The Creating Active Schools (CAS) Framework was developed by an international group of experts to promote a whole systems approach to school improvement.
It can be used in all schools and is flexible to adapt to cohort or circumstances. All stakeholders, from local authorities to school leaders and pupils should play a role in embedding physical activity in the school’s ethos. This framework aims to show there are roles for everyone.
The CAS Framework is unique in the way it clearly articulates the many factors that need to be addressed to create a whole systems approach to change behaviours allowing for increased opportunities for children to be active in a school setting.
Following a top down model with the school’s vision and mission at its heart, it allows schools to identify their strengths and challenges and prioritise their work accordingly. Building on their existing assets and using whole school priorities as a driver for improvement, CAS supports schools to align physical activity to other areas of work such as attainment, behaviour and wellbeing.
Working in this way, it ensures that creating opportunities to be physically active is everyone in the school’s community’s responsibility, not just that of the PE lead or coach.
The overriding principle at the heart of CAS is behaviour change. In this respect, it follows the world renowned and commonly acknowledged principles of Michie’s COM-B model of behaviour change. It identifies three factors that need to be present for any behaviour to occur: capability, opportunity and motivation and overlays these on to the four themes within the framework; Policy, Environments, Stakeholders and Opportunities.
Early impact in schools across the country has seen small but significant changes at a strategic level having a big impact on how physical activity is viewed in schools. Some examples are:
- Adding ‘Be Active’ to the school rules
- Including an ‘opportunities to be active’ box on lesson plans
- Investing in binoculars instead of pedometers to encourage outdoor learning
Learning emerging from work with the Bradford Local Delivery Pilot has demonstrated the need for a tangible way to use the CAS Framework to profile school’s existing practise and support them to change behaviours, thereby increasing pupil’s exposure and experiences of physical activity throughout the school day.
With investment from the Local Delivery Pilot and Yorkshire Sport Foundation, this has led to an online suite of support being developed which will enable schools to profile, action plan and complete tailored Continous Professional Development in line with CAS. This will be piloted with the Active Partnership National Team and Active Partnerships across England throughout the 2021-22 academic year with a view to roll out to all schools from September 2022.
An initial impact report of how the CAS framework has been used in Bradford during 2020 can be viewed here.
For more information visit https://www.yorkshiresport.org/what-we-do/in-education/creating-active-schools/