What Works in Schools and Colleges?

Promoting the health and wellbeing of pupils and students within schools and colleges has the potential to improve both educational and health and wellbeing outcomes.

Public Health England, in conjunction with the Youth Sport Trust and the Association of Colleges Sport, has identified eight key principles to increase physical activity in schools and colleges.

  1. Develop and deliver multi-component interventions
  2. Ensure skilled workforce
  3. Engage student voice
  4. Create active environments
  5. Offer choice and variety
  6. Embed in curriculum teaching and learning
  7. Promote active travel
  8. Embed monitoring and evaluation

Evidence shows there is an association between being physically active and academic performance, however, this is not a simple linear relationship as other factors are at play. Moderate to vigorous activity has a positive long-term association with academic attainment in some subjects, meanwhile as little as five minutes of regular physical activity has positive results in academic behaviour. Furthermore, there is an inverse relationship between time spent being sedentary at 14 and GCSE results at 17.

We also know that being physically active helps to promote both physical and emotional health and wellbeing.

With children and young people, during term time, spending the majority of their waking hours in school and college and eight million children and young people attending state funded schools and over 1.1 million 16-18 year olds studying in colleges and state schools and these locations provide an excellent opportunity for physical activity.