Press Release: secondary school makes a stand against sedentary living

PRESS RELEASE: Friday, 08 January 2016

  • Park House School in Newbury is the first Secondary School in the UK to pilot the Active Movement Programme.
  • The programme, developed by UCL’s Dr Mike Loosemore encourages small activity changes to daily life that over the year add up to dramatic health benefits without the huge lifestyle changes required for going to the gym regularly.
  • The pilot will see the school promoting positive approaches to a healthy lifestyle with students receiving house points for taking a walk during breaks and moving around more during the school day.    

With the increasing strain on the NHS and the growing awareness that our sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to our health, a Newbury secondary school has taken positive measures to make a stand against sedentary living by encouraging students to make more active choices during the school day.  

Park House School in Newbury, already well known for its outstanding commitment to encouraging an active lifestyle among its school community as a Berkshire Health & Well Being Lead School has now become the first pilot school in the country for the Active Movement Programme.  

The programme aims to stamp out sedentary behaviour and form positive behavioural habits early in life that will help to extend lives through better health.

Derek Peaple, Headteacher at Park House School where the national pilot is to take place says “The beauty of this programme is its simplicity. It involves no major changes to routine but instead just gets students to think differently about the importance of movement in their daily lives. By making learning as active as possible and constantly reinforcing the importance of movement through both the curriculum and messaging around the site young people will naturally start to adopt more healthy approaches outside of the school environment as well. The influence can also be indirect and subtle. For example, just by emphasising the idea of a ‘movement’ in Art or Music student students the power of message builds up. I’m delighted by how positively students and staff have responded already.’         

By introducing a greater level of movement in students’ day to day schedules the programme encourages participants to make lots of small changes that add up to large lifestyle differences. Simple behaviour changes such as students standing up to answer a question, walking across the classroom to change partners during a group activity, standing up, or moving to show when you spot a reflexive verb in a Languages class all add up to improve the wellbeing of your vital organs, muscular and skeletal system.

The Active Movement Programme, developed by Dr Mike Loosemore of University College London, goes beyond the classroom. Students are rewarded for taking walks on marked out tracks during break times, a ‘stand up’ comedy night is planned and other extra-curricular activities will all help to entrench the Active Movement ethos. Computer Science students will be encouraged to create a computer science health and fitness tracker app and groups of students are participating in a ‘standing committee’ responsible for developing new ideas to integrate movement into students’ daily routine. Students will earn House points for the activities they record as an additional incentive.

As the first ever application of the programme to a Senior School setting Park House will be tracking and monitoring attendance levels to measure the impact of the programme. The Active Movement programme has already been successfully trialled in a preschool where the staggering results have borne long-term changes, and also in a primary school where the benefits stretched well beyond all expectations.

Notes to Editors:

  • Park House is a secondary School and Sixth Form of 1,000 students ranging from 11 to 18 years of age. Consistently performing in the top 15% nationally for A Level and AS Level results, the School is the Centre of Excellence for Teaching Computer Science for the South of England. Holding Academy status enables Park House to enjoy the freedom to receive independent investment to offer students more opportunities. In 2012 Park House was the only academic institution to be awarded the ‘Inspired By 2012’ Mark by the Cabinet Office.

  • Active Movement is a programme developed by UCL’s Dr Mike Loosemore based on the principal that even small habit changes applied daily add up to make a big difference. The programme has already been trialled with pre-school children in the UK and also with Primary School children. Park House School is the first application of the programme to children aged 11-18 years. You can read more about the Active Movement Programme at www.activemovement.co.uk/