Go Well Blog

How can a PE Apprentice help your school?

A PE Apprenticeship is an ideal way for a young person to take their first steps in a sports and coaching career. It provides them with an opportunity to get real responsibility, real on the job experience and a real accreditation.

For schools, aside from an extra pair of hands, a PE Apprentice can be a great addition to your staff team. Our Sports and PE Apprentices can provide your pupils with more opportunities to be physically active during the school day.

Enthusiastic, willing to get stuck in and keen to start a sports career, our apprentices can help drive forward PE in your school, giving you greater capacity and providing your pupils with additional support, direction and feedback. They can also be a fantastic role model.

Getting the most from your apprentice

To ensure you and your PE Apprentice get the most from your time together, we recommend:

Giving your apprentice clear direction – what do you expect from them? What is their role within the class? Do you want them to support an individual or do you want them to set up equipment for a lesson?

Involving them in the planning – our sports apprentices are with you to learn, so involve them in planning your school sports lessons and physical activity sessions, encourage them to share their ideas. Invite them to join staff meetings and training so they get a broader understanding of what working in a school involves.

Giving them responsibility – is there something that they can be responsible for when they start working with you? How can this responsibility be developed as they progress? Allow them to take some initiative and remember to give feedback so they can learn and develop.

Training them – are there particular playground games or activities that your pupils enjoy? Offer them opportunities to take part in CPD sessions and to then share their learnings with teachers across the school. Do you use other external coaches for your PESSPA or after-school clubs? If so, involve your apprentice with these sessions to expand their knowledge and experience.

Involving them in activity delivery as much as possible – the more interaction they have with children, the better. They can assist with Active 30 activities, support SSOC’s, play leaders, school teams and assist other teachers within the school, the list is endless.

Finally, remember to nurture your PE Apprentice. Look after them well and they can be a huge asset for your school. Make sure that they know who their mentor is, that you check in with them regularly, set them clear targets and explain tasks set and exactly what is expected of them. Hold regular meetings to review progress and provide an opportunity for them to feedback and ask questions.

Find out more about employing a PE and Sport Apprentice within your school.

Go Well Blog

4 ways to ensure you get the most from your PE Premium Funding

The deadline for spending Primary PE and Sport Premium funding carried over from last academic year (2019-20) is the end of this summer term (2021).

This ringfenced funding is designed to help give children an active start in life by supporting schools to improve the quality of their PE, physical activity and sport provision. Being active helps children to become mentally and physically healthier and leads to improved behaviour and academic achievement.

With so many tools, techniques, resources and support available, it can be difficult to decide where best to invest the funding. Here are four ways to ensure you and your pupils get the most from the grant.

Carry out an audit

Look at the whole-school PESSPA offer – what do you offer each year group and how is it delivered? This includes auditing staff competence and confidence, identifying what activities are taught well and those that aren’t. The Youth Sports Trust has a very useful audit tool to help you do this.

You can use your PE and Sport Premium funding to invest in staff CPD including auditing your provision and staff competency.

Create your vision – what you want you want your school PESSPA to look like?

Be ambitious about what you want your PESSPA to look like. What are the strengths and what can you build on and develop? Include your PE and physical activity day-to-day offer and children and staff attitudes to PESSPA. How valued is the subject and how embedded is it across the whole school?

Consider what your short and long-term aims are. Does your ambition require a culture change or just a few tweaks? What steps do you need to put in place to get there? Think about what you want the legacy of your Sport Premium to be. How far have you come since the introduction of the funding? Consider what you have achieved so far and how far you have to go to achieve your goal. What are the best next steps to move you forward?

A legacy could be to have a highly skilled team. Funding can be used to support your colleagues to develop skills in a new area such as outdoor learning or to address whole-school motivations and relationships with physical activity. Or you can use it to access external support to enhance the quality of your programmes.

Identify what you need to focus on

Be really honest about where you are and what you need to focus on. As well as thinking about what you want to develop, remember to consider what your children need. How can you embed this? Be ambitious with your ideas and then look realistically at the steps that need to be taken to get there.

Involve children in shaping your PESSPA programme. It is an opportunity to engage children in activities that may not have been part of your PE curriculum but would help develop fundamental skills.

5 key indicators – are they all equal?

Do you really need to focus on all 5 key indicators, or would it be better for your pupils to address one of them really well? Is there anything within your school improvement plan that you can link your activities to? Look at how your PESSPA offer supports academic attainment or behaviour and social development – raising the expectations around behaviour and attitudes of particular groups of children.

