We have worked with schools over a number of years to help create better learning through the introduction of physical activity at various times throughout the school day.

The evidence tells us that when children take part in regular physical activity they benefit from improved confidence, better coordination, better sleep, increased concentration and a better mood. These benefits add up to happier, more confident children who perform better in school resulting in improved academic results. The evidence supporting this approach is cited within these infographics for use in our schools.

Various levels of Physical Activity are recommended for a healthy life, according to age and other factors. Please choose from the following range of infographics from the Chief Medical Officers:
Early years (0 to 5 years old)
Children and young people (5 to 18 years old)
Disabled children and disabled young people

Further resources can be seen at the Youth Sport Trust’s Active School Planner website, at the Change 4 Life School Zone or at Discovery Education’s Active Kids Do Better website.

We endorse introducing activity not purely for the sake of doing so but to enhance the learning, increase focus and reduce low-level disruption.

The following examples are ones we’ve developed with a wide variety of schools across our partnership. For support to develop one of the examples within your own school please email chris.story@hartfordhigh.co.uk

School Environments: Do you make use of outdoor space/ hall space/ corridor space?

Active Starters and Mini Plenaries: Do you use of energisers to start a lesson? Whip Around- tell their partner something from the lesson before (e.g. a fact about a story) before children can sit down; ‘Walk and talks’ half way through to check understanding/ stimulate new ideas.

Here is a video of children from Grange Community Primary School using an active starter to engage teh children at the beginning of an English lesson.
What ways can you incorporate some physical activity in these parts of a lesson?

Active breaks in lessons: Do you use resources available to school (5-a-day fitness subscription, BBC Supermovers, Go Noodle, YouTube POV simulation etc)?

Here is an example of a ‘Point of View’ (POV) simulation which can be easily used in the classroom (children run behind their seat as the sledge starts before returning to their seat as the run down the track starts. They hold the sides of their chair, lift their feet from the floor to engage their core and lean from side to side with the bends) What other POV simulations can you do?

Exercise Alarms: Decide on an “exercise of the day”. Pick a child per lesson to raise the alarm each lesson. They can shout it whenever they want. When the alarm is called everyone stands up and, on the spot, does the pre-discussed exercise for 30 seconds.

Here is great example of an Exercise Alarm from Grange Community Primary School – it needs practice but after using it for a few days look how teh children return straight to their work!
Could you use an activity like an Exercise Alarm in your classroom?

Active display: Does your school use display space to promote physical activity across it’s community? Displays could include: How many minutes? Children/ parents write down how many active minutes they have completed that day. Awards for different levels of achievement. Provide ideas of physical activity, physical award, photo’s of home activity. Parents corner.

Active pickups/ drop offs: Activities that parents can do with their children when they drop them off or pick them up e.g. Mass Wake n’ Shake

Daily Physical Activity: What whole class/group/school activities do you provide? Find out what your children want to take part in (especially those who are least active). This can include Golden/Daily Mile but consider not everyone enjoys running and there is a need for a varied range of physical activity.

Active Travel: Cycling programmes such as Ready Set Ride and Bikeability; Walk to school week; Sustrans Big Pedal; Walking Bus.

Schools all across our network have brilliant examples of how to incorporate more physical activity throughout the school day for the benefit of learning. Here are a few examples of the ways schools have adapted the ideas above to suit their settings: