Friday 7th February marked the official release of the first UK-based whole-school physical activity framework – the Creating Active Schools (CAS) framework.
It was created to embed activity at the heart of a school’s ethos, and the collaborative and co-produced effort is evidenced in the prestigious International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity. The paper can be viewed here.

It was developed by Dr Andy Daly-Smith from the Carnegie School of Sport at Leeds Beckett University, working in close partnership with Yorkshire Sport Foundation and Public Health England (Yorkshire and Humber). Dr Andy Daly-Smith is currently leading on the research arm of Bradford’s Sport England local delivery pilot, JU:MP and has introduced the framework to schools within Bradford, in the JU:MP pilot area.

Dr Andy Daly-Smith commented: “This is the first UK-based whole-school physical activity framework and we are delighted to be working with 13 primary schools in Bradford to operationalise it, as part of the JU:MP programme.”

He added: “We have worked with each of the 13 schools to help them understand the framework and how it can be used to make sure every child in the school can be active. This might be by infusing physical activity into an everyday maths lessons or developing an active travel plan to encourage local families to scoot, cycle or walk to school.

“Each of the schools are currently working through their plans and some schools have already adapted their mission, vision or values to reflect their commitment to supporting children to be active.”

The 13 schools that are using the framework are Margaret McMillan Primary, St Cuthbert and the First Martyrs’ Catholic Primary, Lister Primary, Lilycroft Primary, Wellington Primary, Westminster Primary, Grove House Primary, Peel Park Primary, Leytop Primary, Academy of St James, Beckfoot Allerton, Crossley Hall Primary and St Matthews Catholic Primary.

Gaynor Kilmister, Headteacher at Lister Primary champions the framework. “It has allowed us to pull together things that we’ve been doing, or thinking of doing, in a way that is easy for all staff to follow and get involved with.

“When planning for the week ahead, staff think of how we can incorporate physical activity into lessons, at break, dinner and drop off and pick up times. With the framework guiding us, it’s as though we’ve been given permission to do what we’ve wanted to do for a while, and it’s really taken off.”

Lister Primary have been working to the framework since the initial workshop that was held in October 2019, just 5 months ago: “Staff are starting to think differently as to where physical activity fits in. We’re ‘flipping’ the traditionally active and non-active lessons for instance bringing Maths into PE. We’re also making sure arrangements are in place to still be active if we need to be inside, for example to do our Daily Mile. During storm Ciara it wasn’t safe to be outside so we had 15 minutes of running and physical activity timetabled for each class in the sports hall instead, this was requested by staff and pupils; they didn’t want to miss out on the daily session.

“Children really enjoy Active Phonics lessons and because of the way the lessons are structured now, children who tended to be shy and wouldn’t usually get involved are prompted to take part, they are no longer ‘passive learners’ which really increases their confidence and social skills. Conversations happen naturally between the children and they work together to solve problems.”

Ms Kilmister reports noticing a shift in attitude towards physical activity. “The biggest change I’ve seen so far is in relation to children wanting to be active. Children get upset now if they aren’t able to do planned physical activities.

“Some used to drag their feet and really struggle to run the Daily Mile for instance. Most are now able to complete the full run and they are proud of themselves for doing it – rightly so! The change in their physical capability is noticeable.”

An unintended consequence to being active in school is that staff are also seeing benefits to their own health as a result of taking part in the physical activity with the children, and it has kick started them into being healthier away from work.

Schools are one part of the ‘whole system’ that the Sport England local delivery pilot, JU:MP is working with. The JU:MP programme, led by Active Bradford, is one of 12 pilots across the country to test and learn how we can build healthier, more active communities across England. The programme aims to inspire, energise and support children and families to increase physical activity levels through more movement and play.

 

A Public Health Webinar on the development of the CAS framework and impact in Yorkshire can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sy8Y3tnw4LI&feature=youtu.be

For more information about the Framework and how it is being used contact Andy Daly-Smith: a.daly-smith@leedsbeckett.ac.uk

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