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Healthier pupils; better learners.

Girls Active Transition Club

 

Background information:

Uptake in secondary schools extra-curricular sport and physical activity was poor. In a rural area, transport is a key factor affecting participation as pupils need to be brought to and from the schools by bus. Some clubs are successfully held in a good local sports center where girls can walk to and from.

Aim:

To run an extra-curricular club for years 6-9 students that would:

  • Improve transition links from primary to secondary
  • Increase the numbers of girls participating in PE and physical activity and promote lifelong participation
  • Promote positive attitudes towards physical activity and change perceptions
  • Deliver a wide and varied programme of activity, identified through pupil choice
  • Promote access to community clubs/facilities

Action:

The active schools coordinator approached year 6 pupils directly to gauge interest in the club and to establish a range of activities that girls would like to try. 50 year 6 girls from two local feeder primary schools were invited to attend after-school activities at the high school.

Secondary pupils were targeted through the school bulletin and departmental posters. Face-to-face contact had been effective in engaging girls in other types of activities and was therefore adopted as a method of consultation in this project. The PE teacher and active schools coordinator established dates and times for the club to run and identified who would lead it. A democratic voting process with all girls was undertaken to select the most popular activities to take forward in the three blocks (each block consisting of four weeks of one activity):

  • Roller-blading to music, with yoga for relaxation at the end of the session
  • Gymnastics - structured to include all abilities and presented in an attractive way. Lots of equipment is used which girls had no access to before, e.g. wall bars, ropes, trampette, to make this fun and enjoyable
  • Dance and body combat, with a free choice for the last weeks of term

Almost all activities were led by members of the PE department, while the yoga instructor was brought in a paid for and the dance instruction was led by a senior pupil.

The Impact:

As many as 28 girls have been regularly attending the club from associated primary schools within the local area. The biggest proportion of membership cam from primary-aged girls (70%). Primary pupils are now more confident and familiar with the secondary schools setting and have met new people from the secondary school. Trying new activities taught the staff how girls perceive themselves with others in a new environment and the need for girls to feel secure with new activities. The year 6 pupils were tracked through secondary school to gain information on the impact this club had on their long-term attitudes to PE and physical activity.

The next steps:

The next steps included looking at community club links and making an action transition between girls participating in schools and actively taking control of their own physical activity lifestyle by choosing to take part in local community sport and physical activity clubs.

It worked because:

Co-operation from parents who took a positive approach in terms of car-sharing meant girls were able to regularly attend the club. Activities for the first two terms were planned in advance so that girls were aware of the activities they would undertake. The was important because, girls only committed if they knew what was on offer and it helped to demonstrate that provision reflected consultation.