Active Schools

We are all increasingly aware of the inactivity epidemic that is overtaking the UK.

36% of the UK population are physically inactive. We are 20% less active than a generation ago, and the problem is getting worse.”

– Designed to Move – a practical guide for school leaders, Nike, 2014

We all agree, that schools have an important role to play in helping young people to become more active.

Every primary school child should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day. At least 30 minutes should be delivered in school every day through active break times, PE, extra-curricular clubs, active lessons, or other sport and physical activity events.

– Childhood Obesity Plan, HM Government, 2016

Sedentary Behaviour

Sedentary behaviour is not simply a lack of physical activity. It is a group of behaviours that occur whilst sitting or lying down and that require very low energy expenditure. A child who obtains at least 60 minutes per day of moderate physical activity can still be considered sedentary if they spend a great deal of their time sitting or lying down, e.g, playing video games.

But we also understand that schools have other demands placed on them that can appear far more immediate: Attendance, behaviour, progress and attainment, closing the achievement gap, and building character and values.

The good news is: Becoming an Active School can help to achieve both sets of goals!

Research evidence is increasingly underlining what we’ve always instinctively known as teachers. That getting our pupils moving, and reducing the time they spend sitting down leads to happier, healthier, more productive young people.

“Evidence shows that education and health are closely linked. So promoting the health and wellbeing of pupils and students within schools and colleges has the potential to improve their educational outcomes and their health and wellbeing outcomes.” 

– The link between pupil health and wellbeing and attainment A briefing for head teachers, governors and staff in education settings Public Health England, 2014

How to become an Active School

The first step to becoming an Active School is to track physical activity levels in pupils so you can then put in place interventions in order to improve them. This can be done using the Active School Planner.

Active School Planner

The Planner is an easy to use tool which enables school to:

  • Look at where and how the school is increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour in pupils
  • Find guidance and best practice to continue to make improvements
  • Provide reports as evidence to show how you are using Primary Sport Premium Funding to improve health outcomes for pupils

For more information about the Active School Planner and to sign up to use it visit

Ways to increase pupils physical activity levels

There are many ways that you can make your school day more active:

  • Active Travel – e.g. walking, scooting or cycling to school
  • Active Mornings – e.g. equipment available on playground for pupils to use in the morning before school
  • Active Classrooms – e.g. reduce pupils sitting for to long, encourage pupils to get up and move
  • Active Breaks – e.g. games/activities during break and lunch times, target less active pupils
  • Active Clubs – e.g. specific clubs aimed at increasing targeted pupils physical activity levels (Change4Life club)

None of the above suggestions need to have a big impact on the school day. It is interesting to see how a few minutes of each option can add up to achieve the recommended 30 minutes.

Support available

The SSP is able to support its member schools to become Active Schools. Contact Us for more information.