Recognising the schools which are providing the opportunity for their students and community to live health by these and more ways in an integrated and sustainable way.

Meet the Top 10 shortlisted schools

Curie Metropolitan High School

📍 Chicago, United States of America

Dulwich College Shanghai Pudong

📍 Shanghai, China

Gort Community School

📍 Gort, Ireland

Larrakeyah Primary School

📍 Darwin, Australia

London Academy of Excellence, Stratford

📍 London, England, United Kingdom

Malitbog National High School

📍 Calinog, Philippines

Mathilde Anneke Comprehensive School

📍 Münster, Germany

Oak Knoll Elementary School

📍 Menlo Park, United States of America

The Totteridge Academy

📍 London, England, United Kingdom

Trilema Zamora

📍 Zamora, Spain

Diseño sin título (34)
Curie Metropolitan High School

📍 Chicago, United States of America

🏫 Government school

👥 2000+ secondary students

Cutting through inequalities to enrich students with art

Curie Metropolitan High School, a secondary school in Chicago, US, helps break down barriers for disadvantaged ethnic minority students and promote healthy lives through an extensive art programme that allows them to thrive in traditionally exclusive spaces. 

Based in the southside of Chicago, the area around Curie Metropolitan High School has long been deprived. Marred by poverty, gun violence and deprivation, there is pervasive sense of danger where even a walk to school can feel unsafe. Since 2019, the area has seen crime rates increase by 13% and shootings increase by 58%. The students, most of whom are from ethnic minority backgrounds, reflect the poverty and desperation that the community faces. Chicago has been reported as one of America’s most economically and racially segregated cities. 

The school offers integrated health services and programmes to ensure that all pupils are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. Curie is known for inclusion instruction for social and emotional learning. In its view, supporting healthy lives also includes enrichment opportunities, particularly through the arts.  

The school has a dedicated arts programme to tap into the talents and ambitions of its students, offering a broad range of classes such as dance, drama, animation, orchestra, choral, electronic music, art, sculpture, gorilla art, and theatre tech. 

The school’s art projects are often the result of collaborations with companies and other community actors. The Dance Department recently partnered with the NBA, Chicago Bulls, and Endure Charities to perform in an event to bridge the community with dance and sports, focusing on an inclusive culture for underserved students. Students also worked with Kern Studios, an art studio in New Orleans, to build a float using a design the students came up with. Eventually, they performed in the parade on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, which was televised across the nation. Students can participate in an art club sponsored by Brighton Park Neighbourhood Council, allowing them to collectively work on community-based projects to liven up and beautify the neighbourhood. The Adidas Sound Lab gives students the opportunity to write, produce, mix, and promote their own original musical scores that are submitted and shared globally. 

If Curie Metropolitan High School were to win World’s Best School Prize for Supporting Healthy Lives, it would use the funds to rebuild the school’s theatre which has fallen into a state of disrepair.

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Dulwich College Shanghai Pudong

📍 Shanghai, China

🏫 Private/Independent school

👥 1501 to 2000 kindergarten, primary and secondary students

Why academic success is only one part of a happy, healthy life

Dulwich College Shanghai Pudong, an international school in Shanghai, China, has a strong academic reputation, but its vision extends far beyond academic success. Pushing back against the commonly held view that only results matter, it gives students a holistic education based on three key principles - to value every voice, do the right thing, and make a difference. 

The school community is made up of families from over 40 different countries, with an increasing number of returning Chinese and Asian families who consider academic excellence non-negotiable. However, academics are delivered through a wellbeing ethos, and Dulwich College Shanghai Pudong pursues an educational model that centres on the child and healthy living is woven into every fibre of its being. Not just the teachers, every staff member that contributes to the operation of the school centres around the welfare of the students. From the IT manager, to the HR recruitment manager to the school guard. If you were to ask about their job’s core duty, the reply would be to keep the children safe.

The catering team, which works not only with staff, but also parents and students in the Food Committee, serves healthy food options for different diets, including vegetarian and foods from different cultures and also provides education on nutrition. The operations team has invested in an air filtration system, uses cleaning robots to help clean the school’s facilities, and has installed UV light sterilisation to act as a disinfectant. 

The Wellbeing and Healthy Living programme has been well received by parents who have come to embrace an educational style not commonly seen in the region. According to the school’s data: 91% of parents felt their child is ‘safe and well-cared for at school’ and 88% agree their child is happy at school’. Students felt similarly: 83% felt ‘safe and well-cared for’ and 81% ‘enjoying learning at school’ and expressed their happiness at being enrolled in the school. 

