An ACTIVE School
Is a school where physical activity is valued, promoted and enjoyed by all
To enable schools to achieve a physically educated and physically active school community
More Schools, More Active, More Often
These are the goals of the Active School Flag initiative:
physical activity in a FUN, positive and inclusive way
schools to engage in a process self-reflection, action planning and collaboration at whole school level
schools to identify strategies to energise the school day and to reduce sedentary time
schools to strengthen their PE programmes and to promote physical literacy
students with voice, space, influence and audience to participate in the decision-making process of their school
schools to develop, and strengthen partnerships, with parents, local and national organisations
a support network for schools where best practise, innovation and successful initiatives are showcased, affirmed and shared
schools to create their own specific roadmap for sustained physical activity practises
with schools, national organisations and expert groups to ensure that ASF continues to deliver benefits to schools
The process incentivises schools to engage in a process self-reflection, action planning and collaboration at whole school level.
Sitting in front of every teacher, every day, are children and young people that DO NOT meet the recommended daily physical activity level target of 60 minutes.
ASF is an ambitious whole school process. In order to succeed, and to ensure that the benefits of ASF reach into every classroom, it is important that management and staff commit to support, promote and actively engage with the process.
ASF encourages schools to strengthen their PE programmes and to promote physical literacy.
A broad and balanced PE programme is essential, at all class levels, to ensure that students have the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes that they require to live physically active lives.
ASF supports schools to identify strategies to energise the school day and to reduce sedentary time.
Research shows that active children find it easier to concentrate and focus, achieve higher test results, behave better and enjoy school more.
ASF challenges teachers to find ways to teach all subjects in a more physically active way. It guides and supports teachers by providing them with a variety of cross-curricular physical activity challenges and ideas to energise learning, both indoors and outdoors.
Classroom-based physical activity breaks are a great way to break up sedentary time and to restore concentration and focus. Active sitting, moving about during lessons and completing tasks standing up are also great ways to break up sedentary time and to help students stay on task.
ASF promotes physical activity in a FUN, positive and inclusive way.
To encourage the less active members of the school community to enjoy physical activity more ASF asks schools to move their focus away from sport towards physical activity, and away from competition towards participation.
‘Being active’ is an important indicator of wellbeing. Physical activity opportunities during school can help students develop friendships and feel ‘more connected’ with their school community. They can also help to build positive classroom environments and improve student/teacher relationships.
ASF guides schools to create their own specific roadmap for sustained physical activity practices.
It is important that all ASF activities are planned with accessibility, and sustainability, in mind.
Research studies show that physical activity during the school day has the greatest impact on students with low physical activity levels.
The ASF framework enables schools to maximise physical activity opportunities during breaktimes and throughout day, and to harness the potential of calendar events and other initiatives to get staff and students moving more. It encourages schools to broaden the range of physical activity opportunities that they offer to better cater for the needs, interests and abilities of all its’ members.
ASF offers a flexible timeframe. It is important that schools find, and implement, improvements that best suit their own unique circumstances, and that can be maintained over time.
ASF provides students with voice, space, influence and audience to participate in the decision-making process of their school.
The process provides ongoing opportunities for the voices of the children/young people to be heard and responded to in a meaningful way. It invites student feedback, ideas and suggestions and challenges students to lead change within their schools.
The voice and opinions of less active students, in particular, should be sought out, listened to and acted upon.
It is essential that management are open to listening to and working with young people for the ASF process to succeed.
ASF generates a support network for schools where best practise, innovation and successful initiatives are showcased, affirmed and shared.
It is an affirming initiative that seeks to showcase the excellent work that is happening in many schools across the country.
ASF training events allow coordinators to network with, and learn from, teachers from other schools working towards the flag, at both new applicant and renewal stages.
The ASF website and Twitter account both serve as sharing hubs.
ASF empowers schools to develop and strengthen partnerships with parents, local organisations and national agencies.
It encourages schools to adopt a collaborative approach reaching out to parents and the local community for their support. Many of the ASF activities have a HOME focus, several of which incentivise family participation.
Schools are asked to raise awareness about the range and diversity of physical activity opportunities that are available in their local community.
ASF also adopts a collaborative approach seeking to support and promote the work of other national organisations that design and deliver physical activity programmes, events and training opportunities.
ASF collaborates with schools, national organisations and expert groups to ensure ASF continues to deliver benefits to schools.
It values the feedback and suggestions offered by schools and uses this to shape the ASF framework.
The ASF criteria were developed on the basis of school visits over a number of years. They are reviewed annually to ensure that they are practicable and result in tangible benefits for schools. New initiatives and supports are integrated into the ASF process as they become available.
ASF works with research teams and expert groups at both primary and post primary levels to ensure that the process evolves in an evidence-informed way. Work is currently underway with post primary pilot schools and a research team from the University of Limerick to co-design a new ASF process for the post primary sector (ASFPP).