PUPILS at an Oxford school are refuelling on healthier snacks as part of an award-winning food initiative.

Rose Hill Primary School has opened a new break-time tuck shop selling sugar-free and low-sugar items, from freshly-baked bread sticks to a tasty trail mix.

Run on a not-for-profit basis, each product costs just 20 pence and helps to deter children from reaching for chocolate or sweets between lessons.

The tuck shop scheme has earned a Golden Teaspoon Award from Sugar Smart Oxford, which campaigns for restaurants, schools and public places across the city to help cut unhealthy sugar consumption.

Emma Hood, formerly healthy schools coordinator at Rose Hill, said: "I would love it if this model could be used more widely.

"A couple of teachers have said they have noticed children are calmer after break."

Ms Hood helped to devise the tuck shop but has since left the school, and the role has been taken on by Caitlin Prentice.

The current healthy schools coordinator said: "The children really took on board how much sugar is in things, and now we often hear them asking each other and teachers to check the labels, and reminding each other to find healthier alternatives."

She said pupils 'love' the shop, adding: "They like how it feels like going shopping while they’re at school, the independence of managing their money, and they really like the snacks."

The shop has proved popular, with more than half of the school's 320-pupil population using it every day.

It is run by the school's catering company, Edwards and Ward, with support from a teaching assistant who bags up a popular trail mix of popcorn, healthy cereals, raisins and a few chocolate chips.

Catering supervisor Karyn Quinn makes fresh bread sticks and cheese straws, on top of preparing the usual school lunch.

Other items on the menu include crackers with cheese and cucumber, and fresh fruit.

Earlier this year the school consulted parents and carers using funding from Healthwatch Oxfordshire, to find out how they would like the school to support their children's learning around healthy eating and dental care.

In June children took part in a healthy living week, experimenting with making a range of healthy snacks and deciding which were their favourites.

Pupils on the school council took questionnaires back to their classes to find out what snacks their peers were bringing in and what they would like from a school tuck shop.

The collaborative project earned praise from Sugar Smart Oxford, which is coordinated by Good Food Oxford, and was one of 10 projects given a Golden Teaspoon in September.

The awards are given to organisations, workplaces and schools that have shown ambition to reduce sugar consumption.