You can use your funding to embed successful physically active learning approaches and programmes that support areas such as behaviour or developing an active curriculum.

Go Well has an extensive PESSPA support programme, from in-school training and delivery to activity packages that will help you and your teams improve the quality of PE within the school and support more children to develop an active lifestyle.

Go Well Blog

We’re helping over 1,000 children to get active

Lockdown has had a significant impact on all our activity levels. Sport England’s latest survey noted the decline in activity levels amongst children. During the 2019/20 academic year, the majority of young people failed to meet the recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise and almost a third of children, that’s 2.3 million children, are now classed as ‘inactive’ as a result of lockdown restrictions. There is a real worry that the latest lockdown, coinciding with winter when it is even more difficult to get motivated to be active, will have taken an even greater its toll on our activity levels and how we feel.

Everyone here at Go Well is passionate about helping young people to be active. Being active has a tremendous impact on our minds as well as our bodies.

This is why we are so excited to be in a position where we can help children whose activity levels have dropped during the pandemic to build healthy active lifestyles. Thanks to funding from Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities Fund via County Durham Sport and Area Action Partnerships in Bishop Auckland and Shildon, Spennymoor, Great Aycliffe and Middridge, and East Durham Rural Corridor, we are able to give direct support to 1,320 children across 42 schools in the South Durham area.

With this funding we will be launching the GO Well HEART Project! A group of children in each school will become part of a Research Team to try and test a series of activities over 12 weeks. They will receive a bag of equipment, a booklet to note their findings and will also create their own activities. With the help of the Research Team we will be able to find out what works for children and what helps them to be active at home. The children will of course be active throughout the research project!

We will be getting in touch directly with each school to launch the project and are looking forward to taking the kits into schools after the Easter holidays when the better weather will make it easier for the children to get outside and get active.

It is our mission to inspire and build healthy active futures across the whole of the country, particularly in the north-east. By 2025, we want to have had a positive impact on the wellness of 1 million people. We are very grateful to the Area Action Partnerships and to County Durham Sport, and Sport England, for the funding and to help us move closer to our goal.

Go Well Blog

6 Top Tips on helping children return to exercise after a long break

Coinciding with winter, the recent lockdown is likely to have had a significant impact on your pupils’ activity and fitness levels. Children have missed out on school PE lessons, after-school activities, active travel, organised sport and outdoor play. On-line lessons have also increased screen use and sedentary behaviour.
Young people should undertake 60 minutes of moderate intensity activity over the course of a day. In this blog we explore how you can support your class as they return to school and help them to develop an active and healthy lifestyle.
  1. Start where children are now, not where they were. Be compassionate and build things up steadily. Many of your pupils may not be able to do some activities or movements which they found easy before Christmas. Introducing a programme of daily activities will help to increase stamina, flexibility and strength gradually. Regular routines also have a positive impact on a child’s social and emotional development, which is particularly important at this time.
  2. Build your pupils’ confidence and competence to move. Focus on good technique and differentiate to easier movements if required. To help children get moving again, activities need to be easy to understand and fun – keep things simple. Think about how you can extend an activity or movement to help those who are ready for development whilst enabling everyone in the class to feel a sense of achievement.
  3. Focus on effort and reaching moderate to vigorous intensity levels – the number of individual movements completed is irrelevant. Aim for a moderate level of activity initially and build to vigorous over time. Use the Rate of Perceived exertion chart to see where children are now and aim to get them to work at a higher intensity each week.
  4. Let them choose. With lockdown restrictions, many children feel a sense of powerlessness. Letting your class choose which activity or game to use is a great way for them to feel involved and listened to and in turn, this will help to build up their confidence. You can encourage the class to choose an activity that everyone takes part in, or pair pupils up and ask each pair to choose which activity they are going to do. Giving students a voice will also develop ownership of the activity and lead to greater participation and commitment.
  5. Avoid comparison with others, especially in the early days. Individual workouts can be a great way to start your physical activity programme and ensure it is a personal challenge. When working together, think about grouping pupils by ability or fitness levels to avoid children feeling self-conscious. Create a culture where everyone’s achievements are celebrated by focusing on progress made. This will help bring your class closer together and develop respect for each other.
  6. The best approach to encouraging children to be more active is little and often. Increasing the amount of time spent being physically active across all subjects will help to increase how often children are active during the day, it will also improve educational outcomes and emotional development.

Our Fit for Life programme can help you achieve all this, and more. Fit for Life has been specially designed to help you deliver high quality fitness workouts for your pupils. The 10-minute blast sessions use high intensity activities to support muscle and bone strengthening and can be done anytime, anywhere.

