Irena Barker

Lack of exercise in schools may be detrimental to learning


As schools endeavour to meet academic performance measures, physical exercise inevitably slips down the list of priorities and breaktimes are squeezed, leaving students more sedentary as a result. But while it’s clear that being less active is likely to impact negatively on children’s health, could it be detrimental to their learning, too? Irena Barker takes a look

Active duty

At Thorner C of E Primary School, children get gloriously and comprehensively muddy. They climb the trees looming over the school grounds. They run and jump and spin through their breaks. They hula hoop, skip and dance during lesson time. They are a network of perpetually moving cogs oscillating through the classrooms. Head Ian Holmes has designed it that way. He wants his school to be an active school. So his school day is a “moving” school day.

In this respect, Thorner C of E Primary School is the exception, not the rule. The evidence we have suggests schools are becoming more static ...

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