The inextricable link between physical health & fitness and mental well-being cannot be underestimated. As a Father of 3 young boys I want my children to grow up understanding these links and having the best opportunities to be active at school as well as at home. Most primary schools would have a trim trail for students to use at break and lunch as well as in PE lessons. This does not seem to be a priority at secondary schools as we expect pupils to 'grow up', 'act their age'. Given the opportunity, would you have wanted, outside of the usual activities, to be physically active throughout the day?
Our vision at The Fernwood School is to ensure all students get the best opportunities in the early stages to be successful, confident and responsible citizens ready for the future ahead of them, and this is encompassed by our school motto "High achievement with care and discipline for all".
This project will help our young people to develop positive physical and mental well-being habits by raising awareness of the importance of regular physical activity and by increasing their exposure to fun and varied activities, as well creating more active environments so that pupils find it easier to simply move more during their day. Importantly, both universal and targeted interventions, are uniquely placed to support the most inactive pupils, as well as the wider school community, to become more active.
This will especially benefit disadvantaged children in our school as well as students with low self-esteem and low aspirations. These students are least likely to access support for physical and mental health than others. It would also have a positive impact on behaviour.
Trim Trail and Fitness Centre
The money raised will go towards installing an age appropriate activity/trim trail, similar to most primary schools as well as a purpose built fitness area. Both areas would be utilised before, during and after school in unstructured and structured times (breaks, tutor time, PE lessons, after school clubs). This would add up to 2 hours of opportunity to active in a structured way. Raising the profile of positive physical habits impacting on mental health will be dovetailed into the PE and personal development curriculum (PSHE) and tied into the Fernwood Award.
Both installations will be embedded into the school curriculum to ensure maximum use throughout the day and year.
Community - we are ambitious about using this as an opportunity to engage the wider community in which the school is located. We want to run:
- Family fitness nights
- Inter-generational fun fitness (pupils supporting the elderly)
- Adult sessions of pupils from the school as well as friends
- Sports and fitness clubs using the trim trail and fitness center
- Children's holiday clubs having better facilities
The Fernwood School is a very diverse, secondary school located on the edge of Nottingham City. It is a successful, multi-cultural school which predominantly serves the local residential area of Wollaton. We are expanding over the next 5 years (to 1500 pupils) to meet the needs of the swelling primary schools which means our space and opportunity to provide active and engaging spaces is diminishing. Thus the vision of our project is outlined below.
The Fernwood Award is a praise system that rewards children for holistic threads that run throughout their journey in school. These include health and well-being, motivation and resilience, global awareness and community participation, to name a few. Students work towards achieving their Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards alongside accolades. The Fernwood Award would be used as a motivational vehicle to get students more active in the school day as well as reward them for their participation.
Research from Public Health England has shown that the impact of increased physical activity throughout the day has profound effects on students improved health, physically and mentally, their performance in their studies and a positive impact on behaviour.
The 8 principles of developing and embedding opportunities for students becoming more physically active in a day would act as guidance to enable us to create, monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of this project.
Pupil Voice activities have told us that this would benefit our hard to reach children and our children who struggle to manage their emotions as well as benefiting all others. One student even said "I know for a fact this would help with my behaviour!"
The energy, enthusiasm and passion for children to have every opportunity to be more active in constructive ways is in abundance among many at The Fernwood School!