Take advantage of our special offer and get more for you and your school – all schools signing up for a
three-year licence will receive a FREE set of activity equipment worth £349.95.
Go Well Blog

Remembering your ‘Why’, reconnecting with you and looking to the future.

Guest Blog

We have asked our friend and colleague Hannah Bell to write a guest blog aimed at supporting school staff who are perhaps struggling with the pressures of the pandemic.  We hope you find it helpful.  

I started to write this as I felt it important to reach out to those of you who are feeling scrutinized, de-valued and maybe even considering a career change given the current onslaught of changing expectations and guidance recently.  It would not surprise me to know that some of you are questioning your “why?”

I want you to know that your role and the part you are playing is invaluable; priceless – what a privilege! I don’t need to remind you that every conversation, every lesson, every word that you speak creates memories. Some will be deleted but the ones with heartfelt emotions will be cemented forever; even more so during what is happening right now. Emotions are high and you are playing an instrumental role as a truly remarkable influence in the minds of every single one of the children and young people you spend time with and giving them the skills to navigate their way through such a confusing and difficult world.

The power of your words and your behaviour are continuing to transform hearts and minds on a daily basis, whether in person or virtually. How people make us feel is so important and something that we often remember for many years to come. YOU are doing an amazing job.

This huge responsibility that you carry every day, without a seconds thought, may be taking its toll. This is why it is essential that you prioritise looking after yourself and your own mental wellbeing, as what you do matters and you need to be able to do it and stay well, so you can enjoy your vocation. Be kind to yourself.

I have many friends, clients and family members who are educators and recognise how this last year has been such a difficult time for them – so many transformational individuals, who are weary, exhausted and giving so much when in reality they do not have much left in the way of emotional energy – so many burnt out and counting down to half-term hoping for an opportunity to recover.

Educators and when I write this, I mean anyone who works within education, regardless of role or title, have a significant, lifelong impact on all of their students. The biggest impact you have, is so powerful and is just as important as teaching academic skills; that is the fostering of student self-esteem.  Reinforcing self-esteem is associated with an increased self-awareness, motivation and enthusiasm to learn and succeed. So, please, NEVER underestimate the power of what you do on a daily basis!

If one sentence at story time forty four years ago can stay with me for life, then what you are doing right now can inspire someone beyond all comprehension.

A Personal Reflection

I thought it was timely to share a personal story, one close to my heart, to lift spirits and offer an opportunity to step out of the chaos and space to think.

One of my earliest memories of first school, Whiston Worrygoose Junior and Infants, besides the initial wrench from being left for my first day, was my time with the most incredible teacher, Mrs Bissell .  She gave us the space to be creative. She would have names for us that rhymed, I was Hannah Banner and loved it. Did I appreciate her at the time? I am unable to remember. Could it be that I mistakenly believed that this is how all my teachers were going to be?

What I do remember are key anecdotes, feelings of self- belief, curiosity and short bursts of overwhelming self-confidence; anything was possible while in her class.

It was around 1976; I was crouched on the corduroy carpet in the book corner, waiting for the most favourite part of my school day, story time. Mrs Bissell was one of the younger teachers, she dressed fashionably and I loved her shoe collection. She would sit and read to us; her right leg crossed over her left, circling her foot, american tan tights and patented platform shoes were mesmerizing. A behaviour which I would hold dear, and practice whenever I played at schools. I think I may still do it if I am reading during any of my workshops.

I can distinctly recall this particular day as Mrs Bissell was reading a book where she knew of the Author, she placed the book on her knee and looked at each and every one of us. ” Any one of you here has the ability to write a book, everyone has a story and if it’s possible in the world then it is possible for you”. I can recall the excitement and belief in my tummy, I was always the smallest in class and at this moment in time I felt like the tallest. I loved writing and I can even recall as young as six that this was something that I could do, unlike maths for example, or PE, where I quickly adapted to being last in the race.

There were other life lessons throughout my time with Mrs Bissell, all of which were underpinned by self-belief, a fire in my belly, a desire to be recognised by her and an empowering sense that I could achieve whatever I put my mind to.

Having met a string of teachers throughout my schooling that undermined my confidence or labelled me as incapable, my time with Mrs Bissell is all the fonder to look back at. I did re-discover this love of learning, many years later and I realised that I was bright, studying extensively and in love with how I could use this to help others. I just needed a why, a why to learn something bigger than me.

