Following the UK's astounding sporting success this summer, and on the day of the world's largest half marathon, the Bupa Great North Run, Bupa has announced a £1 million investment in school sport over the next three years, through its partnership with the Youth Sport Trust. The money will be spent on expanding the Bupa Start to Move programme, which was created in 2010 by Bupa and the Youth Sport Trust to transform how movement is taught to 4-7 year olds.
Bupa Start to Move has been operating in more than 3,000 schools to date. It equips teachers with the knowledge and confidence to teach the fundamental skills of movement, stability and locomotion - creating the foundations for sport, dancing or any other form of activity. Teachers receive free training, support and peer mentoring, ensuring that children learn the essentials at a crucial stage.
An extensive evaluation of the programme by the University of Roehampton has shown that nearly a quarter of teachers (24%) who took part in Bupa Start to Move have seen improvements in the behaviour of their pupils.
As well as improving behaviour, six in 10 teachers reported an improvement in learning amongst pupils, citing more confidence in basic skills and movement, and better recall in remembering what they have learnt.
Stuart Fletcher, chief executive, Bupa, said:
Bupa is passionate about inspiring people to get moving and active. We want to develop the Mo Farah, Ellie Simmonds and Jess Ennis of tomorrow and we know that support from teachers during children's formative years is crucial for future sporting success.
"We're very pleased to see the programme showing such positive results. Teachers from more than 3,000 schools have now been trained but we now want to roll out Start to Move to reach over 100,000 children over the next year. We're also seeking to help shape the system by using teachers to train and support each other and by working with seven Higher Education Institutions to improve the training of all new teachers. We hope this will pave the way for a lifetime's participation in sport and movement.
Sue Campbell, chair of Youth Sport Trust, said:
"Bupa Start to Move is showing some fantastic early results, which is why we're so delighted that Bupa has committed to supporting the programme for a further three years. This investment will help us continue to build a school sport system that can truly inspire young people following the fantastic summer of sport we have all witnessed."
Bupa Start to Move provides free professional development, starting with a day of training delivered by experienced national trainers. Teachers are then supported on an ongoing basis to self review their practice and development needs with the support of local educational specialists. The Start to Move website, www.starttomovezone.com, provides additional free support with video clips of children demonstrating their progression in activities; how they have adopted the basic movement skills and developed these into more complex activities.