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Table 2 Guidelines to creating successful health interventions within primary schools

From: Community led active schools programme (CLASP) exploring the implementation of health interventions in primary schools: headteachers’ perspectives

Planning and organisation “Where it’s packaged and well thought out and well supported, you know, that’s when you get the benefit…" (Pilot 2 – Retired Headteacher)
  “…also that we know in advance that you’re coming in because if the class teachers plan to do something and then only two or three children are coming out, then that is destructive because one they’ve missed whatever it is the class is doing, and secondly after you are finished with them and they come back in the class teacher then has got to get them into the lesson and catch up on what they’ve missed. So it’s about organising the time that you do come in.” (Participant F - Headteacher)
  “…what we find is that the government tend to fund something and when it’s working really well, they take the funding away…” (Participant E - Headteacher)
Collaboration “I think it’s collaborating with sports clubs. I know that rugby has got this phrase, ‘The club is the hub’, and really these days the clubs are the people who are driving physical activity, and we just give them the tasters really. I think where we do our best work we probably are linked in with clubs.” (Participant P - Headteacher)
  “I feel strongly that you need to get everybody on board so you need to have the child themselves understanding, right, this is what’s going on and this is why it’s going on, you need to have the parents on board because unless they’re on board and they understand exactly why we’re doing what we’re doing then they could potentially undo some of the hard work that’s been put in…the class teacher needs to be involved so that they can reinforce it with the children, and then whoever’s delivering it so whether that would be health professional or yourselves, somebody from the university, you know, so it’s lots of people involved in it.” (Participant C – School Health Co-ordinator)
Expertise “I think what we do tend to lack is expertise, because everybody kind of thinks ‘oh yeah, you can go and do a gym lesson, that’s not a problem at all’ but in actual fact, our staff are not experts…” (Participant E - Headteacher)
  “Well ideally it would need to be sustainable so if somebody came in and up-skilled our staff and worked alongside them for a period of time and then left so it could be maintained because we understand, you know, you can’t be every day for whatever so there would be an element of sort of training with them, modelling it to them, leaving and then having sort of visits every now and again, coming back, making sure that what was set up is still in place.” (Participant Q - Deputy)
Child-centred “…so it’s finding out what the children want so putting questionnaires out prior to starting it, to find out exactly what they would come to in terms of physical exercise so maybe giving them a choice of, I don’t know, ten different things and saying, which one would you turn up to so that they’ve got some kind of input in it and they’re far more likely to come if they think they’ve had a hand to play in it as well…” (Participant C – School Health co-ordinator)
  “…we’ve found things that the children are involved in are the most successful…it’s just part and parcel of what we do, it’s not even given a second thought and that’s the sort of thing you want isn’t it that when you move and they take it over, that it will run and be sustainable…” (Participant G-Healthy School Co-ordinator)
Cross-curricular “Coz when it snowed we were open, went out in the snow and we did like welsh describing words, you know they actually held the snow, that's the best way to do it rather than sitting here and do it so you know go out and give them firsthand experience of it. They learn better like that.” (Participant M - Headteacher)
  “…it needs to be agreed focus but also it needs to match our assessment criteria of the children because very often we have for instance, organisations come in, they’ll do like a block of activities and then they’ve gone but then we have no sort of understanding of what skills they’ve hit, how that matches our assessment of the children so then that becomes a reluctance because that’s taken up perhaps four or five weeks of our sort of PE time or games time with the children and we’ve got to go back and reassess and so on so there needs to be that link as well…" (Participant Q – Deputy Headteacher)
Whole school or whole class approach “So yeah, where it has a significant impact on children’s learning, I like, as I say, whole school and whole phase, those that are inclusive, we have two specialist teaching facilities here for children with moderate learning difficulties and we have a number of children with mobility issues or difficulties and so everything we do we’re always considering how can we include everybody in this, and that’s one of the wow factors, if you like, when you sort of stand back and reflect or observe something is seeing the children working in harmony with each other and being very accepting and supportive, excuse me, so that’s something that’s really important to us here as a school.” (Participant H - Headteacher)
  “…we will offer the children the chances to take part in a competitive way, but only if they want to. It doesn’t count. The points count for the thing everybody takes part in. Those events are just there because some children are good at it, but nobody’s gonna have to run and come last openly. I mean, you’d never do it in any other curriculum, so why would you dare humiliate kids, you know, it’s horrible isn’t it. It’s what I grew up in. I was lucky, I was quite good at athletics, but for kids who… There couldn’t have been anything worse.” (Participant J - Headteacher)
Adaptability “Can I say perhaps that academic researchers sometimes have no idea what goes on a school, at the you know, at the 200 screaming kids level.” (Pilot 2 – Retired Headteacher)
  “I think there’s a lot going on, yeah, I don’t know that there’s too many, I think there just seems to be a huge period of change if you like but the change is very quick, no sooner have you started to embed something then another thing comes along and it gets a little kind of like right, whoa we’re gonna stop, we’re gonna focus on this, this is what we’re going to do and we’re going to embed it, ‘cos it’s right for our school, and not every intervention is right for every school, you know, there are some that are more needy in some areas than others and I think it’s sort of acknowledging what is right for your school and thinking yeah, this is the path we’re going to go down.” (Participant H - Headteacher)
  “it’s always about reinventing things and teachers are pretty good at thinking outside the box and they can be fairly creative. So I think it’s about putting new twists on things, really, to be honest, just to keep everybody into… and you can tell when things start to flag, can’t you, you know.” (Participant E - Headteacher)