Only a few months ago while completing my first published book, my Publisher rang to ask if we were ready to go to print, was I happy? should she press send? It was strange that I thought straight away of Mrs Bissell – I had done it, I had actually written my own book! I wondered what she would think if she knew that Hannah Banner had eventually believed in herself and she had achieved more than she thought possible.

I felt strangely overwhelmed. Could it be the exhaustion of proofreading, a dead line or sheer relief that my book was finally finished? No it was something much more than that, a sense of pride and achievement that I had done it, I had done exactly what my six-year-old self had set out to do. It wasn’t my story but it was a book, which would help children and young people overcome barriers, which would enable them to be the best version of themselves. I know this is a cliché and it’s true, there is no better way of describing it.

Having moved away from my hometown at nineteen to work within specialist education I had no idea if Mrs Bissell was still around. I attempted to work out how old she would be now, but at six everyone seems ancient don’t they?

The anticipation for my books physical arrival was tense, I dreamed of typing errors and people laughing at my work, my teenage self-wanting to blend once more.

I witness the negative power and destruction of social media in the people I support, it’s easy when you are vulnerable to compare your worst day with someone else’s fake reality. However for a moment in time I felt immense gratitude for one particular platform, Facebook. A humorous post about socialising and then having to go to work the next day, I am unable to remember who had posted it, it must have been a contact of an old school friend. One comment jumped out, my stomach lurched, Anji Bissell had commented. I quickly messaged asking ” Mrs Bissell is this you?”

The following morning I rushed downstairs to discover a reply ” Hannah Banner it certainly is”. I was overwhelmed with joy and we messaged for most of the day, reminiscing and making sure that Mrs Bissell knew exactly how my time with her had shaped my life. She had remained local and was only living a mile away from my parents.  Therein lies another message, do not ever take for granted that you will have an opportunity to do this. If someone has influenced you and given you a gift of words, time or their wisdom, then tell them now; do not wait as that day may never come. They need to know.

Standing on her doorstep with a copy of my book and an armful of flowers on Christmas Day this year was the best gift I could ever have ever had. The pride I felt delivering a dedicated copy was something else, it felt like I was closing a circle, tying up loose ends and I loved recounting the stories that had stayed with me throughout my life.

Mrs Bissell’s voice took me back to the classroom, which I did not expect and she still looked the same, having the same charisma and presence. It was an emotional reunion. She modestly brushed off my sentiments, that she was just doing her job. I think this is what makes her so special, she affected so many children and changed their lives, just by being herself. I will not be alone or unique, in my memories; I think that there are hundreds of people, who have their own Mrs Bissell story,

We stay in touch and write or message often, she has reviewed my book, which I have to admit was slightly nerve wracking and we have plans to lunch when it’s safe to do so. It was important to me that she liked The Brainy Bunch; I wanted her feedback because it still mattered to me. When she wrote saying that she could hear my voice and feel my personality in every page I was delighted. This was not just feedback from a highly experienced educator, this was someone who had inspired me all those years ago to dream big and work at it.

In examining my own memories I ask you to do the same, I have worked with thousands of teachers who often question their impact, yet still deliver an amazing education for those they teach. What you do matters. You do have a lifelong impact on all of your students, this involves not just academic subjects but as importantly, the fostering of self-esteem, self-awareness and turning what feels impossible into
inevitable. How powerful is that?

Hannah’s Bio

Author – Speaker – Facilitator – Therapist

Hannah’s early career started off in education and many years later she has come full circle.  Throughout her second career as a police officer, she developed a curiosity for the brain and a love of learning.  She achieved a BA (Hons) in Education at Leeds University and a Certificate in Education from Sunderland University. Since then she has continued to study, and she holds advanced qualifications in Neurolinguistic Programming; Hypnotherapy; and Applied Neuroscience as well as being a Practitioner in Brain and Behaviour Change.

Hannah has a natural ability to make sense of the science and transform it into straightforward, easy to understand tools and techniques.  Insights which often create light bulb moments for many of her delegates, learning which is easily shared with others. Hannah’s delivery style is warm and humorous as she believes learning needs to be enjoyable to be memorable Combining her fascination with neuroscience and her love of learning, Hannah has written and created ‘The Brainy Bunch’, a unique concept and creative means of being able to support children and young people to reach their full potential.

The Brainy Bunch – a quirky family of characters who represent chemicals and parts of the brain. Being able to provide children with helpful tools and techniques like this from an early age will undoubtedly lead to them developing into confident, self-aware and resilient adults.

Hannah has collaborated with Go Well to create the Team Up programme which incorporates the Brainy Bunch into an education programme to support children and young people to develop tools and techniques to stay well and thrive.

