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The very Big Book of Bristol Healthy Schools

14 May 2018

Julie Coulthard, Public Health Principal in Bristol City Council’s Young People’s Public Health Team, describes the development of the Big Book of Bristol Healthy Schools, an A2 book of photos and illustrations made by local school children to showcase the Healthy Schools initiative. This blog is part of the Bristol Firsts series, celebrating Bristol-based innovations in the NHS’s 70th year. If you have an idea for a Bristol Firsts blog, get in touch with Zoe Trinder-Widdess on

It can be a real challenge to explain the breadth and scope of any public health programme in a way that people outside the sector can understand. As we developed our Healthy Schools programme in Bristol we were very keen to spread the word and engage parents, communities, councillors and other colleagues within the council with the work of our team.

The Big Book of Bristol Healthy Schools aimed to educate citizens in Bristol about the Healthy Schools programme running in our schools through a visual representation of its impact.

Our vision was to create a large format book full of photos and illustrations made by school children to showcase the broad extent (it’s not just about food!) and value of the Healthy Schools initiative. It needed to be bright, cheerful and appeal to children and parents as well as other schools that weren’t part of the scheme yet.

The creation of this book was a partnership, including TinCat Design who worked closely with us to realise our vision. The Big Book of Healthy Schools was unashamedly BIG! It’s A2 size – nearly A1 when opened, and it’s filled with coloured photos and pictures that illustrated all the health standards that we were encouraging schools to achieve. This was a difficult piece of work to get right, and I am absolutely delighted with the result.

The book definitely can’t be ignored! We sent it out to all organisations across the city and shared the message of the work of the healthy schools programme in delivering a prevention agenda aimed to improve the health and wellbeing of the young people. It was sent to every school, every Healthy Schools co-ordinator, every doctors surgery, every library in Bristol, every councillor, the Mayor and other council leaders. We even sent it to the Secretary of State for Education, to highlight the important work that’s going on right here in Bristol.

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