Active School Champions

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Enabling the Sustainability of Creating Active Schools

Calderdale’s Active Schools (CAS) programme, which sees schools implement opportunities to be active throughout the school day and beyond, launched 12 months ago with 24 Trailblazer schools including 2 secondary schools. Having now extended to all schools in the borough, Active Calderdale wants to ensure that schools are given every support they need to become as successful as the Trailblazers, and so we created Active School Champions.

The Champions’ role is to encourage, support and guide schools in their local area to become Active Schools. All Trailblazers were invited to apply in a process that involved statements and evidence of what they themselves have done to become Active Schools, and from the applications Champions for 3 local areas were selected.

Congratulations to:

  • Calder: Wainstalls School
  • East Calderdale: Withinfields Primary School
  • Sowerby Bridge: New Road Primary School

Schools are embracing the CAS programme and the opportunity to guide other schools through the process.

"As our whole staff team are fully supportive and understand the huge benefits and positive impact that being active has for our pupils' physical and mental health & wellbeing, the active agenda is fully embedded and intrinsic within all areas of school life at Wainstalls School.

Continuing to promote children being active is a significant part of our School Development Plan, which supports our drive to support children's mental health and wellbeing, and support their positive behaviour.

'Active Learning' supports children to become more engaged with their learning, keep fitter and healthier, more mentally alert, more positive, and more resilient. We are all committed to continuously plan for and deliver a range of active activities to embed our active ethos into all areas of the curriculum.

We were delighted that we were successful in our application to become a Calderdale Active School Champion. We are fully committed to supporting children throughout Calderdale to become healthier and happier, and we are keen to lend our expertise to support other schools to become successful Active Schools through targeted activity initiatives."

Linda Waugh, Principal of Wainstalls School
Three school boys moving around outside looking at plants and writing on their clipboards.
Active Learning at New Road Primary School

"One of our school priorities was to look at ways to enhance our provision to provide an environment that promotes positive wellbeing for our pupils, staff and families. It was important that the introduction of more active learning was easy to implement and didn't increase the workload of the teachers or add to the demands of an already busy daily timetable."

Sharon Harwood, Headteacher of New Road Primary School

Plans for the future

The Champions are already having an impact by supporting others to set up after school clubs and sharing the initiatives that have worked in their setting. It is envisaged that as more schools come onboard, the Champions will facilitate shared learning and best practise through local network support and ensure that the vital message of the importance of being active is highlighted throughout the borough. And with Physical Activity a major pillar of the forthcoming Calderdale Healthy Schools Award, schools who embed the Creating Active Schools programme into their delivery will be celebrated as part of the awards system and recognised for their achievements.

Invitations to become Champions for the North Halifax, Elland and Todmorden cluster areas will be offered in January along with a Secondary School Champion, and as the Active education programme develops to include 0 – 5 years, post-16 and SEND settings, a similar approach will be introduced.

"We are delighted that we joined the Active Schools' programme. It has led to children feeling more comfortable in class due to the short active breaks during longer lessons. Children have also loved some of our bigger initiatives e.g. our active club which is an area of the playground where children that don't enjoy busier parts of the playground can go but still join in active lunchtimes."

Helen York, Headteacher of Withinfields Primary School
Year 6 pupils hard work in an Active English lesson at Wainstalls Primary School

Creating Active Schools is a free and fully-supported programme available to all schools in the borough. Contact for more information.