Skip to main content

We are delighted that you wish to be involved in our pilot to re-design Southampton’s Healthy Early Years Award (HEYA).

Whilst Southampton’s HEYA was originally developed in 2009, it has been re-designed to make it more accessible to settings. This has been achieved by splitting the award into bronze, silver and gold levels for both healthy eating and physical activity, reducing the amount of paperwork required for submission, and enabling settings to complete a self-assessment form as their main piece of evidence for the initial bronze level. In addition, we now offer a Healthy Mouth Award. This award is available at silver level (no bronze).  On this page, you will find the relevant information to undertake the various levels of the award. Please note, that as this is currently a pilot, some information may still need to be added or amended. 

If you would like to register your interest in undertaking the award or have any queries regarding the award, please contact the Family Information Service:

Email:   Tel: 023 8083 3014

If you would like to submit a completed section of the award to the panel for assessment, please email it to .

What have pilot settings said about the new style award so far?

"The process is very clear and seems less ‘heavy’ than the previous award. I like the ability to get recognition as you move through the awards."

"Did not believe we would be able to do it so quickly."

"If motivated - it is really possible to complete in half a term."

"Really positive feedback from parents and seen a real change in the content of the children’s lunchboxes."

"We really enjoyed completing the bronze healthy eating award and have noticed a positive impact on the setting in regards to food being offered and provided from home."

"The information on the website was easily accessible"

"The forms were descriptive and easy to use."

"An excellent template for policy which really helped."

"A very positive experience."

Why should I consider working towards the HEYA?

There are several aims of the HEYA and reasons why the HEYA would be beneficial to your setting. Working towards the HEYA will help you to:

  • Enable your setting to meet standards around good quality nutrition, oral health and physical activity for children accessing your setting
  • Improve healthy eating, positive oral health and physical activity in your setting, leading to improved outcomes for children in your care
  • Follow a structure to enable your setting to meet best practice guidance and advice
  • Support childcare staff to increase their own knowledge and awareness of under 5s nutrition, oral health and physical activity, and to improve their own health by modelling good practice
  • Support the provision of clear and consistent healthy eating, oral health and physical activity messages to children, parents / carers and the wider community, in order to benefit activities  in the home environment
  • Provide evidence to support the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory requirements and enable reflective practice for self-evaluation, with links to ECERS-R, ITERS-R and FCCERS-R
  • Build on a whole setting approach to positive change
  • Completing the Health Eating bronze level of the HEYA enables your setting to start working towards the Healthy Mouth Award.

HEYA Bronze Award

Bronze Award: – is designed to be a way for settings to engage with the award by making changes to their nutrition provision or physical activity provision and completing a self-assessment form without the need to first attend training. Settings need to consult with the relevant groups (including staff and parents), download the relevant themes and standards and review these in light of their current practice. Once required changes have been identified, the setting should make the necessary changes to their practice.  Following this, the setting needs to complete the self-assessment form and send in the necessary additional evidence, all of which is clearly listed so you can see exactly what is required - (click on the relevant pink box at the top of the page for either Physical Activity or Healthy Eating to download appropriate documentation). Depending on the size of the setting and the number of changes required, we anticipate the bronze level to be worked on over a period of a term (although this may be quicker, particularly for settings already meeting the required standards)

Bronze Award Flowchart revised July 17 (PDF 311KB)

Bronze Award flowchart revised July 17 (DOCX 52KB)

HEYA Silver Award

HEYA Silver Award – to move on to this level, you will have completed both healthy eating and physical activity at Bronze level.

Silver Award: – this level involves settings sending 1-2 staff representatives to a 2 ½-hour training session for each aspect of the award; healthy eating and physical activity. Support and training will be provided for the Healthy Mouth Award. Each session is provided free of charge. Following on from these sessions, settings are required to produce an action plan to address aspects of the aspects of the award you are undertaking at silver level. This would include more challenging aspects of provision, such as the setting’s approach to birthdays and addressing portion sizes for healthy eating, achieving good oral health habits or making changes to identified areas for physical activity.

The setting then works through these, making the required changes before completing a second self-assessment form and sending in the necessary evidence for assessment by the HEYA team.

Depending on the size of the setting and the number of changes required, it is anticipated that the silver level to be worked on over a period of 1-2 terms (although this may be quicker, particularly for settings already meeting the required standards).

Silver Award flowchart HE, HM and PA Aug 2017 (PDF 310KB)

Silver Award flowchart HE, HM and PA Aug 2017 (DOCX 55KB) 

HEYA Gold Award

HEYA Gold Award – to move onto this level settings will need to have completed all levels – healthy eating and physical activity at bronze level and healthy eating, healthy mouths and physical activity at silver level.

Gold Award: – this level involves settings carrying out two pieces of work:

a) Settings complete a ‘research in action’ project to look in more details at a minimum of two key things in each theme that have changed and identify outcomes as result. Full guidance will be provided on how to complete this project by the HEYA team

b) Developing an action plan for how the setting plans to further improve nutrition provision / oral health and / or physical activity opportunities during the course of the next year.

The assessment involves the HEYA team reviewing your project and action plan, and carrying out a brief telephone ‘interview’ with you to confirm you’ve met all the requirements for this level. The self-assessment forms for the bronze and silver awards will have already determined your ‘baseline’ provision / practice, and the team will be on hand to confirm a suitable project with you. We anticipate the gold level to be worked on over a period of 1 term.

The HEYA team

The revised Healthy Early Years award has been developed by a number of individuals and organisations including Solent NHS, Annemarie Aburrow RD BSc (Hons) PGDip, Expert Dietitian (, Southampton Early Years and Childcare Team and Southampton Oral Health Educators. HEYA resources were adapted for the Healthy Mouths theme by Dr Devika Vadher (Clinical Fellow in Dental Public Health) and Dr Jeyanthi John (Consultant in Dental Public Health). The HEYA quality assured panel is made up of representatives from these organisations.

Contact us

For all queries and submissions, please contact the Family Information Service who will pass on your requests or submissions to the relevant professional service.


Tel: 023 8083 3014

Share your feedback on this page ∇

Please provide feedback on our website. Try to include any constructive suggestions for improvements and we will do our best to incorporate them.

Back to top