Dulwich College Shanghai Pudong has found that student leadership and ownership of the healthy living agenda has been critical in embedding it into the culture, and if they were to win the World’s Best School Prize for Supporting Healthy Lives it would use the prize money to give to the students so they can turn their passion projects into a reality. They would be able to research, plan and pitch their own healthy living projects to a panel and the best ideas would be funded.

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Diseño sin título (35)
Gort Community School

📍 Gort, Ireland

🏫 Government school

👥 1501 to 2000 secondary students

Striving for Holistic Health for All by ‘Strength in Unity’

Gort Community School is a co-educational school found in the rural town of Gort, County Galway in the West of Ireland with a population of 1,000 students, teachers, and support staff. As a health supporting school, Gort CS has been recognised on the national arena as ‘excellent’ in different areas; from human rights to environmental action; project management to entrepreneurship, creative thinking to artistic musical endeavours; digital learning to student leadership, holistic health, sport & wellbeing.

On entering Gort Community School, a stained-glass window crafted by students, celebrating diversity and inclusion welcomes visitors. Students thrive as they are recognized and supported as key stakeholders and agents of change.

For the past 27 years, Gort CS has harnessed close links with local business and community services, CSO’s and NGO’s, who value the outsider, the ‘others’, for the wisdom they may imbue. Believing in strength in community, they have sought connections as far away as North Ethiopia, Malawi, Nepal, Finland, and the Silicon Valley. With a game changing, inclusive and creative approach to health as a human right, Gort Community School has been more recently recognised with several titles and awards.

Gort Community School nurtures the ‘Meitheal’ approach (neighbours helping neighbours) akin to Ubuntu’. Emerging student leaders guide younger peers in the transition to experience the ethos and values of the school from the first day by ‘thinking local, acting global’. In this way, the expectation of ‘leadership, belonging and belief’ is passed on from one year to the next.

Initiatives that complement the academic classroom practices, programmes, and pedagogy are the ‘fertile ground’ on which a ‘healthier lived school experience’ shoots out strong roots. With a sense of fun, a community element, and a recognition that fitness is not just for academics or elite athletes, the focus is simple; “Minding the body, Minds the mind”.

After all, the school crest “Ní neart go cur le cheile,” fosters the belief that “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. 

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Diseño sin título (4)
Larrakeyah Primary School

📍 Darwin, Australia

🏫 Government school

👥 301 to 500 primary students

How to build healthy lives and healthy futures

Larrakeyah Primary School, a public school in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, designed a model that helps prepare its students for the future by nurturing them holistically. Its programmes improve their overall wellbeing as well as their career prospects.

Larrakeyah Primary School is an accredited Cambridge International School, the first to be granted such a status in Northern Territory. Its students come from diverse backgrounds with 40% speaking a second language at home while 20% have special needs and 2% identify as Aboriginal. 

The school’s QUEST programme is designed to connect and inspire, bringing real life contexts to the classroom through the process of inquiry. The aim of QUEST is to allow students to prepare for jobs that do not yet exist by developing 21st Century Skills of Collaboration, Creativity, Communication and Critical Thinking. Teachers facilitate a small group of students and focus on an area of inquiry, working with industry professionals and members of the community to obtain specific knowledge and skills. 

Students can choose projects they are passionate about, leading to higher engagement. Working with industry professionals allows students to explore and discover careers that are of interest to them, eliminating worries about their career prospects. 

The school also has a cooking and gardening programme supporting health, hygiene and nutrition. Some of the food used in school meals is grown in the school garden and the students take an active part in helping grow the produce. The school runs a ‘Friends at Break Programme’ in the library during each recess to promote social skills and friendships between students.

Larrakeyah Primary School also uses an app to help students monitor their own social and emotional learning. It helps the user monitor their moods and has helped students become more self-aware of their emotions and gain the resilience they need to bounce back from setbacks more quickly. 

If Larrakeyah Primary School were to win the World’s Best School Prize for Supporting Healthy Lives, it would use the funds to expand the QUEST programme to all grade levels throughout the school.  The money would also be used to market and promote QUEST to entice more industry professionals to get involved with the project.

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Diseño sin título (2)
London Academy of Excellence, Stratford

📍 London, England, United Kingdom

🏫 Government school 

👥 301 to 500 secondary students

How wellbeing programmes can boost attendance and attainment

The London Academy of Excellence, a state Sixth Form school in Stratford, London, sends more students to Oxbridge each year than most private schools. Despite serving a highly deprived area in East London, with a third of its students receiving free school meals – well above the national average – it has been among the highest-performing academic sixth forms in England since 2014. The secret to its success lies in its trailblazing wellbeing programme. 

After studying rigorous research on mental health that showed student wellbeing has a strong impact on attendance and attainment, and auditing its own strengths and weaknesses, the London Academy of Excellence launched a comprehensive Wellbeing Strategy focused on improving its students’ healthy habits, behaviour, knowledge and skills. 

