Active Schools: Skelmersdale (AS:Sk) – Intervention approaches to promote primary school physical activity in a high deprivation community


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Participation in physical activity (PA) during childhood, particularly PA of a moderate to vigorous intensity, is important for many aspects of physical and psychological health. Numerous barriers can prevent children from engaging in PA during their free time. Therefore, schools are important settings for providing children with opportunities to engage in health enhancing PA. There is a need for school-based PA strategies which can be ‘self-sustained’ by schools. The main aim of this thesis was to explore intervention approaches which had no or limited financial cost and were implemented by existing school staff structures with the aim of promoting primary school PA in a low socio-economic status community. Chapter 4 (Study 1) established that PA levels were low and school-based PA strategies are warranted. Furthermore, the use of multilevel analyses established a range of child- and school-level factors which predict PA participation during segmented school time. Initially, single-component school-based PA strategies were implemented in Chapter 5 (Study 2). Implementation challenges related to space within the school environment, and competing demands of teachers and other members of staff, such as timetable constraints and other additional responsibilities. The active classroom break and daily Born To Move video interventions indicated positive effects on levels of moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) and sedentary time (ST). Adaptations to the intervention strategies outlined in Chapter 5 (Study 2) were made based on the study findings. They were then combined with four other school-based PA strategies in Chapter 6 (Study 3) in order to implement and evaluate a pilot multi-component school-based PA clustered randomised controlled trial. The Active Schools: 5 Skelmersdale (AS:Sk) multi-component intervention had a significant effect on school day ST (significantly less for intervention children by nine minutes per day compared to control group). Chapter 7 (Study 4) explored how the AS:Sk intervention was implemented in participating schools. Implementation differed between schools and study findings advocate school-based PA strategies that are flexible and adaptable in nature. This thesis contributes to the understanding of feasible and acceptable PA strategies in the school setting. Future research is needed to establish school-based strategies that are effective at increasing MVPA levels.
Date of Award7 Nov 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Edge Hill University
SupervisorSTUART FAIRCLOUGH (Director of Studies) & ROBERT NOONAN (Supervisor)

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