PE without a stretch

The long-awaited Healthy Schools Rating has landed, but the question is ‘how and why should schools capitalise on it when budgets and capacity are tight?’

MSP has been working to unlock the power of sport and physical activity for over 20 years and its strategic lead for children and young people, Calum Donnelly said: “The Healthy Schools Rating is a voluntary accreditation, available to schools completing the Active Lives Survey. There’s no pressure to share ratings, but actually, once your school has optimised its results, it can be used as a stamp of approval to demonstrate how you’re meeting, or even exceeding standards to Ofsted, parents and the local community.

“Strong evidence of the benefits of physical activity on academic performance and mental wellbeing has come out of numerous reports and studies over the last few years, including papers from Public Health England; the Centre for Educational Neuroscience, University College London; plus Paluska & Schwenk’s ‘Physical Activity and Mental Health’. So, there’s a growing rationale for schools to play their part in boosting activity levels.

“However, with no additional funding on the table, how do schools see improvements? It’s about working smart.

“There are a number of existing tools that can be driven through the PE premium and a range of free-to-access initiatives such as School Games and The Daily Mile™ that organisations like ours can signpost you to. As the Active Partnership for Merseyside it’s our job to help you get the most out of these.”

Just one of the schools already well-positioned to see a great Healthy Schools Rating is Lister Infants in Liverpool. Ashley Haynes, assistant head/PE lead, said: “We are already leveraging The Daily Mile™ initiative. It’s a great way to get all of our children outdoors and active. We find it really helps the concentration levels back in the classroom…and we find they’re producing much higher quality work.”

Any school that wants support to maximise what’s already available, whilst minimising impact on workload and budgets is welcome to contact MSP by emailing

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