Active children are more likely to have better physical health and feel better. The government recommends that all children should do an hour of physical activity that makes them feel slightly out of breath and sweaty each day. Many children are not active enough to meet this guideline.
The after-school period is a time in which children can be active but what schools currently provide is mainly team sports. Teaching assistants (TAs) are school staff members who could be trained to deliver physical activity clubs after-school, which would be a low-cost, sustainable public health intervention. We developed a programme to help teaching assistants (TAs) deliver a fun physical activity programme, called Action 3:30. In Action 3:30, Teaching Assistants receive a five-day training programme. Once trained, the TAs deliver enjoyable activity clubs for Year Four-Five children for an hour, twice a week.
In 2014 we completed a pilot and feasibility study which showed that Action 3:30 is well liked by pupils and TAs. Attending Action 3:30 made boys more active but not girls. Guided by experts, we changed the project to ensure that both boys and girls like it and are active during the sessions. The aim of the latest project was to test the new version of the Action 3:30 program and see if it could be delivered on a bigger scale. We called this version Action 3:30R (revised).
We conducted a school-based randomised controlled trial in 12 primary schools. We recruited 30 Year Four/Five children from each school. Once signed up, we asked all children to answer a survey and wear an accelerometer, which is a small device that records physical activity. We then set out to train the TAs to deliver the clubs in six of the 12 schools chosen by a random selection process. The other schools would continue as normal. We then took the same measures in all 12 schools during the last few weeks that the clubs were running. We talked to the children, TAs and school staff after the intervention phase finished to find out what they thought about the programme and ask what they would change. We also explored how much it cost to run Action 3:30R compared with existing school after-school programmes in the same schools.
This trial finished in 2018 and you can read all about what happened in the publications listed on our publications tab.
If you would like any other information about the study please contact the lead investigator Professor Russ Jago (Tel: 0117 9546603, email:email@example.com).