Hannah’s company, Hannah Bell Clarity, delivers workshops internationally to help organisations understand how to use their brain effectively to improve employee wellbeing and to create a culture of self-care.

Go Well Blog

5 top tips for integrating physical activity into a home learning day

The Chief Medical Officers’ recommendation is that children should take part in an average of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day. In normal circumstances a lot of this may be provided by opportunities within a normal school day, for example walking to and from school, playtimes, PE lessons and after school clubs. With children at home and parents supporting their learning, how can physical activity be integrated into the new ‘school day’?

Here are a few tips:

1. Start the day with some activity

Get the day off to a good start with some physical activity! Perhaps make it part of your morning routine. Being active releases lovely feel good chemicals that boost mood and can help to start your day in a positive mindset. Activities you could do include:

  • A workout – you could try our FFL Workout of the Week
  • A dance – to your favourite music or using a resource like Just Dance
  • A ‘follow me’ style video like Joe Wicks or Jumpstart Jonny

Our advice is to keep things varied and vibrant so perhaps do a different activity each morning. Why not join in with your children and boost your brain chemicals too?

2. Plan an outside physical activity into your day

Getting outside in the sunlight is so important for general well-being. Outdoor play would be normal at lunchtime within the school day. Perhaps plan an activity in to the middle of the day to break the day up a bit, have a change of scene and recharge your batteries. Activities you could do include:

  • Going out for a walk
  • Going for a jog/run
  • Going on a bike ride/scooter Ride

3. Have short brain breaks throughout the day

Being active releases chemicals in the brain that increase concentration and alertness! So whenever you feel a dip in your child’s motivation or concentration or they are finding a task particularly difficult, try a quick active brain break. Then return to the work and notice the difference! Visit Active 30 Durham Hub for some ideas for brain breaks.

4. Record and reward time spent being active

It can be motivating to record activity, see progress being made and be rewarded along the way. Perhaps create a reward chart where children can colour in the number of minutes they are active within the day. You can create goals and targets depending on your child’s starting point when it comes to activity. Some examples could be:

Completing 60 minutes on X number of days in the week.
Completing X number of minutes on a certain day or number of days
Completing 60 minutes for a streak of X days

What rewards can you give your children for completing their goal? Perhaps your child can think of some too!

To be effective for health benefits and to truly meet the CMO guidelines the activity levels should be moderate to vigorous. Our blog about what this is and how to measure it may be helpful.

5. Integrate movement with learning

If you can integrate movement with learning then you can kill two birds with one stone! We are slightly biased but we would argue that this can be more fun and engaging for some children. Active learning is something that is now very common in schools. Some ideas you could try:

  • Relay style games to collect answers or objects to then sort.
  • Treasure Hunts with questions or puzzles as clues or number/shape hunts in the house or outside.
  • Using your body to give answers e.g. squat for true, lunge for false, create letters or shapes with your body.
  • Target games with answers to hit or knock off or throwing a specific number to a target.


We hope you find these top tips helpful.  We know juggling everything is challenging right now and we feel physical activity can be especially helpful to relieve stress, improve concentration and improve mood.  It can be incorporated little and often into your day or in bigger chunks; whatever suits you best. I n Lockdown 1 children’s physical activity levels dropped significantly and we would like to support parents and schools to keep children moving in Lockdown 3.  We have created some free to access resources that may be helpful:

Physical activity and wellness activties.

A Weekly challenge fusing physical activity and creativity.

Workout of the Week

Mental Wellbeing Activities

Go Well Blog

The difference between physical activity and Physical Education and balancing them both in Lockdown 3.

When children are at school they take part in both Physical Education (recommended 2 hours per week) AND physical activity (recommended 30 minutes a day in school).  

There are distinct differences between the two:

Physical Activity is  ‘…all bodily movement that uses energy’ (AfPE)

Physical Education…’ takes place in a school curriculum…and involves learning to move and moving to learn’ (AfPE)

Benefits of each

 Both types of movement provide many benefits for young people:

Benefits of Physical Activity

Benefits of Physical Education

1. Improve physical health and fitness


2. Improve mental health and well being


3. Improve cognitive function


4. Reduce the risk of some diseases


5. Social interaction with friends and family members


6. Ease of access – scope for all to be involved as there will be no financial cost, equipment not always necessary.





1. Points 1-5 of Physical Activity benefits


2. Improved physical literacy


3. The knowledge and understanding of how to lead a healthy lifestyle


4. Developing wider skills – eg: leadership, communication skills, resilience,  teamwork, confidence and social skills


5. Acquiring the technique to perform individual transferable physical skills; being given the chance to develop them and put them into practise in a variety of environments


