Healthy and Sustainable Pre School Scheme

Part of the Welsh Government Healthy Schools Scheme initiative

Healthy and Sustainable Pre School Scheme

The Healthy and Sustainable Pre School Scheme (HSPSS), formerly known as the HEY Scheme, was developed following recommendations from a Task and Finish Group. Its goal is to establish local healthy school schemes through health and education partnerships in every local authority area in Wales. The HSPSS, in conjunction with the Welsh Network Healthy Schools Scheme, is delivered across all local authority areas in Wales.

Scheme Overview

The scheme is aimed at all childcare provision, including playgroups, Cylchoedd Meithrin, day nurseries, out of school clubs and childminders, and acknowledges childcare settings as valuable contributors to children’s health and well-being.

The scheme supports and links with several key areas of work including, Curriculum for Wales, Flying Start; Estyn; CIW, Families First; Designed to Smile, Healthy Working Wales, and the Gold Standard Healthy Snack Award.

A healthy childcare environment actively promotes and safeguards the physical, mental, and social health and well-being of its community. This involves policy development, strategic planning, staff training, and considering the ethos, physical environment, and community relationships.

Health Improvement Topics

Childcare settings work towards success in these key health improvement topics:

  • Preliminary
  • Nutrition and oral health
  • Physical activity and active play
  • Emotional and mental well-being, including relationships
  • Workplace health and well-being
  • Environment
  • Safety
  • Hygiene

These topics are introduced across four domains:

  • Leadership & Communication
  • Planning & Delivery
  • Ethos & Environment
  • Family & Community Involvement


The HSPSS is implemented and accredited in stages, called ‘phases,’ with each phase lasting approximately one year. Settings develop and promote eight specific action areas:

Preliminary Phase: A whole-setting approach involving coordinated, comprehensive, and progressive health programs.

Nutrition and Oral Health: Reflecting a whole setting approach to food, nutrition, and oral health, incorporating the promotion of a healthy balanced diet based on current national guidance and good practice in relation to oral health.

Physical Activity and Active Play: Supporting a wide range of accessible physical activities and active play experiences that meet children’s developmental needs.

Emotional and Mental Well-being, including Relationships: Reflecting the ethos of the setting which should encourage mutual respect and promote the mental and emotional wellbeing, in the broadest sense, of all those who work within it. It also highlights the importance of the development of positive relationships and therefore covers some aspects of personal development.

Workplace Health and Well-being: Promoting workplace with a commitment to the health and wellbeing of all staff. Good workspaces are important for physical and mental health and well-being. Employers who adopt good working practices will have a happy, healthy, and productive workforce, with lower levels of absence.

Environment: A provision will promote a safe and stimulating environment which reflects the importance of the people within it, with an emphasis on caring for the environment within and outside of the setting.

Safety: Settings will reflect a proactive approach to all aspects of safety including consideration of all substances. It should be recognised that the parents and staff use of alcohol and illegal substances could affect the safety of the children in the setting. Smoking is also included in this section but should be considered as a health issue and not just a safety issue. Some aspects of safety are statutory e.g. safeguarding, health and safety and whilst reference is made to these they will need to be considered separately in more detail. Immunisation is also covered here as a safety issue. Keeping records of immunisation is good practice which is useful in the event of an outbreak.

Hygiene Settings: Reflect good hygiene, as it is crucially important to early year’s settings.

How to get involved

The scheme is fully endorsed by Estyn and the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW). Registered settings receive:

  • Full support of a Specialist HSPSS Practitioner
  • Up to date advice and guidance
  • Training and resources
  • Links to the new curriculum
  • Access to the Gold Standard Healthy Snack Award

If you operate an early years setting and are interested in getting involved, please contact the Early Years Hub


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