Yorkshire WaterYorkshire Water:

Cool Schools – Decreasing dehydration in primary school children

Cool School


Yorkshire Water wished to build upon their Corporate Social Responsibility programme and approached Lamerton Swales to develop a campaign that repositioned tap waters' role in health.


The project began in 2002, and was part of the successful campaign to make drinking water a mandatory requirement in schools by 2007. Dehydration and a lack of accessible, palatable drinking water in schools was an increasing problem, causing urinary tract infections , a rise in diabetes, headaches, irritability, low concentration and poor performance.


Primary and Secondary research, interviews, focus groups, health community consultation

Steering group recruitment and stakeholder engagement activity

Schools engagement programme with
4-7 yrs olds

Outreach programme and
theatre performance

Product development

Press, Public Relations and lobbying


Healthy Schools Programme, Health Protection Agency, 5-a-day, Health Development Agency, Community Dieticians, Youth Sport Trust, Leeds Teaching Hospital, local schools, ERICS (Childhood Continence Resources), and Kidney UK.


  • There was a ‘cool’ factor of the big brands – tap water was not cool!
  • Drinking water was unappealing and inaccessible; a tap in the toilet was often the only source
  • Children had no means of storing or carrying water when it comes from a tap
  • Teachers feared drinking water in schools would lead to increased toilet trips and fights
  • Parents thought tap water was an inferior product to juice or fizzy drinks


Cool Schools, a creative behaviour change campaign, was developed to sit alongside the existing CSR strategy;

  • ‘Cool Schools’ branded tap water as the ‘Cool Fuel’ drink of choice.
  • Branded mains-fed water coolers, designed to appeal to young children, were donated to primary schools. They were fun to use, easily accessible and chilled the water, making it appetising.
  • Unique ‘Cool Fuel’ water bottles, designed by children for children, were provided to increase access and ease of use.
  • A rap performer ‘S Cool’ was brought on board to perform the H2O song to participating schools
  • CDRoms and posters accompanied an S Cool visit and the cool-fuel.com website was launched by Girls Aloud in 2004.

Captain Splosh Mask


Water became the 2nd drink of choice in primary school children in Yorkshire. Parents and teachers noticed an improvement in concentration, energy levels and behaviour.  Since 2002, Yorkshire Water has donated 1400 mains fed water coolers to primary schools across the region. The campaign played a pivotal role in the introduction of drinking water as a Healthy School Standard in 2006, and mandatory drinking water provision in 2007.

Cool Schools

Yorkshire Water Cool Schools