6.Evaluating skills; recognising what is good and what requires improvement and how to go about this


7. Breadth of opportunity – being able to unlock possible potential through a rich menu of high quality experiences


8. Personal targets and challenges and how to set these, to help individuals to achieve and make progress



Examples of Physical Activities

Examples of Physical Education Activities

Going for a walk, jog or run

Going on a bike ride

Doing the housework

Doing some DIY


Taking part in a fitness class

Recreational sport

A wide variety of sports and activities – Games, Swimming, Gymnastics, Dance, Outdoor Education

Adapted games and activities that have a key objective

Learning rules and regulations

Being a sports leader

Refereeing, umpiring and officiating

Potential to gain qualifications not only in PE but also in leadership and officiating



There is some clear overlap between the two.

When children take part in Physical Education they are likely to also be physically active.  However, when children take part in physical activity, there may not be strong elements of learning taking place, that would equate to that within a Physical Education session.  Learning is the key element of Physical Education.

Many children and parents are currently grappling with the demands of ‘home learning’.  Providing physical activity and Physical Education opportunities within this can be helpful not just for physical health and physical literacy but also for looking after mental health and creating a readiness to complete academic work set.

Our suggestion while learning at home, is to find the balance that suits you best, but to try to include both Physical Education and physical activity opportunities.  A good aim would be to meet the Chief Medical Officers guidelines of 60 minutes of activity a day and split that between physical activity and Physical Education.  You could do this in a variety of ways, for example:

  • 20 mins Physical education per day, 40 mins physical activity per day

  • 2 days Physical Education focus, 3 days physical activity focus

There are a range of resources available to support parents to encourage their children to be active at home.  A good selection of these can be found on the Active 30 Durham Hub (open to all – link below).

Top tips for delivering Physical Education based activities at home
  1. Use a Physical Education based resource

  2. Give demonstrations to your child (or ask other siblings to) to show good technique

  3. Ask your children questions during the activity such as “How does it feel? How can you improve your technique? When would you use this?”

  4. Have lots of fun interacting with your child and watching them achieve and learn new things!

  5. Practise to improve and be proud of all achievements!

 Good luck!

This blog was a collaboration between multiple members of the Go Well team.  For more information email

Further links that may be helpful

AfPE Importance of Physical Education, School Sport and Physical Activity Resources

Active 30 Durham Hub

Other blogs that may be useful

5 ideas for schools to support physical activity at home

Why moderate to vigorous intensity exercise is important for children and how to measure it

Go Well Blog

Making the most of Fitness in Education – How to design Fitness sessions to incorporate Personal Development.

We have seen a significant boom in the inclusion of fitness based sessions in Primary Schools following the popularity of ‘PE’ with Joe in lockdown and the concerns over decreasing fitness levels of children that became evident.

I say PE in inverted commas as I think it is fair to say that, on behalf of PE practitioners in my team that Joe Wicks MBE provided a fitness session as opposed to a physical education lesson.  

Children following the instructor on the screen like for like, for me, has its limitations.  Yes, children are moving but:

  • How do we ensure children are performing the correct technique?
  • How do the children know if they are working at the right intensity levels?
  • How do we keep them engaged and interested in the long term?
  • What are they learning?

In an education setting, I feel like we can achieve so much more.  We are missing a trick in what more a fitness session can bring to our children.

How to design Fitness sessions to incorporate Personal Development

I want to write today about how we can make the best use of a fitness session, in an education setting, whether that be within a PE lesson or as part of Active 30 provision, to bring about personal development.  

We know schools have very little time in their day to fit in everything they have to and want to do.  With a well-planned and prepared fitness programme we can make a significant impact not only on physical health, mental health but on character building too – all at the same time.

Intent is a word used a lot now in education; if our intent is to incorporate character building to our session then how we design the session is key.  

Here are a few tips on what you can do to develop the following skills/values through fitness sessions:


Fitness itself should be a tough exercise to take part in.  The aim is to get out of breath and sweaty, to be in the moderate to vigorous intensity zone and stay there.  Children can find this difficult (as can adults!).  Quite often we see children giving up when it gets a little tough.  So how we can encourage them to keep going?  We encourage two key things in this area:

Reward effort

For us, one of the key aims of a fitness session is to be working in the right intensity zone.  Whether that takes me 100 reps or 10 it really doesn’t matter.  Reward effort, reward the children working at the right intensity levels and doing their best.  You can access our Rate of Perceived Exertion to help with this.

