Springfield's good turn

Springfield first school, in Worthing, has cut behaviour incidents by 95 per cent by introducing creative playtimes. "We used to have 60 to 90 in a week. Now, it's down to nine," says head, Wendy Harkness. First aid incidents are down 50 per cent, while pupils' fitness, PE skills and self-esteem are up, and 85 per cent of them go to after-school dance and sports clubs. Less active children increased their lunchtime activity time from 40 per cent to over 80 per cent. Afternoon lessons also improved. "It's the opposite of wet-play syndrome," says Harkness.

The school has only a small amount of outside space, little fancy equipment, and numerous low fences and windows, yet with careful zoning, staggered lunchtimes and specially trained midday supervisors it manages to keep three separate play areas on the go.

These are rotated daily (see sample week below). "Children need a goal that's achievable in the time they're out there. Anything going over 20 minutes doesn't work," says Sandra Hill, senior midday meals supervisor. Overall, the scheme has been a huge success, with the school delivering two or more hours of high-quality physical activity a week. "Parents keep asking us what we are doing. Their children can't stop talking about it," says Wendy Harkness.

Day 1 Balls - catching, bouncing, rolling to partner. Ropes - skipping (backwards, hopping, crossover). Cricket - fielding.

Day 2 Bean bags - thrown through hoops held horizontal, vertical and at different heights. Hoops - rolling to partner, twirling on body. Basketball - five-minute skills practice then team games.

Day 3 Skittles. Ropes - group skipping with rhymes. Stinger - two children try to tag the others.

Day 4 Balls - individual skills practice, such as bouncing on the move. Dragon's treasure - game with hoops and beanbags. Tennis - with partner, hoop in centre, one bounces ball in hoop, other returns using racquet.

Day 5 Beanbags into hoops - different values for hoops.

Hopscotch and hoops - for example, spinning and rolling.

Running games - free choice.

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