A SCHOOL is putting fitness first to ensure a healthier future for youngsters.

Great Smeaton Academy Primary has devised a number of new activities to inspire both staff and pupils to exercise more and eat better.

Children at the small school just outside Northallerton are encouraged to begin the day with a mile-long walk round the playground with one of the teachers.

In addition to a whole afternoon of PE on a Friday, ten minutes a day is spent developing basic ball skills to improve hand-eye coordination. After school running and football clubs are also helping keep pupils fit.

As well as exercise, children are being encouraged to expand their palates and try a wider and healthier range of food. School cook Alison Beauchamp sources local food for lunches which are made from scratch for the 43 pupils and eight staff.

Head Bernie Greenwood said: "We’re trying to make small changes to improve the bigger picture. Statistics show that over a third of children in the UK are overweight or obese and we want to do our bit to try and make a difference in the long-term."

*The school is holding an open day for prospective parents and pupils from 9am to 3.30pm on November 29. All are welcome and there is no need to make an appointment.