INCREASING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY:

The Clavering 30:30 strategy for Physical Activity

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Introduction

As well as aiming to provide a challenging and well-sequenced curriculum (including learning about the body in PE and science), we are very aware of the need to provide ample opportunity for our pupils to take physical exercise during the school day – with lots of opportunities to get out of breath!

Having consulted with families, pupils and staff, we implemented our ‘Clavering 30:30 strategy for physical activity’ in September 2017, ensuring that every Clavering pupil is physically active for at least thirty minutes during every school day and that no Clavering pupil is sedentary for longer than thirty minutes during any school day. In other words, no Clavering child sits down for longer than thirty minutes!

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Development

Following the launch of the first phase of the ‘Childhood Obesity’ document in August 2016, with much speculation being made about the ‘Sugar Tax’, the potential doubling of primary schools’ PE and sport premium and the delay in the introduction of the Healthy Schools Rating Scheme, we decided that the 2016-17 academic year would be a good time to put together our plans to increase physical activity and decrease sedentary behaviour at Clavering from September 2017.

During the course of the 2016-17 academic year, we explored various possibilities to increase physical activity, including changes to our playtimes and lunchtimes; the building of an additional playground (funded with our increased PE and sport premium money); changes to our extra-curricular programme; and participation in Joe Wicks’ live workouts. Questionnaires were sent out to Clavering families and staff members; plus we also engaged with focus groups of pupils.

The evaluation of different stakeholders’ responses was taken very seriously. We knew that our strategy would be a disaster if we didn’t get everyone to ‘buy in’ to it; therefore, the responses from the questionnaires and focus groups helped to inform our creation of our physical activity strategy, including the design of our ‘Get Up, Get Active’ programme (for fifteen minutes of sustained physical activity) and the creation of our initial ‘Active Break’ resources (for the other fifteen minutes of physical activity split up into five three-minute sessions).

Following training for staff, the creation of our ‘Get Up, Get Active’ and ‘Active Break’ videos, our registration with initiatives like ‘Super Movers’ and 'Active Kids Do Better', and a special launch assembly with pupils, we were ready to begin in September 2017.

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At the start of the 2017-18 academic year, we all came back to school excited to join in with our first ‘Get Up, Get Active’ session! Every class has a member of staff leading the sessions; plus all of our Upper School girls complete their sessions in our school hall which gives them more room (and privacy) in the hall and the Upper School boys more room in their four respective classrooms.

Each day has a different theme and children, especially our older pupils, are increasingly understanding how different exercises are targeting different areas: Mondays focus on core strength; Tuesdays focus on cardio; Wednesdays focus on upper body strength; Thursdays focuses on cardio; and Fridays focus on lower body strength.

All of the videos include popular, lively, songs with our own pupils demonstrating the exercises. All around the school you can hear music blasting and children exercising! Typically, well over 300 pupils each morning attend our ‘Get Up, Get Active’ sessions with only a handful of pupils needing to attend our catch up sessions.

Our sessions are very easy for the staff members to deliver because the videos have been carefully planned. Ultimately, all the staff members need to do is press play; however, in reality, many of our staff members are as keen to join in with the sessions as the children which is excellent for their own fitness and wellbeing!  

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In addition to our ‘Get Up, Get Active’ sessions, all of the teachers from Year 1 to Year 6 have introduced our five active breaks every day (totalling at least fifteen minutes), ensuring that every pupil is physically active for at least thirty minutes and no child is sedentary for longer than thirty minutes.

Although our active videos are great, teachers have been encouraged to link the active breaks to learning; for example, pupils might practise their times tables whilst squatting during their maths lessons!

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Outcomes

Following the introduction of the ‘Clavering 30:30 strategy for physical activity’ our teachers have found that pupils are concentrating more, focusing better and are less distracted during lessons. This includes a significant decrease in the number of children needing to go to the toilet simply because they need to get up and move.

Attendance figures at school have also improved because nearly every pupil is coming in before the official start of the school day to participate in their ‘Get Up, Get Active’ sessions.

We have had researchers come to Clavering to investigate reasons for the success of our boys’ academic results (in comparison with national results) and our pupil-premium-eligible pupils’ results (in comparison with national results). It has been encouraging to see that they have recognised the contribution of the Clavering Physical Education, School Sport and Physical Activity Programme to our academic success and, even more importantly, our pupils’ emotional wellbeing and mental health.

Over time, we also expect to see improvements in our pupils’ fitness levels and strength.

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Other opportunities

Obviously, because the classroom sessions guarantee thirty minutes of physical activity, other opportunities (like active learning, active transport, active playtimes, active lunchtimes, extra-curricular activities, etc) are all in addition to the thirty minutes.

Our Eco Schools Committee continues to promote active transport which has steadily increased over time and, despite only having one hall, we have physical activity sessions every day before school, during morning playtimes, during lunchtimes, during afternoon playtimes and after school. Some of these sessions target specific groups of pupils, e.g. children who need additional physical literacy input or children who are considered to be less active.

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Sharing our work with others

The Hartlepool School Games Organiser is fully aware of our strategy for increasing physical activity and has signposted other schools to come and visit us to see the programme in action.

Our Youth Sport Trust Development Manager, Claire Tennyson, is also very involved with our programme. Claire and our Deputy Headteacher and PESSPA Programme Director, Mr McAvoy, jointly presented at the Tees Valley PESSPA Conference in 2018. Their presentation on increasing physical activity was repeated three times and was presented to over a quarter of all primary schools in the Tees Valley. Subsequently, a lot of schools have contacted us for more information and advice; plus a number have visited the school.

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As part of our work with the Youth Sport Trust (YST), we have now become a ‘Lead School for Health and Wellbeing’ (as well as being a YST ‘Ambassador School’ and Mr McAvoy being a ‘YST Headteacher Ambassador’) and our physical activity strategy is currently being evaluated as a piece of action research. Stuart Kay, who is the YST Schools Network Director, visited the school earlier in the year to see the ‘Clavering 30:30 strategy for physical activity’ in action and has shared our work nationally.

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For more information about our work to increase physical activity or if you have any suggestions about how we can improve our aim to increase physical activity and decrease sedentary behaviour, please contact Mr McAvoy on 01429 422088 or at PESSPA@claveringschool.org.uk. We are always keen to work collaboratively with individuals, schools and other organisations to help children become healthy, well-rounded and successful individuals.

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