The school worked with a local university, which sent a team of psychology students to provide all its Year 12 students with a dedicated course on strategies to improve wellbeing. The school also ran a bespoke Wellbeing Ambassador training programme for its student-led Mental Health Network, equipping them with the knowledge and skills to provide peer support. To boost attendance, the school trained staff on how to build resilience in students through coaching and instilling a mindset that being in school is essential to their future success, with the aim to empower students to overcome obstacles to being within school. It pursued an inclusive strategy, working with its student-led Mental Health, BAME, LGBT+ and Gender Equality networks to consider wellbeing through diverse perspectives. The school also created a new Attendance and Behaviour Dashboard for staff to identify causes for concern and discuss intervention strategies and reach out to students whose attendance dipped below 97%.

The London Academy of Excellence, Stratford was guided by the principle that positive student wellbeing results in a wider awareness of their environment, which enables them to develop creativity, solve problems, and utilise the skills they need to be healthy and successful. The strategy proved effective, boosting attendance and in turn the number of A* and A grades.

If the London Academy of Excellence, Stratford wins the World’s Best School Prize for Supporting Healthy Lives it will use the prize money to train other schools, particularly those operating in areas of high socioeconomic deprivation, to deploy its innovative Wellbeing Strategy.

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Diseño sin título (36)
Malitbog National High School

📍 Calinog, Philippines

🏫 Government school

👥 1001 to 1500 secondary students

A holistic health programme for underprivileged students

Malitbog National High School, a secondary school in Calinog, Iloilo, The Philippines implemented its Happy and Healthy School Programme (HHS) during the pandemic to promote physical, mental, and social health among its 1,000 students – 90% of whom fall below the poverty line and 60% of whom were malnourished when they started school. 

The Happy and Healthy School Programme (HHS), which is based upon the idea that every problem has a solution and thus, even in the wake of a global pandemic, the community can address their problems as one body. Projects and activities include home gardening, home-based wellness, advocating a healthy diet, clean water and sanitation, and mental health advocacy among others. With every home becoming a classroom during the pandemic, the household and wider community have been as important to this programme as the school.

The school also worked to solve the complications around home learning: when 80% of parents expressed doubt as to how they would be able to help their children with their studies, the school provided them with detailed guidance. After intensive efforts, over 85% of parents felt comfortable acting as learning facilitators for their children. The school managed to raise 2 million pesos to fund disinfectant as well as printers and paper for home learning. It also managed to raise the vaccination rate of staff from less than 1%, due to initial vaccine hesitancy, to 100% as result of its community-focused campaign. 

If Malitbog National High School were to win the World’s Best School Prize for Supporting Healthy Lives, it would use the funds to share its expertise with other secondary schools in the region. It would also use the money to create a Happy and Healthy Park where everyone can use the open space to discuss the biggest issues impacting the local community.

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Mathilde Anneke Comprehensive School

📍 Münster, Germany

🏫 Government school

👥 1001 to 1500 secondary students

Placing students at the core with their strengths and talents

Mathilde Anneke Comprehensive School, a secondary school in Münster, Germany, believes that the individual student should be in the centre with their strength and talents. The school enables their students to participate in every area so that they experience their self-efficacy, a requirement for a healthy lifestyle.

To develop self-efficacy the school focuses on physical activity and sees it as a basic human right. It ensures at least four hours a week of PE lessons, and that students take physical free play breaks throughout the school day. The school cooperates with the University of Muenster and together they developed the “Sportpaten”- Project. Through this one to one mentoring program the children are empowered to be physically active, which serves as a resource for their healthy overall development. Moreover most of the lessons start with physical exercises “Schule mit Schwung“.

To promote healthy lifestyles and build resilience, the school has lessons on social and emotional health, a food programme that focuses on good nutrition, and counselling sessions for students experiencing poor mental health and stress. 

Students are endowed with a great deal of personal reasonability and their thoughts are considered for major projects that are about to be implemented. The school allows its students to monitor and plan their own learning independently. 

Together with parents and teachers, pupils design their own food plan every week and record their reflections about what they’ve learned about healthy eating and sustainability. The learning journal is used to promote positive reinforcement and centres around small achievements students build up – often they are asked to start with the phrase: “I am very proud of my self because of…”.  

If Mathilde Anneke Comprehensive School were to win the World’s Best School Prize for Supporting Healthy Lives, it would use the funds to help share its good practices with other schools. 

