Active School Flag – Ireland
The Active School Flag (ASF) is an initiative which aims to enhance levels of physical activity for children through developing a physically active and physically educated school community. The ASF mirrors well-evaluated ‘active school’ models operating in other countries. It is open to all primary, post-primary, special needs education schools and YouthReach centres. Schools are recruited to the programme by invitation and once engaged with the programme they are supported on a programme of action planning and self-evaluation based on a ‘whole school’ approach. Schools are firstly required to review their current provision across the areas of physical education, physical activity and partnerships and commit to a number of improvements. The review areas include elements of planning and PE curriculum, professional development, schools PE resources, activity during break times, discretionary/cross-curricular and extra-curricular activity, inclusive physical activity and active travel. Partnerships also form a defined focus of review including working with pupils, parents, the local community and national agencies. This work is supported by standardised ASF guidelines and review prompts which are periodically revised. Schools include an Active School Week as part of their annual school calendar. Schools are assessed by various means including an accreditation visit, completion of documentation and there are defined quality control mechanisms including an ASF screening committee.
ASF was launched in 2009 and 510 schools have received the ASF to date (2015). The assessment provides useful information on the ways in which schools conceptualised the issue of physical activity and achieved change within their own local contexts, resources and organisational structures, including the establishment of several innovative and beneficial partnerships in the local community. The ASF self-evaluation and improvement model resulted in schools improving their physical activity provision and had real capacity to increase physical activity in primary schools. This programme represents an important element of the national approach to physical activity in the school setting. There is an impressive level of school participation which suggests significant ‘reach’ and the growth of the ASF over time indicates a high level of acceptability among the school sector. The whole school approach is comprehensive in its consideration of physical activity and the focus on issues of inclusion and partnership may be of particular relevance to addressing inequalities in physical activity and in sustaining physical activity.
Additional information: http://activeschoolflag.ie/
(last accessed in March 2017)