A school principal who once competed in the international sailing circuit has inspired her students with her fit and healthy lifestyle.

Melissa Heppell, principal of the primary section of Atlantic Academy on Portland, used to race on the Olympic circuit and has passed this ethos on to her young charges.

Pupils and staff at Atlantic Academy recently enjoyed five days of fitness challenges and ditched their crisps in favour of new fruit and vegetable snacks to celebrate Healthy Living Week.


The students enjoy being able to play surrounded by breathtaking views of fields and sea.

The all-through school, which currently has places available for Reception and Year 7 pupils looking to start September 2021, has a seafront location and is surrounded by acres of green field and a giant playground. Facilities provide the ideal setting for the daily miles and outdoor activities that took place in addition to the weekly allocated PE lessons.

The wellbeing push comes a year after Atlantic Academy was awarded Healthy School status by the Department for Education.

Students were encouraged to try new fruit and vegetables. Louis Hiscocks Year 6 enjoyed a Perrision fruit.

Miss Heppell told the Dorset Echo: ‘’It’s important that the students are fit and healthy, it’s good for their wellbeing.

“We had fitness challenges at lunchtime and a winter daily mile run. The children loved the activities that were lined up and the teachers who took part also said how much they enjoyed it. The students were also encouraged to try new fruits and vegetables in their lunchboxes and they were given points for doing so.

“Being outdoors does give you a new lease of life. We live on one of the most beautiful islands in the world and it’s great to encourage children to get off their devices and outdoors.’’