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Diseño sin título (37)
Oak Knoll Elementary School

📍 Menlo Park, United States of America

🏫 Government school

👥 501 to 1000 pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and primary students

Making students feel part of one big family

Oak Knoll Elementary School, a co-ed in Menlo Park, California, USA, promotes emotional and mental wellbeing from the moment students walk through the door and are greeted with a student-led morning news broadcast set up by the school counsellor. The broadcast ends with the words "Together, we are Oak Knoll", reinforcing students’ sense of camaraderie and closeness. During the pandemic, KNOL switched to a new phrase: "Together or Apart, we are Oak Knoll''. 

This ethos runs throughout everything the school does. Catering to over 600 children from diverse communities, Oak Knoll Elementary School has worked hard to ensure all its students feel included and valued. Teachers greet their students by the door each day by name, breakfast is provided for whoever needs it and the school counsellor works closely with every class to build resilience and emotional support. The institution is guided by the principle that everyone within the school is part of one big family and in order to support students in their endeavours, both they, the parents and the wider community need to be nurtured as well. 

This work is supported by the myriad programmes Oak Knoll Elementary School runs such as a mental health centre that helps families, small scholarships to allow students who come from lower resourced communities to participate in after-school clubs, and gift cards that are given out during the holidays that are used in grocery stores. The Silicon Valley Bike Exchange provides bikes to students who request them and the school partnered with their local bookstore Kepler's so each classroom mirrored the diversity in its community with material that is diverse in its characters and storylines. 

If Oak Knoll Elementary School were to win the World’s Best School Prize for Supporting Healthy Lives, it would use the money to add a nature playground for its Kindergarten and Preschool students. The funds would also be allocated to expand the school garden and enable other students in higher grades to plant peppers, tomatoes and vegetables to be used in school meals.

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The Totteridge Academy

📍 London, England, United Kingdom

🏫 Government school

👥 301 to 500 secondary students

Teaching urban students about the natural world

The Totteridge Academy, a mixed secondary school in Barnet, London, UK, has formed a partnership with local charity GROW to turn a disused field into 6-acre agroecological farm that it uses to grow produce for healthy school meals as well as for its subsidised and affordable veg box scheme for all. Working with GROW, the Totteridge Academy has developed a unique programme that allows students living in urban areas, many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds, to learn sustainable food growing skills and to appreciate nature and the world around them. 

The Totteridge Academy has a diverse student population, with 34% speaking English as second or third language and 46% coming from disadvantaged backgrounds. Grounded in a philosophy that takes inspiration from Kaizen – a Japanese term meaning ‘change for the better’ – the Totteridge Academy tries to instil the values of self-improvement and high ambition in its students and has seen results significantly improve in recent years.

Through its collaboration with GROW, students are able to develop knowledge of organic produce and that education model is incorporated alongside other subjects: in their science lessons, students learn about compost and decay; in food technology, the farm helps pupils understand about how seasonality impacts vegetation. The charity also has launched a 10-week early support programme designed to promote healthy living amongst vulnerable young people and over 100 Totteridge Academy students have participated to date. From timetabled mindfulness and yoga workshops, to an in-house forest school and ‘Mushroom Academy’, the opportunities that GROW has generated have become an integral part of the school’s fabric and have helped to improve student mental health.  

If the Totteridge Academy were to win the World’s Best School Prize for Supporting Healthy Lives, it would use the funds to train external staff that could help with the GROW hub and create a local community arm attached to the hub space.

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Trilema Zamora

📍 Zamora, Spain

🏫 Private/Independent school 

👥 301 to 500 pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, primary and secondary students

How to make healthy living habitual

Trilema Zamora, a school in Zamora, Spain has embarked on an innovative programme that teaches its students – many of whom come from low income, immigrant and ethnic minority backgrounds – healthier ways to eat, sleep, exercise and even breathe. 

The school wants students to become the protagonists of their own learning and encourages independent thinking and personal projects that cater to each student’s own interests. Its FLUYE Happy & Healthy Kids project is designed to educate students from infant to secondary level in practices that promote healthier life choices, which are key to children’s physical and intellectual development. The idea is that by starting young, its students will be able to incorporate such health techniques and tips as an inherent part of themselves as they get older. From eating the right food, using certain sleep patterns, breathing techniques and physical exercise, the programme seeks to drill in the lifestyle behaviours that eventually become habit. The project’s values are later incorporated into classroom material, in particular PE Science and other subjects like Values and Wellbeing and Tutor Time.  

Teachers are fully trained to deliver the FLUYE programme, which also involves management staff, school monitors, carers and administrative and service staff, parents’ associations and communities and families.

If Trilema Zamora were to win the World's Best School Prize for Supporting Healthy Lives, it wants to establish a project that would encourage its students to use their healthy living techniques during playtime, where sports, good eating habits and more are combined. It would also allocate funds to a digital platform to place resources related to its programmes online for the wider community to use.

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