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Thank you for your interest in the Southampton Healthy Early Years Award (HEYA). Undertaking the award offers a unique opportunity for settings to work towards a quality assured programme, helping to improve the health and wellbeing for under 5s’. Helping families to make healthier choices remains a national focus. In Southampton, obesity rates are similar to the England average, but these levels are still unacceptably high.  Therefore, addressing obesity, through healthier nutrition and physical activity choices in addition to improving oral health is a priority for the city. Participating in the award will help you to provide a healthier environment for children in your care.  It will help families to make positive choices and provides practical support (and CPD) for early year’s practitioners.

You can find out more about the award and the views of some Southampton settings by watching the Southampton Healthy Early Years Award video below.

Southampton’s HEYA was originally developed in 2009 and in 2017 was redesigned and piloted, to make it more accessible and practical to achieve. There are six stand-alone awards at three progressive levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Settings begin with bronze awards in Healthy Eating and / or  Physical Activity. Once both have been achieved settings can, if they wish, choose to move on to silver. At this level there are three awards to choose from, Healthy Eating,  Healthy Mouth and  Physical Activity. Settings who undertake and complete all three awards will have the opportunity to move on to obtain the HEYA Gold award. All awards are valid for three years and all progression steps must be taken within the 3 year period. 

All awards paperwork and guidance are accessible online.  Completion of a self-assessment form is the main piece of evidence required for the initial bronze level.  At silver level, attendance at training is required in addition to submitting all relevant evidence. On this page, you will find the information to undertake each level of the award.

Please note, when submitting awards for assessment, aside from the required documentation which is requested on the self-assessment form, such as policies, menus etc, you will only be able to submit a maximum of 5 additional pieces of evidence. The majority of the evidence should be submitted by completion of the self-assessment form.

Please read all flow charts and instructions prior to commencing any of the awards and contact the HEYA team to advise them of your interest.

All correspondence and submissions must be sent to: Submissions will be passed to the relevant assessor who will aim to provide feedback within one month.

What settings have said about the award

“Everyone in the setting is more motivated to take part in physical activities and more aware of time children should be active.”

 “It was useful to have lots of advice and guidance for developing the policy.”

 “We have shared lots of ideas and healthy eating/physical activities with our Facebook preschool group and had photos and comments in return, which have showed how much the children are enjoying the activities.“

 “When other things get in the way it doesn't mean you won't get there and the HEYA team are very supportive and empathetic to the curves and pitfalls we all face day to day!”

 “We were OFSTED’ed and the inspector was keen to hear why we had done it and also our plans for the future although not the sole reason we achieved an Outstanding, it definitely helped.”

 “We found that our parents often didn’t know what or why we did things and in sharing the policies, activities and progress on the awards it has helped parents understand the vital work we do.”

 “Having the example sheets makes it clear what I needed to do and gave me ideas of what to be discussing with staff and parents.”

 “I think we were already doing a lot of what is involved in gaining the award but it has helped changed our mind-set when talking with the children about food and exercise. Children often ask to do exercise and talk with each other and us more about how to keep healthy.”

 “Parents now have more tools to use e.g. recipes, sugar swap ideas.”

 “We were already doing a lot of the criteria for HEYA we just didn’t realise at the time.”

“It has widened parents and family’s eyes about allergies, healthy eating, sugar levels that their children maybe consuming without them necessarily knowing it or what they could put in their children’s lunchboxes as an alternative. There is less ‘Junk’ food and healthier food replacements instead.”

 “For the staff team, it has also questioned our own eating habits and what we are consuming for a lunch - are we eating healthily? Are we setting a good example for children? Are we role modelling good choices? etc. Staff are more confident about portion sizes and how much the children should be having.”

 “I feel it has a positive impact upon the children as they’ll learn about their bodies whilst taking part in physical exercise and to teach them about why it is important to have regular exercise within our daily lifestyle.”

 “The Southampton city HEYA website is very useful. It has all the information that you need to know when completing each award and each area – healthy eating, oral hygiene and physical. It is easy to access to parent/carers look at if they wish. The Facebook page shares some interesting posts too.”

