Active Recovery Curriculum

In 2021, spear was commissioned by the Youth Sport Trust to conduct an independent evaluation of the Active Recovery Curriculum programme delivered in schools as children returned following the COVID-19 pandemic. An “Active Recovery Curriculum” (defined at the prioritisation of physical activity and time outdoors) was used to help children recover from the long and/or disjointed time away from school and experience the benefits that PE, physical activity and school sport can have on wellbeing. Schools have adjusted traditional, classroom-based curriculum provision and prioritised physical activity with the aim of enhancing young people’s recovery and improving wellbeing and development. 

spear’s evaluation focused on the impact of implementing an Active Recovery Curriculum on young people’s physical, mental, social and emotional recovery. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from young people and teachers using surveys and interviews.

Key Findings

  • Since returning to school, 71% of pupils reported their activity levels have increased ‘a little’ or ‘a lot’
  • A higher percentage of primary pupils (84%) reported an increased in their activity levels than secondary pupils (63%) since returning to school
  • Many teachers reported noteworthy increases in the fitness and engagement of pupils
  • Over 95% of pupils understand why exercise and sports are good for them
  • More than 70% of pupils say they ‘want to do more exercise and sports at school’
  • Pupil’s comments related to feeling more confident, recognising their progression in specific sports and improvements in fitness and body image
  • 89% of teachers felt social wellbeing had improved
  • Although most pupils felt happy to spend more time with friends, some struggled with the increased social contact and felt overwhelmed
  • Three quarters of teachers noted an increase in pupils’ academic progress
  • 74% of pupils ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ with the statement ‘doing exercise and sports at school helps me learn’
  • Staff have enjoyed having extra opportunities to be active during lessons and after school clubs. One secondary school reported staff created a virtual running group and introduced a staff tennis club
  • One headteacher reported an increased number of families choosing to cycle to school

Date: September 2021

Client: Youth Sport Trust

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