Active Schools Series - Ash Green Primary

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Each month we’ll shine a spotlight on one of our Active Schools and highlight all that they do to support not only staff and pupils but also the wider community to be physically active. To kick off the series, this month’s spotlight falls on Ash Green Community Primary School. 

Ash Green Community Primary School is in Mixenden, North Halifax. It is one of the most deprived areas in Calderdale with over 57% of pupils enrolled eligible for free school meals. The school provides a vital role not only through education but also as a hub for the heart of the community. As one of Active Calderdale’s Phase 1 Trailblazers, Ash Green’s journey to becoming an Active School began in July 2021 and in the 18 months since, staff have introduced a plethora of initiatives and ways to be active that have had far-reaching benefits not only on physical fitness, but on wider life skills. 

Initiatives to move more in lesson time 

The school’s PE Leads created bespoke action plans for all pupils from nursery to Year 6. These give staff daily and weekly goals to include in their teaching such as using a vocabulary/phonics hunt where children follow clues to move around an area and gather literacy cards. The result of this is that staff are now implementing the actions with a positive impact across the whole school. This is reinforced by each class having an Active Monitor, a named pupil who tracks the class activity with it being noted that ‘children have enjoyed the responsibility' and ‘nudged’ teachers to activate lessons which has motivated teachers. 

Breaktimes and lunchtimes  

Breaktimes are another area of opportunity for more movement and Ash Green utilise their Year 6 Playleaders to lead activities for younger pupils, whilst the adult midday supervisors run a 15-minute activity using a bank of resources. This has had multiple benefits with staff reporting fewer behaviour incidents, increased participation amongst pupils, improved focus on learning when returning to lessons and increased confidence among Playleaders. 

Active Travel 

As part of Calderdale Council’s Living Streets project, the school promotes walking, wheeling and scooting with the school’s PE Lead commenting ‘More and more children are coming to school on a scooter and bike which is brilliant to see. Those who do have to come by car are parking a short distance away and walking so they can support their classmates in trying to be the most active class on their journeys to school’.  

PE and School Sport 

The introduction of regular inter-school competitions has caused a buzz around the school. The children have loved the competitions and it has encouraged children who aren’t always the most active to take part as each class member is expected to join in. 

Family and Community 

Mindful of the huge role a school can play by being at the heart of the community, the Headteacher Mungo Sheppard is keen for the school’s facilities to be used outside of normal school hours, with the upper site hosting a range of activities from Saturday football sessions to family fitness boot camps. They also play host to a walking netball club with local girls and women aged 6 to 64 coming together each week to enjoy being active. Furthermore, the facility is one of Calderdale’s Healthy Holidays venues, where 40 children and young people join Positive Impact Sports each day to take part in various activities and enjoy healthy meals and snacks, all provided free of charge during the school holidays. Watch our video below to discover more about the fantastic role Ash Green Primary plays in the wider community.

The examples given here are just a flavour of the many ways in which Ash Green Community Primary School supports their pupils and the wider community to grow, develop and flourish through physical activity. Well done to everyone involved on becoming a truly Active School. 

Creating Active Schools is a free and fully-supported programme available to all schools in the borough. If your school is interested in becoming an Active School, contact ActiveCalderdale@calderdale.gov.uk for more information.