Supporting Children to Lead Healthy Lives
Flying Start and Beyond, and Ready 4 School are two new physical activity and physical literacy projects, both targeted at the most disadvantaged children in reception classes in primary schools, on Canvey Island.
The cohort of pupils targeted, are either children on free school meals, from low-income families or working families, which are priority groups for the Essex County Council’s Levelling Up approach. Both projects have received ECC Levelling Up funding.
Physical activity has an important role to play in supporting levelling up on Canvey Island. With Castle Point scoring below the average level of current performance in both ‘strong foundations in early years’ and ‘successful school years’, projects like this are vital to support the health, wellbeing and physical literacy of our youngest residents.
66% of pupils from the most deprived 20%, achieve a Good Level of Development (GLD) at the end of reception year, vs 79% in the least deprived. For Canvey Island, only 58% of the most disadvantaged reach GLD and do not perform as well as other disadvantaged children in the rest of the Castle Point District, at the end of reception year. Both of these projects, have been designed to contribute to the wider development of children on Canvey Island.
Ready 4 School uses carefully designed physical activity breakfast club sessions, to develop reception children’s fine and gross motor skills. This helps to improve physical literacy, focus and concentration, which are vital for school attainment and school readiness. It has been proven that children who enjoy, and are more competent and confident in physical activity, are more physically literate. Engaging early years children with the fundamental skills of play, agility, balance, coordination and movement, enhances growth and development, which contributes towards improved physical literacy.
Flying Start and Beyond develops positive early experiences of school physical education and maximises activity to ensure a highly skilled workforce will be best placed to encourage children to enjoy physical activity from an early age.
To date, four schools have engaged in Ready 4 School and Flying Start and Beyond; Winter Gardens Academy, St Katherine’s, St Josephs and Canvey Infants. These projects will support children to be able to concentrate better in lessons, improve interaction with other children and support them to reach GLD by the end of the year.