Active Ants

Active Ants is a Primary School Digital Health Programme which is designed to support children to achieve 60 minutes of physical activity a day in line with the Chief Medical Officer guidelines.

Programme Partners

  • School Sports Partnerships – Founding member, Burnley
  • County Sports Partnerships inc Active Lancashire & MSP
  • Youth Sports Trust
  • Flexi Digital
  • Leisure Trusts – Burnley Leisure & Pendle Leisure Trust
  • Public Health Initiatives – Up & Active
  • Retail Sector - Leisure Lakes

The Active Ants project has been designed by the above partners to use technology, rewards and insight and reporting to help schools, teachers, parents and children to adapt their behaviours to achieve the Chief Medical Officer guidelines of 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

The programme is being supported by Flexi Digital who are a health and sport tech company who have strong relationships with technology suppliers such as Garmin and Fitbit. Flexi are an innovative company, supporting a healthy population, based on consumer insight and behaviour change, they have worked with various industries including sport and the insurance sector.

The Active Ants programme was originally piloted by Burnley School Sport Partnership which engaged 20 schools across Burnley and Rossendale to test the approach over two terms.

How it Works

The Active Ants programme provides schools with a digital, wearable and rewards resources to support a physically active behaviour. Each child within an identified class are supplied with a wearable device that tracks, steps, physical activity and inactivity. The school will also receive a hub which is placed within the classroom. Every time a child enters the classroom the hub automatically receives data from each child’s wearable device which populates a unique online dashboard for the school.

This dashboard provides the school with information on children and class activity levels. Each child would be identified through initials or a code as selected by the school to ensure no personal information is taken or published on the system. The Dashboard will also identify and highlight children who deserve weekly rewards for:

  • The most active child in school time
  • The most active child out of school
  • The most increase in activity from the previous week

The programme will also allow schools to compete against each other with localised school leagues.

The Active Ants programme and resources will help nudge the influencers of children (schools, teachers, parents and fellow classmates) to increase physical activity levels by:

  • Bringing physical activity to the forefront of conversation 
  • Making teachers be aware of incorporating physical activity throughout the day 
  • Attracting parents to engage and interact more their children 
  • Developing informal competition between classmates / class and teacher 
  • Highlighting current levels of activity and providing an evidence base which will allow positive action planning

The school will also receive end of term reports which will help measure impact of a school’s sport and physical activity action plan and the Active Ants programme and will include information such as:

  • % of children achieving 30 mins of physical activity in school 
  • % of children achieving 30 mins of physical activity out of school 
  • Highlight certain days / times in which physical activity is at its highest/lowest 
  • Highlight increases of physical activity over a period of time 
  • Help highlight levels of active travel to and from school

The Active Ants programme is designed to support primary schools with an evidence base to help measure the impact of the Primary School Sport Premium and help future action planning specifically against the following Key Indicator:

Key indicator 1: The engagement of all pupils in regular physical activity – Chief Medical Officer guidelines recommend that primary school children undertake at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day in school.

Rewards

The Active Ants programme works with a number of national and local partners to provide a rewards and incentive package to offer children, parents and schools perks for being physically active. These perks are awarded to the most deserving children on a weekly basis and include goodies such as:

  • Achievement certificates
  • Free cinema tickets
  • Free coffee vouchers
  • Free local activities (such as free swimming passes)
  • School Equipment vouchers

Flexi Digital also work with local and national businesses to offer additional rewards and prizes for competitions throughout the programme.

The pilot was fully evaluated by Active Lancashire in May 2018. Active Lancashire worked directly with schools, teachers, parents and children to see what impact this intervention has on how influencers of children incorporate physical activity into everyday life. The feedback received was on the whole very positive, please see the satisfaction rates be clicking on the appropriate links.

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