When Irlam Endowed Primary School were selected to take part in the Active Lives Children and Young People Survey they were keen to complete it as they had always promoted physical activity. They hoped the report would reflect their work and provide some data to back up what they were doing.
One area that they pride themselves on is student enjoyment of PE, this is developed in part through youth voice and breadth of opportunity. The sports council meets each year and students talk to their peers about what activities they would like to do which is fed back to staff to support the selection of new sports; table tennis is the latest addition. This has ultimately led to a wide range of activities being offered to students, ranging from quidditch to water polo, the aim of this is to provide exposure to different activities and to support every student to find an activity for them.
What they learnt
Their report proved eye opening. The number of children achieving the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) guidelines of 60+ minutes of physical activity a day was just 26%, with a further 38% averaging 60+ minutes a day. These results were still above both local and national figures; nationally just 17.5% of children and young people met CMO guidelines.
From their own knowledge and conversations with students it became apparent that weekend activity levels were pulling up the average for a number of students. Many of their students would be active for three to four hours a day at the weekend across various activities.
Meanwhile, the involvement of youth voice and a varied PE curriculum appears to have had the desired effect with 95% of students enjoying exercise and sports.
Ultimately the report provided an opportunity to re-evaluate what they were doing, change their expectations and provide a route to further develop their future physical activity offering.
What they’ve done
With 76% of pupils not meeting the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity in school, Irlam Endowed Primary School have looked at different ways to increase activity during the school day. As such they’ve introduced The Daily MileTM and experimented with how it is best to be used. Initially it wasn’t timetabled which led to it being done very sporadically. Since then it has been timetabled and this ensures all the children take part at least three times a week.
They have also used the report to readdress PE lessons and they now ensure that the Youth Sport Trusts four strands for wellbeing, Healthy Me, Physical Me, Thinking Me and Social Me, are embedded into lessons. This has led to an emphasis on the health benefits of being active and to support children in understanding the physical and mental benefits of exercise.
The data from the report has been useful in gaining buy in from the Headteacher and senior leadership by highlighting the fact that what they were already doing was not good enough for the children. They are keen to provide the best for their students.
Irlam Endowed are looking to take part in the survey again to be able to see if the changes they have made have had a positive impact on the students. This will also allow them to continue comparing their progress on both a local and national level. They will also be using it to continue changing and updating their provision to help ensure that they are providing the best for their students and helping them to develop positive, healthy, long term relationships with physical activity. This will ultimately help them drive change and have a clear focus upon areas they need to work on.
More information on the survey, including how you can take part can be found here.
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