Primary school screening

The School Nursing team will complete The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) checks, during which they will also review appropriate interventions for any physical, emotional or developmental problems that may have been missed or not addressed. Parental consent will always be obtained in advance.

How the NCMP works within schools to measure the weight and height of children.

The programme measures children in reception class (aged 4 to 5 years) and year 6 (aged 10 to 11 years).

Taking part in NCMP
Parents will receive a letter stating when NCMP will take place. Your child does not have to take part, but every child who is measured is contributing to the national picture about how children are growing.

Our approach is to respect the privacy, dignity and cultural needs of children at all times. No child is ever coerced into taking part if they do not wish to and the results will not be shared with teachers or other children.

What happens on the day?
Trained staff will weigh your child and measure their height while they’re in their clothes at school. The measurements are taken sensitively and in a private area.

Why do they take the measurements?
The body mass index (BMI) measure used by healthcare professionals is a good way of finding out whether a child is a healthy weight. This measurement is an important way of checking how your child is growing.

By comparing your child’s weight with their age, height and sex, we can tell whether they’re growing as expected.

This is something you may have done when your child was a baby using the growth charts in the Personal Child Health Record (red book).

Once your child’s BMI has been calculated, they’ll be in one of four categories:

  • underweight
  • healthy weight
  • overweight
  • very overweight

About 1 in 5 children in reception are overweight or obese, rising to 1 in 3 in year 6.

Because the number of overweight children has gradually increased, we have slowly become used to it.

It can be difficult to tell if your child’s overweight as they may look similar to other children of their age. By recording their measurements, we can get an accurate picture.

Research shows that if your child is overweight now, they’re more likely to be overweight as an adult, which can lead to health problems in later life.

How do I find out about my child’s results?
If your child is a healthy weight you will not receive a letter. However, if they fall into one of the other categories you will receive the results through the post automatically.

Should I share the results with my child?
The results are sent to you, so the decision about whether to talk to your child about them is entirely yours.

Some parents or carers like to discuss the results with their child and then decide together whether to make any changes to the family’s diet or activity levels. Others decide to make subtle changes without telling them.

There’s no right or wrong answer, and the decision depends on your individual circumstances.

If you disagree with the results you have received
As a parent, your opinion about your child is important. You know your child well and know how healthy their lifestyle is. Your child’s NCMP result can be a useful prompt to review eating and physical activity habits to make sure you are on the right track.

If you have further queries or concerns you can find contact details in your results letter.

The data is used at a national level to support local public health initiatives. For example, exercise and healthy eating, as well as informing local planning and delivery of services for children.

Help and advice

Find out more about the National Child Measurement Programme

Children’s Healthy Weight Guide, a useful guide about children’s healthy weight.

You can also talk to one of our team to find out about healthy eating and activities in your local area. Please call 0300 333 5352 (Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm) or send us an email.