What the Specialist Awards are, what topics you can do specialist awards in and how your school can achieve them.

Specialist awards focus on specific health and wellbeing topics. 

You can start working on Specialist Awards before achieving the Essential Award. However, we encourage all schools to complete the Essential Award before or alongside the Specialist Awards.

How your school can achieve a specialist award

To achieve a specialist award you must make changes in your school. This includes:

  • changes to the school's physical environment
  • making improvements to the curriculum 
  • investing in leadership and training

You can work on as many specialist awards as you want. Once you've achieved a specialist award it's valid for 3 years.

How long it takes

You must complete a specialist award within 1 year. 

How we support you


  • work with you and with your school nurse, giving guidance over email
  • provide a directory of advice, guidance and resources 
  • give extra support to schools working in the  most deprived areas or with the most vulnerable pupils

How we assess your work

We'll look at your work and compare it to the award criteria. We'll let you know if we you need to do more work to get the award within 4 weeks of you submitting your work.

What you'll get

When your school achieves a specialist award we'll:

  • send you a certificate
  • send you digital logos that you can add to your website or letterheads
  • add you to our Healthy Schools  website, so your local community and other schools can learn about the work your staff and pupils did to earn the awards

Award topics

Logo mental health and wellbeing

Mental health and wellbeing

Creating a school culture that supports positive pupil and staff mental health and helps those with poor mental health.

Logo food environment

Food environment

Creating a culture that promotes healthy eating and drinking, supports cooking and growing food and makes healthy choices possible and attractive.

Logo Bristol ideal

Bristol ideal award

Tackling domestic abuse and sexual violence (the Bristol ideal award): promoting healthy relationships and gender equality and supporting those at risk of or experiencing abuse.

Logo physical activity

Physical activity

Encouraging physical activity and reducing barriers to being active.

Logo understanding substances

Understanding substances

Preventing, delaying and reducing the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.