Set personal goals

We do not advocate making all workouts competitive at a primary age, but seeing progress can motivate a young person to keep going and be determined.  Perhaps pick a few workouts or challenges to use as a measure of fitness, complete them in Week 1 and repeat them in Week 6 with the aim of achieving their personal best.


We can design workouts where teamwork and communication are required to be successful.  See below a work together workout from our Fit for Life programme.  Here the children have to work in a pair to complete the workout; they will have to communicate with each other and work together to complete it.  A personal favourite is adding ‘synced’ movements, where all team members have to complete a movement at the same time, such as a burpee.  To do this successfully they have to talk to each other, perhaps even communicate non verbal when they are out of breath to stay in sync!

Problem Solving/Strategising

We can design team workouts where children have to work together to create a strategy of how best to complete the workout.  Let the children discuss and decide how to split up the reps, give them an aim as this may change their strategy e.g. the aim is for everyone to be working at moderate to vigorous intensity, the aim is to complete the challenge in the fastest time, the aim is to get as many reps as possible, the aim is to perform the movements with the highest quality.  

In an individual workout we can provide a rep scheme that involves some decision making and strategy forming.  E.g.

Complete in any order:

  • 50 squats
  • 50 press ups
  • 50 lunges
  • 50 torso twists

Do you work through doing 50, 50, 50, 50?  Or do you 10 of each until it’s complete? 5 of each? Pair the movements? Easiest first? There are so many options to assess and decisions to make!  It will make for a fascinating discussion back in the classroom.

Also, you can allow multiple attempts at the same workout to allow different strategies to be tested.


There should be no one in the class finding the fitness session easy.  If they are, you aren’t challenging them enough or they aren’t challenging themselves enough.  We are all going to find ourselves struggling at some point in a fitness session, whether we can’t crack a move or we are totally out of breath and don’t think we can do another rep.  If we find ourselves in this position in an individual workout we will need some encouragement from our peers.  If we find ourselves in this position in a group workout we will need the support of our peers and they’ll know how we’re feeling at some point!  But it can stretch a little wider than that, we now all know how it can feel to struggle at something and we can empathise with others when they struggle too, in any area of life.

For all of the above, they won’t just happen with good design.  Fitness doesn’t teach personal development – we do.  

Fitness is one of the mediums/activities that we can use to do it.  How we design our sessions, what questions we ask, what discussions we prompt before, during and after a session helps children to learn and develop these key life skills/values.

If you haven’t got time to plan and prepare a fitness programme like this for your class or school but are interested in the concept, do get in touch – we can help.

For more information contact:

Further information:

Blog – Why moderate to vigorous intensity exercise is important to children and how to measure it.
Go Well Blog

The benefits of having PE, School Sport and Physical Activity at the HEART of our school curriculums and in the hearts of our children.

Ever wondered why some of us are so passionate about the power of a subject like PE?  Physical Education, School Sport and Physical Activity can be key in unlocking potential, not just for the elite athletes and top performers, but for every child.  School PE lessons and the school sport offer are no longer about aiming to develop an exceptional performer; instead they encompass so much more!  Let’s see what PE, School Sport and Physical Activity can do for our future generations….


Healthy habits 

PE, Physical Activity and sport all embed healthy habits, not just in terms of taking more exercise – we all know that we need to move more, to keep our joints healthy, to maintain a healthy weight etc; the recent Active 30 campaign is helping to reinforce this message in Primary schools; but they also all have a huge impact on other areas of our life too.  Habits such as deploying strategies to cope with stress and anxiety, co-operating with others, building meaningful relationships with others, learning to win and lose, knowing how to cope with setbacks but also how to use these as a catalyst for ambition, hard work, striving for success, acknowledging that instant gratification is often short-lived happiness and not always as rewarding as knowing you have worked hard for something. These things help to develop strong, resilient and well-rounded personalities. Isn’t that the kind of adult we want our children to grow into? 



Exercise is a great way to clear your mind, to gain some perspective, to release your frustrations; it allows us to self regulate, to refocus and gain some clarity, setting us up for whatever challenges lay ahead. Understanding our emotions and finding ways to recognise them, embrace them and choose to express them appropriately is something that can be and should be taught.  Movement is integral to human expression.


Following vigorous exercise your brain is more open to learning, meaning that if children were to do a quick 10 minute blast of exercise before their English or maths lesson their brain would be more open to being challenged, would potentially retain more information and problem solve more effectively. Shouldn’t we be in the business of maximising learning potential? 

