A group of 10 schools across the UK have been working with children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust to introduce and evaluate ‘Active Recovery Curriculums’ which see children spend more time learning outdoors, more active approaches to teaching and learning in lessons other than PE, and an increased focus on learning about health and lifestyle.
And the results are promising, impacting positively not only on pupil’s physical fitness, but their academic progress and mental stamina.
Of the 470 young people who were surveyed as part of the research, spear The Centre for Sport, Physical Education & Activity Research at Canterbury Christchurch University on behalf of the Youth Sport Trust, revealed that since taking part in an Active Recovery Curriculum:
- 75% of teachers reported improvements in academic progress
- Three quarters (74%) of pupils said being active at school helps them learn
- 71% of pupils increased their physical activity levels
- 68% of pupils reported an improvement in their resilience
- 86% of teachers felt that children’s mental wellbeing had improved
The group of schools which took part in introducing Active Recovery Curriculums and which were part of the in-depth study now plan to maintain them into future academic years.
Sian Hall, headteacher at St Breock Primary School in Cornwall, said:
"When children returned to school in March, their stamina for schoolwork had significantly reduced. Their physical fitness had also declined. After introducing an Active Recovery Curriculum, we saw increased engagement, stamina, progress and a more resilient attitude towards their learning.
"The introduction of simple active strategies had a huge impact on our positive return to school, and I would highly encourage other schools to look at how they could increase activity throughout the day."
The Youth Sport Trust has been working with Sport England in association with National Governing Bodies of sport, charities and associated organisations to promote the idea to thousands of schools since May.
Alison Oliver MBE, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said:
“Teachers have been working tirelessly to support young people’s recovery following the huge disruption of the past 18 months. We hope these findings inspire more schools to embrace the contribution that sport and activity can make in helping young people to reconnect, rebuild their confidence and learn.
"This research shows the positive impact an Active Curriculum can have in helping young people to recover from the consequences of the pandemic, but in more settled times too. We believe sport, activity and PE should be core to the education and development of all young people, not just in a moment of crisis but for the long-term.”
Last month the Youth Sport Trust launched a landmark research report, called The Class of 2035, which uses detailed insights from young people and experts across education, health and sport to set out how a generation’s engagement with PE and school sport could evolve between now and 2035. One of its core recommendations is to refocus the school curriculum to place a greater focus on young people’s wellbeing.
Schools, local authorities, and families can access free ideas and resources for getting children active before, during and after the school day through a Sport England National Lottery funded ‘Active Recovery Hub’ which sits on the School Games website. Visit www.yourschoolgames.com/active-recovery.
When children returned to school in March, their stamina for schoolwork had significantly reduced. Their physical fitness had also declined. After introducing an Active Recovery Curriculum, we saw increased engagement, stamina, progress and a more resilient attitude towards their learning.