The Calderdale Active Schools programme launched in May 2021 and has been developed as part of the Active Calderdale movement, funded by Sport England. The programme supports schools to provide students with more opportunity to be active throughout the school day and beyond, and is completely free of charge to all schools in the borough.
The Council received overwhelming support for the initial trial project, with places over-subscribed by 180%. Rather than limit the opportunities for schools, the programme was split into different phases. Phase one launched in October 2021 and consisted of 12 primary and 2 secondary schools; phase two in January 2022 involved a further 10 primary school and now phase three is starting to be delivered, with opportunities available for every remaining school in the borough to take part.
Each school taking part receives training and support to develop a bespoke action plan. The opportunities to be active are maximised with simple, fun, and enjoyable activities such as a stand-up register or active lining up.
Activity is also incorporated into lessons wherever possible and might include star jump times tables, spelling relays, literacy orienteering or simply standing to complete a group task rather than sitting around a table. Schools are given a raft of ideas and suggestions to implement as they see fit and encouraged to share good practice, which is helping to build an ever-increasing bank of resources.
Invitations to get involved in the Active Schools Programme are being sent to all schools to help more of Calderdale’s children and young people to get moving and be active.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, Coun Adam Wilkinson, said: “The response to our Active Schools Programme has been quite astonishing. The programme was developed to highlight the importance of being active and the many associated benefits, but the schools taking part have reported that its impact has gone way beyond simply enabling students to move more.
“Since starting the programme, schools have reported benefits including increased attainment and achievement, improved learning attitude and behaviour and improved relationships between staff and students and the schools and parents/carers. This impressive feedback has seen additional schools request to be involved and we’re delighted to be launching phase three of the programme with schools right across the borough.”
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Towns, Engagement and Public Health, Coun Sarah Courtney, said: “The Active schools programme is designed to naturally build movement into the school day. This makes being active a part of school life and promotes positive attitudes towards physical activity.
“Schools are supported with initial ideas, but many taking part have found really creative ways to be more active. What’s more, the programme isn’t just benefitting pupils, school staff have also reported that they’ve been more active themselves since taking part.”
Active Calderdale is one of 12 Local Delivery Pilot areas funded through Sport England and the National Lottery to tackle longstanding inequalities in activity levels.
For all the latest information and updates on the work being done in Calderdale to promote physical activity and encourage people to move more, visit https://active.calderdale.gov.uk and follow @ActiveCdale on Twitter and @ActiveCalderdale on Facebook / Instagram.