Two former Yorkshire school leaders have joined forces to support UK schools, helping them tackle the physical and emotional impact of lockdown on children.
Research led by Leeds Beckett University demonstrates that their Physical Active Learning (PAL) approach tackles inactivity levels – and impacts positively on academic performance.
Wakefield-based education innovators, Tagtiv8 and Community Interest Company, Move and Learn, have been supporting schools over a number of years by integrating movement into traditional curriculum lessons.
Bryn Llewellyn and Ian Holmes will share their work and research at the World Education summit (22-25 March) - with a global audience of school leaders.
The World Education summit’s mission is to share learning from pioneers of teaching and some of the most celebrated minds in learning today. The online conference takes place across five time zones with tens of thousands of educators.
Sport England’s Active Lives Children and Young People Survey showed the number of children who were physically active fell during the 2019/20 academic year in England, due to the pandemic. Ofsted reported from the first lockdown that some pupils ‘lost physical fitness’ as well as ‘losing stamina in reading and writing.’
Bryn Llewellyn said: “As educators, we are well positioned to help children and teachers who have been affected mentally and physically by lockdowns. We have all re-evaluated what is important during the pandemic. This is the time to embrace a new, better approach. Health and well-being should be a priority to ensure children have the best outcomes possible. We want Ofsted and the Department for Education to consider the growing body of evidence from across the globe, as well as research led by Leeds Beckett University, that shows Physical Active Learning impacts positively on academic performance.”
Tagtiv8 was set up in 2012 to combat the concerns of teachers that students were sitting for far too long in schools. The award-winning organisation has worked with teachers and children to develop Physically Active Learning (PAL) games. To date, it has worked with 70,000 children and teachers across seven countries.
Bryn, who worked in UK schools for 25 years as a Teacher, Deputy Head and Acting Head, has fronted a TEDx Talk on the pioneering movement. As an education consultant for the BBC, Bryn was part of the team tasked with creating over 70 BBC Bitesize lessons during lockdown. He is also a consultant for the Premier League, helping foundation trusts deliver PAL solutions to schools across England.
Ian Holmes, co-founder of Move and Learn, has recently moved from being Headteacher at Thorner Primary School to take on the role of Creating Active Schools Director for JU:MP.
Ian said: “Even before the pandemic, insufficient opportunities to be active have meant that our children are losing out in terms of physical health, mental health and even just the joy of learning through methods that don’t require you to sit still. It’s no surprise that we are seeing increasing numbers of children leaving school classified as obese or overweight.
“Teachers and parents alike are desperate to look for outdoor activities that improve physical fitness and educational outcomes. Children are sat for far too long - either at desks unable to concentrate for long periods of time or recently through excessive screen time in both their learning and play during lockdown. Schools should be an inspirational place to learn and play. Movement-based learning should be used across the curriculum and has the potential to be a key strategy in ensuring healthy, happy and successful childhoods.”
Globally 50% of children are insufficiently active. In the UK and other westernised countries, the figure is estimated even higher at 80%. A third of UK children aged 2-15 are classified as obese or overweight. *
Chris Tolson, Head Teacher at St James Academy in Bradford, said: “Playing games engages even the most reluctant learners. Now that spring is here, I am keen to teach children as much as possible outdoors, which has obvious mental as well as physical benefits. Obesity rates are highest in deprived areas such as Bradford, which is a huge concern. I’m eager to encourage a positive, empowering approach to learning after such a despondent, isolating time that has left many families so fatigued. We need to be re-energised.”
Bryn added: “The classroom hasn’t really changed since the Victorian age, where children sat for long periods. At a time of change across the world, we are leading the way in a global movement. It’s time to get moving - and learning.”
Tagtiv8 is also one of the HundrED’s annual global collection of 100 inspiring innovations that are changing the face of education in 2021.
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• HundrED Global Innovation Award 2019/20/21
• Consultants for Premier League, BBC Bitesize, Supermovers and Live Lessons
• Recognised supporter of #ThisGirlCan
• Featured in Forbes magazine
Tagtiv8 Google Drive presentation and statistics.*
St James Academy, Bradford
The school features in this Tagtiv8 video.
The World Education Summit
The Ofsted findings about lockdown 1.0 can be found in this Tagtiv8 blog post - https://tagtiv8.com/ofsted/.
January 2021 Research on activity levels declining