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Helping children lead healthy lives

A ground-breaking programme to promote physical and mental wellbeing in primary schoolchildren has been officially unveiled.

School girls jumping in the playground

The Creating Active Schools (CAS) framework is the first UK-based whole-school physical activity framework of its kind.

Developed with the expertise of 50 regional, national and international stakeholders, the framework has been published in the prestigious International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Development of the CAS was led by Dr Andy Daly-Smith from the Carnegie School of Sport at Leeds Beckett University, working in close partnership with Dan Wilson from the Yorkshire Sport Foundation and Nicola Corrigan from Public Health England, Yorkshire and Humber.

Dr Daly-Smith said: “This is the first framework in the world that has been co-produced from initial conception by practitioners, policymakers and researchers who understand the many components of school-based physical activity and behavioural science.

“We are working with local authorities and schools in multiple regions across the UK to operationalise the framework.

“We are also currently using the framework to support systems change for physical activity as part of the Born in Bradford Sport England local delivery pilot Join Us: Move. Play.”

Other experts have contributed from institutions including the University of Texas, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam UMC, Loughborough University, University of Leicester, Bradford Institute for Health Research, University of Leeds, University of Cambridge and Edge Hill University.

Dan Wilson, Director of Development at Yorkshire Sport Foundation said: “For the first time, we have a map that will support schools to create systems change for physical activity.

“This is a very exciting development in the field of school-based physical activity. We have already received great interest from across the UK on the work that the three organisations are doing to drive whole-school physical activity change using the Creating Active Schools Framework.”

Reinforcing the importance of the CAS and the ethos which shaped its development, Nicola Corrigan, Physical Activity and Obesity lead for Public Health England (Yorkshire and Humber) said: “It can be used to shape future policy, research and practice to embed sustainable PA interventions within schools.

“CAS presents a potential paradigm shift, providing a map and method to guide future co-production by multiple experts of physical activity initiatives ‘with’ schools, while abandoning outdated traditional approaches of implementing interventions ‘on’ schools.”

Beyond the UK, the framework was positively received at a recent Qatar-UK Sport and Education conference, organised by the British Council and Ministry of Education in Qatar.

The CAS project team is currently seeking funding to support the development of a range of free-to-access training workshops to enable all schools within the UK and beyond to create systems change for physical activity so that every child has an equal opportunity to participate in physical activity throughout the school day.

framework diagram for creating active schools

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