Attention span

PE and sport require us to sharpen our attention, to look for detail, to make quick thinking decisions, respond to stimuli. These skills lead to actively involved, confident, connected, lifelong learners. Analysis and decision making allows us to see things from different points of view, to identify key influences and to select appropriate responses, empowering our decision making in future.



PE and competitive sport can very easily help children to understand sequencing of time, the importance of quick reactions, of how decisions made in an instant, can influence the outcome of a whole game, potentially having huge ramifications on the bigger picture.  Taking risks, being daring are key life skills that allow us to have adventures, to aim high, to challenge ourselves, to have self belief, to be able to overcome challenges, to work/sit outside of our comfort zone every now and then and be ok with that. Resilience is a big word – self regulation, being able to react to situations in a measured and calm manner requires a certain equilibrium. Sport teaches children to win and to lose, to support and celebrate the success of others but it also has the opportunity to develop ambition, drive, a try and try again attitude, an acceptance of limitations but an adaptability to goal set and to achieve.


We know that sleep is a great healer and medicine.  Whilst the National Sleep Foundation gives us recommendations about how much sleep we need according to age, they also recognise that this will vary according to how active we are and suggest that the more active you are the more sleep you may need. We know that people are leading far more sedentary working lives and that they are mentally exhausted, but switching minds off isn’t always easy. I refer you back to all of the things previously raised – physical activity has the tendency to tire you out, allowing you to clear your mind and therefore settle your thoughts, which in turn can lead to more restful sleep.


How powerful is all of that?  I could go on and on and on……….

Plato said “lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise saves it and preserves it”.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if it was at the HEART of our school curriculums and in the hearts of our children? 

Further reading: 

5 Reasons Why Physical Education Should Be An Important Part Of Your Curriculum – 360 Hoops (

Why study physical education? / Rationale / Health and physical education / Home – Senior Secondary (

How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? – Sleep Foundation

We hope you found this blog helpful.  For more information contact

Go Well Blog

How to create a Staff Strava Challenge

We recently won an Innovation Award at the National School Games Summit for a Strava Challenge we set up with Durham & Chester-le-Street SSP in Lockdown 1.  The challenge was successful in “rising to the challenge and doing things differently to solve problems as well as developing creative ways to overcome barriers.”   The challenge helped school staff to stay active, connected and support their mental health.  We therefore thought that it might be helpful to show you how to set up a Strava Group Challenge for your school school staff or organisation.


Create a CLUB on the Strava App –

Ensure it is a running club which means you can record distances from people both running and walking (but not cycling).  You can add logos and descriptions and then invite staff/colleagues to join. As the designated “admin” for the group you can see who wants to join and then accept or deny them entry into the club.

The way the club works is that from 1 minute past midnight on a Sunday night you are off – every time a member of your team/club does an activity it records it and adds it to your weekly total – as a whole and also as an individual. You can then see who is doing the longest runs, the most uphill climbs, the greatest time out exercising.  It is displayed in a league table.


Decide a cut off time for taking daily totals – we suggest 9pm.  Any miles/kilometres after that time can be rolled over to the next day. You could make a google map of how far you have travelled that day and a Canva template to compare the team totals if you are challenging another group. Our first challenge was to travel from John O’Groats to Land’s End (a mere 874 miles) and as we progressed quickly during the week (there were over 340 participants split very evenly between the two clubs – we decided to turn around and head back up North to double the distance!).


Keep your team members motivated by creating a POST in Strava in order to let them know how they are doing at various points during the week.  This can include photos as well as text. Perhaps you have passed a particularly interesting landmark or famous city?


  • Pick an achievable distance to cover in a week depending on how many team members you have – most people should be able to do 3 or 4 miles per day.

  • Pick an iconic route – Hadrian’s Wall, The Pennine Way, Route 66 – or travel between two cities (we went from Paris to Milan one week!)

  • Take a break from travelling for distance and travel for ART! This will bring out the artistic flair of staff as they try to design their walking/running routes in order to make a pretty pattern or a picture. You will see lots of pans, worms and boxes but also stick people, horses, snails and flowers! Find someone from another company to be the judge.

  • Set up a Whatsapp group to encourage team chat and motivation.

  • Have a theme – take a photo of an animal, some scenery, famous landmarks, something green.

  • Create smaller teams and then have weekly challenges between them – who can climb the most metres?  Who can visit the most places starting with the letter S?

  • Most importantly have FUN, keep HEALTHY and ACTIVE and ENJOY!

We hope you found this blog helpful.  For more information contact