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Active Education Beyond the School Day

A research review

View the report in Cymraeg

The report

We have published a short-form review below that does not have footnotes and examples of best practice from schools. A PDF long-form version of the report can be[javascript protected email address].

Summary

What is active education beyond the school day? 

A term Sport Wales uses to describe proactive schools that provide access to sport and physical activity opportunities beyond the school day, through the utilisation of their facilities when necessary to serve the needs of their community.

Why are we investigating active education settings?

Following a discussion with the Welsh Government regarding a decrease in physical activity and access to education for children during the coronavirus pandemic, funding has been agreed upon to support a pilot of active education settings in schools. Globally, schools open their doors beyond the school day for a variety of reasons, and by focusing on policy, practice, and experiences from around the world we hope to share learning and best practice with schools and decision-makers in Wales. 

We believe schools have some of the best facilities in Wales due to the 21st-century schools programme, they’re some of the most accessible buildings in Wales, and many of them are sitting closed after 3 pm. We want to change that. 

What does the investigation consider?

The investigation takes a snapshot of global policy and practice relating to schools opening their doors beyond the school day. It analyses the policy and provision of governments and bodies and looks at how individual schools worked to provide sports and physical activity on the school site after the school day. 

The investigation: 

  • seeks to identify good practice, successes, and barriers which face schools opening their doors to local communities.
  • highlight the themes which resulted in the successful provision of sports and physical activity beyond the school day in multiple contexts; and,
  • provide all stakeholders with a clear understanding of the possibilities available to them by opening schools beyond the school day.

The investigation doesn’t imply there is a ‘best practice’ way of opening school facilities. But it does show the themes which ensured some schools successfully engaged their communities, increased engagement in sport and physical activity, and improved local health and wellbeing. 

Key Findings 

The themes of successful practice included 

  1. Ambitious leadership
  2. Community cooperation
  3. Insight led
  4. Consistent funding

Common challenges included:

  1. A lack of understanding as to the value of opening school facilities
  2. Safeguarding and risk
  3. Cost – capacity and finance
  4. Covid-19

Conclusion 

There are a wide variety of ways in which schools can open their facilities to the community. Schools which create successful offers respond to the needs of their local community, and collaborate with sporting providers to respond to pupil and community need, schools can develop a positive and engaging programme which provides individuals and communities with an accessible sporting offer, securing a sustainable sporting provision which can include health and wellbeing for the long term.

Where next? 

Information on the piloting – we are piloting throughout 2022 and will be engaging in monitoring and evaluation of the active education settings project