The GoActive study team hosted a discussion event at the Møller Centre, Cambridge on 10 June which attracted delegates from a variety of fields including researchers, policymakers and practitioners.
GoActive stands for Get Others Active, and is an intervention designed to increase physical activity in young people, aged 13 to 14 through increased peer support, self-efficacy, self-esteem and friendship quality.
GoActive was implemented using a tiered-leadership system. Tutor groups chose two weekly activities each. Mentors (older adolescents in the school) and weekly Peer-Leaders (two per class) encouraged students to try these. Students gained points for trying new activities, and points were entered into a between-class competition.
The aim of this event was to provide insights into best practice for future school-based research and health promotion more broadly. On the day delegates attended an introduction session providing an overview of the topic area more generally and information regarding the GoActive journey so far before attending four themed discussions.
Discussion topics included:
- Student voices: what have we learnt? Unpicking inequalities led by Kirsten Corder
- How can the school environment be used to influence adolescent physical activity? led by Campbell Foubister
- What is the future of school-based activity promotion? led by Emma Wells
- Can physical activity improve adolescent wellbeing? led by Erin Hoare.
These sessions powered valuable discussion and collaboration between delegates.
The main insights drawn were that a one sized approach for all schools may not be realistic and there is a need to work with schools on an individual basis to plan how to make physical activity a priority within that school. There is a need to pinpoint influential members within schools (both teachers and pupils) and use these individuals as leaders to influence others instead of relying solely on PE teachers.
Further, it was suggested there is a need to make the most out of the dedicated PE slot by scheduling classes at the beginning or end of the day, allowing students to come either to or from school in their kit maximising the time students spend being active. Alongside this, school need to consider the provisions available to students such as showers, hair dryers and straighteners so students feel confident and prepared to return to their usual day following PE lessons.
Delegates identified mental wellbeing as a major concern nationally with schools been an ideal environment to implement objectives to foster student wellbeing. Mental health and physical health should be dually implemented in order to lead to the best possible outcomes for young people.
- Find out more about GoActive
- Get in touch with the study team:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Paper: Adolescents’ perspectives on a school-based physical activity intervention: a mixed method study