You can hear more views of the award from our providers by watching the Southampton Healthy Early Years Award video under the 'Video' heading on the left hand side of this webpage.

Why should I consider working towards the HEYA?

Working towards the HEYA will help you to:

  • Create a healthier environment for children by meeting standards on good quality nutrition, oral health and physical activity.
  • Improve outcomes for children through healthy eating, positive oral health and physical activity
  • Follow a clear structure to meet best practice guidance and advice
  • Support your staff to increase their own knowledge and awareness of under 5s nutrition, oral health and physical activity.
  • Role model healthy behaviours and  good practice
  • Provide clear and consistent messages to parents /carers and children on healthy eating, oral health and physical activity to benefit 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 healthy setting approach.
  • Complete the Healthy Eating bronze level of the HEYA to progress towards the Healthy Mouth Award.

Healthy Early Years Award Achievers

The following providers have achieved one or more awards:

  • Paint Pots Pre-school & Nursery Sholing
  • Ladybirds Pre-school (Porchester Road)
  • Ladybirds Pre-school (Parkside)
  • Honeybeez Pre-school
  • St James Nursery and Pre-school
  • Startpoint Sholing Nursery
  • Startpoint Northam Pre-school
  • Kanes Hill Pre-school
  • Brambles Pre-school
  • Over the rainbow childminding – Toni Southwell
  • Sticky Fingers Pre-school @ Newlands
  • Sticky Fingers Pre-School @ Redbridge
  • Little Berries Pre-school @ Bassett
  • Happy Bunnies Pre-school
  • Little Berries
  • Taplins Nursery SGH
  • Redbridge Pre-school
  • Hardmoor Early Years Centre
  • Rainbow Pre-school 1
  • Paint Pots Pre-school and Nursery Swaythling
  • Paint Pots Pre-school at Woodlands
  • Paint Pots Pre-school and Nursery Portswood
  • Olive Tree Pre-school
  • The Mulberry Bush, Bitterne Park
  • Brook Early Years
  • Rachel Owens - Rachel's Childcare's
  • Bevois Town Pre-school
  • Deborah Hunter
  • Sure Start West Cluster
  • Sure Start East Locality
  • Sure Start Central
  • Paintpots Paint Pots Pre-school & Nursery Freemantle
  • University of Southampton Early years Centre
  • Paint Pots Pre-school @ Testwood Road
  • Oasis Academy Lordshill Pre-school

HEYA Bronze Award

Bronze Award: – is designed to be a simple way for settings to start with the award by making changes to their nutrition or physical activity provision through completing a self-assessment form without the need to first attend training. Please ensure that you read through the flow chart and theme standards. 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 submit, along with the necessary additional evidence, all of which is clearly listed on the flow chart. 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 Mar 2021 (PDF 325KB)

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 within the last three years.

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. Settings are required to cascade the training to other team members. Support and training will be provided in your setting for the Healthy Mouth Award. Each session is provided free of charge for Southampton providers. Settings are required to produce an action plan to identify and address development areas highlighted at bronze level, or in the self-assessment form or during the training. 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 the identified areas, making the required changes before completing a silver self-assessment form and submitting along with the necessary evidence for assessment by the HEYA team. Please see the flow chart for all evidence required to assess the submission.

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 2021 (PDF 396KB)

HEYA Gold Award

HEYA Gold Award – to move on to this level, you will have completed Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Healthy Mouth at silver level within the last three years.

By working through all of the awards, settings will progressively make positive changes impacting on the setting, the practitioners, the parents and families, helping everyone to make healthier choices and changes for life.  Completing the gold award will enable settings to take this further, really making a measurable difference to families. The gold award is one overarching award, incorporating one or more aspects of the award and demonstrating an ongoing commitment to all aspects: nutrition, oral health and physical activity.  The focus of the Gold Healthy Early Years Award will be centred on Parental Engagement and must:-

  • Show an impact on parents and families
  • Take a holistic view of wellbeing incorporating all aspects of the award.
  • Demonstrate how the activity or project impacts on the families and has made a measurable difference.
  • The setting will also develop an action plan identifying 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 all requirements are met. 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, but may take longer, depending on the focus of your planned project.

