Clavering Primary School



Developing a lifelong love of physical activity

'I’ve never entered a school which had embedded a culture of Physical Activity more so than Clavering Primary School: a pioneer for Physical Education, School Sport and Physical Activity (PESSPA) across the country, operating in a local authority with very little opportunities.' Clavering Primary School is 'a beacon of best practice for all things PE, School Sport and Physical Activity.' (Jordan Stephenson, Regional Development Officer, Youth Sport Trust)

'The Physical Education, School Sport and Physical Activity (PESSPA) provision provided by Clavering Primary School is exceptional.' and 'It is fantastic to see how the School Games values and passion for the subject are embedded across the school and embraced by all students, members of staff and governors.' (Kate Robinson, Hartlepool School Games Organiser)

Opportunities for physical activity at Clavering Primary School include:

  • physically active pedagogy across the curriculum;
  • guaranteed minimum of thirty minutes of physical activity in every class every day;
  • daily 'Get Up, Get Active' sessions for every pupil in Years 1 to 6 before school;
  • five 'active breaks' in class for every pupil in Years 1 to 6;
  • active travel to and from school;
  • two active playtimes (morning and afternoon) and active lunchtimes;
  • around twenty extra-curricular PESSPA clubs ran every week;
  • intra-school sport opportunities for every pupil from Year 1 to Year 6;
  • inter-school sport opportunities across a wide range of sport contexts;
  • at least one annual opportunity to go out into 'the wild' in every year group from Reception to Year 6;
  • three progressively challenging residentials in Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6, totalling ten days away from home;
  • two hours of quality weekly Physical Education in Reception up to Year 6 as well as PE / physical development in our Early Years Foundation Stage;
  • opportunities to become active conservationists through our gardening clubs, Eco Schools initiatives and John Muir Award Programme;
  • regular opportunities for outdoor learning and fieldwork.

Did you know that Clavering Primary School was the first school in Hartlepool to gain the School Games Platinum Award and our work to increase physical activity is part of a national case study?

The information below, detailing the introduction of the Clavering 30:30 strategy for Physical Activity, is taken from a case study written with the School Games network that is available to every school involved in the School Games Programme.



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!


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.

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!  

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!


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.


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.


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

Regionally, our Deputy Headteacher and PESSPA Programme Director, Mr McAvoy, was asked to be a keynote speaker at the Tees Valley PESSPA Conference in 2018, focusing on physical activity at Clavering. His 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.

Nationally, in the autumn term of the 2018-2019 academic year, we were honoured to be asked to share the story behind and impact of the ‘Clavering 30:30 strategy for physical activity’ at the National School Games Organisers’ Summit. Our workshop apparently drew the largest audience of the day and we presented to over 150 School Games Organisers who work with over 7,000 UK schools. Following this, we have been asked to present at numerous local and regional conferences, speaking to professionals from thousands of schools; support PESSPA leaders in schools and multi-academy trusts; and provide 'cutting edge expertise' as part of the Youth Sport Trust's Practitioner Development Programme.

Thank you to all of the members of the Clavering Family who continue to support our aim to achieve the physical, mental, emotional and social benefits of being a physically active school.

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

Clavering Primary School is 'a stellar example of what is possible through PESSPA' and 'there are few schools out there doing as much as Clavering; plus what is so special at Clavering is that it is embedded and led by pupils.' (Stuart Kay, Schools Director, Youth Sport Trust)

Finally, we were honoured to ask to work alongside the Department for Education to construct their online physical activity platform, promoting best practice in increasing physical activity in schools, both for children's physical and mental development:

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 We are always keen to work collaboratively with individuals, schools and other organisations to help children become healthy, well-rounded and successful individuals.