Primary schools across Leeds are getting set to boost their pupils’ motivation for physical activity as they launch a new competitive wristband challenge in partnership with Leeds Beckett University and Leeds Active Schools.
Addressing new government recommendations that primary schools provide 30 minutes of physical activity for children per day towards their daily target of 60 minutes, the new scheme will see pupils earning bronze, silver and gold wristbands as they smash their targets over the course of the coming school year. Physical activity includes all forms of activity that increase the heart rate, such as walking, active play, cycling and sports.
As well as increasing physical activity levels during the week, the scheme aims to get pupils to change their habits and improve their fitness and wellbeing. After two weeks of meeting the 30-minute target every day, children will earn a certificate. At the half-term mark, they are awarded a bronze wristband; an additional full term gets them a silver wristband; and pupils who commit to the challenge for the full school year will win a gold wristband.
Consulting with young people, teachers and PE experts, Paul Ogilvie, a Senior PE Consultant in the Carnegie School of Education at Leeds Beckett University, developed the 30:30 Physical Activity Wristband project which will be rolled out in Leeds primary schools starting this October.
Paul explained: “Too many young people now have lifestyles that include daily long car journeys, technology that encourages sedentary behaviour, and poor dietary habits that can contribute to poor health and fitness levels. Long periods of this type of lifestyle can result in obvious long-term issues such as obesity, which can manifest itself into a daily cycle that is challenging to break.
“It is hoped that our ‘30:30 Physical Activity Wristband’ offer will motivate young people to make choices that increase their activity levels. If children decide to play on their bikes for longer, jump off the sofa to participate in active play or choose to walk to school instead of being driven, then this project will be deemed a success. We are asking schools to work with all pupils and families to interpret the guidelines appropriately, ensuring this offer is accessed by ALL pupils in our local schools.
“Our ambition is that young people will be motivated to earn these prizes through choosing to be more physically active. We hope that young people will wear their wristbands with pride and that this will be recognisable across the city. We are looking forward to pupils and families learning about our offer and changing their daily physical activity habits, which then contribute to a more permanent and sustainable improved lifestyle.”
Schools will complete a simple data collection sheet to keep track of pupils’ physical activity levels and to build an insight into what motivates pupils to change their activity habits.
The scheme, in partnership, with Leeds Active Schools, has been presented to 150 primary school PE subject leaders and was officially launched in Leeds over October half-term.