Following successful completion of the award, HEYA leads may, if they choose, become mentors for other settings progressing through the awards. Achieving the award will not only support the positive changes to healthier choices for all, but will also assist with providing evidence to demonstrate to Ofsted how settings work in partnership with parents and other professionals and have high aspirations for children and families.

Gold Award Flowchart 2018 (PDF 216KB)

Training Dates

Attendance at a relevant training session is required for a Silver award and must be cascaded to your teams in order to successfully pass Silver Healthy Eating or Physical Activity Awards. This training is subsidised and is delivered FREE to Southampton Early Years providers and will be held at Startpoint Sholing. Healthy Mouth training is delivered in your setting. Anyone currently working at bronze level is also welcome to join a training session. The next training sessions for physical activity and healthy eating will be held on 15th March 6.30 pm 2022 – 8.30pm and 22 March 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm.  Please email if you would like to participate. 

Expiring Awards

Some settings may work through HEYA awards, progressing from bronze through to gold at a steady pace and keeping their HEYA status up to date during this process. However, others may wish to stop at bronze or silver level, meaning that certificates will expire after three years. If not being superseded by a higher award, in order to keep HEYA status validated, settings will need to renew an award when it expires. This will mean reviewing the work and the self-assessment form and re-submitting. This is required because over the 3-year period, practice, children families and staff change and it is important to review, reflect and refresh practice and policies to ensure that standards are maintained. This is good practice for all aspects of early years provision. One of the HEYA team will be in contact if your award is due to expire to discuss options, but if you have any queries. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.


The HEYA Team

The revised Healthy Early Years Award was developed in 2017 by a number of individuals and organisations including Solent NHS Trust, 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 assurance panel is made up of a selection of representatives from these various organisations.

Are you a school interested in HEYA?

Reception classes are welcomed and encouraged to participate in the Healthy Early Years Award. We work closely with the Healthy High Five team and your school can work with both schemes. You can find out more about Healthy High Five here.


Promoting active travel

This link to My Journey will help you to  find information for workplaces to support staff to walk and cycle to work, including grants to support the infrastructure of cycling to work (bike racks, lockers) and cycle confidence training. Active travel is good for health  and  wellbeing as well as  increasing focus at work. It’s also good for the environment and may reduce costs.

 My Journey is also working with nurseries and pre-schools in Hampshire to encourage alternatives to car travel on the nursery and school run. By promoting walking and scooting for journeys to your preschool or nursery, you can help to keep children active and reduce congestion and pollution in the local area. You will find some ideas and activities in the early years section

Mental Health and Wellbeing

We will be launching a new bronze award in autumn 2022 on mental health and wellbeing which will  focus on children, staff and parents. Looking after your staff’s health and wellbeing  can improve their attendance, productivity and wellbeing and support the retention of staff. Look out for updates in the near future on the new award, but in the meantime you  can find out more information on wellbeing at work here:

Wellbeing@Work - looking after your staff (

Charges for settings outside of Southampton City

Assessment of Bronze HE or PA   £40.00
Assessment of Silver HE or PA     £60.00
Attendance at pre-arranged training already running for other Southampton settings (per person)   £40.00
Silver training Physical Activity ( 2.5 hours) at provider setting for team £160.00
Silver training Healthy Eating ( 2.5 hours) at provider setting for team £160.00
Charges per hour for any additional support in the form of email or telephone support, site visits or for any resubmissions.   £40.00
Charges will be made for mileage @ .45p per mile and travel time at £20.00 per half hour for any training outside of Southampton City

Contact us

For all queries and submissions, please email and a member of the team will get back to you.

If you would like to speak to a member of the team Please call Angela Elliott on 07970759851 or Rachel Watson on 07773 317 632

 You can also follow us on our  Facebook page

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

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Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this directory, we do not accept any responsibility or liability for any errors that have occurred. It is recommended that you always check with providers that their service or organisation meets your requirements. We offer an impartial service and we cannot recommend or endorse any providers listed.

Further information