Starting well intro

Free support to Reception and Year 6 children and their families, focusing on healthy weight education and lifestyle changes, with weekly topics ranging from the Eatwell guide to portion sizes and physical activity.

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Our Starting Well for Life programme is for children in Reception and Year 6 living in Northumberland and their families who have recently had a weight and height check at school as part of the National Child Measurement Programme and been offered additional support.    

It is sometimes difficult to know if your child is overweight and the results can be surprising to hear, but there is lots of help and support available to get you back to a healthy weight with a few simple changes.   

If you would like to know more, please contact, someone will get back to you within two working days.

Starting Well programme details

The Starting Well programme offers one to one support from one of our team who will help you to make lifestyle changes around eating well and moving more.

The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) measures the height and weight of children in Reception class (aged 4 to 5) and year 6 (aged 10 to 11) across England.

This programme helps to assess the number of children who are within the healthy weight range during primary school and moving into high school.

Across Northumberland, results from NCMP are passed to the Public Health Team at Northumberland County Council who can support families around how to ensure children’s weight is in line with where it should be for their age. 

Northumberland County Council offer this service free to families.   

Each week you will focus on a different topic to support you to make small changes to help your child and family make healthier choices in the future. 

  • Week 1 - The Eatwell guide 
  • Week 2 - Fats and sugars 
  • Week 3 - Portion size/healthy snacks 
  • Week 4 - Food labelling/physical activity 

A celebration event will be held after the completion of the programme.

Why is National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) important? 

  • 1 in 5 children are classed as overweight or very overweight in reception with 1 in 3 children being classed as overweight or very overweight in year 6 

  • Being overweight or very overweight can have an impact on a child’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. For example, it can increase the risk of high blood pressure, breathing problems, joint problems, low self-esteem, and bullying.

What does the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) letter say? 

There are 4 types of results letters that you may have received for your child if they have taken part in the NCMP programme, depending on the weight category your child has been placed in.

The 4 categories include:

  • underweight
  • healthy weight
  • overweight 
  • very overweight

Each of the letters will contain details of further support and guidance tailored to the weight category. This can include web links, national guidance, contact details for school nursing and details of healthy eating programmes'  

Do I tell my child the results of the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP)?

It is a personal decision to discuss the results with your child. If you do decide to tell your child they are overweight, how you approach this, and the language used will be important.

One technique may be to link healthy eating to improved health and wellbeing e.g., eating fruit and vegetables will make you strong and good at physical activity. You may decide to make lifestyle changes as a family to improve everyone’s health and wellbeing. 

How do we calculate children’s weights?

We calculate children’s weights using a measurement called BMI centiles. The NCMP uses the BMI centile as this is the most accurate way to tell whether a child’s weight is in the healthy range.

BMI centiles compares the weight of your child to children of the same sex and age. For example, if your child is on the 90th centile we predict their BMI is higher than 90% of children in the population who are the same age and sex.

It is possible for you to calculate BMI centile at home by using the online NHS healthy weight calculator

What can I do if I am concerned about my child’s weight?

If your child is considered very overweight, you can access support from the Public Health Team at Northumberland County Council. Please contact the team at

If you are concerned about your child’s weight you can contact your school nurse or doctor for further advice and support on how to help your child achieve and maintain a healthier weight.

For further information please see the NCMP Pre-measurement leaflet for parents: School height and weight measurements 

Meet the Starting well team

    Jane Elliott - A white women with blondish hair   
Jane Elliott - health improvement practitioner specialist

    Katherine Beavers - A white women with brown hair and a nose piercing.   
Katherine Beavers - senior health trainer       

Want to know more?

More information can be found on the following external websites:

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