Over 80 per cent of children and young people (5-15) do not meet the guideline of 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Islington's Health and Wellbeing Team are keen to work with schools to develop creative and exciting ways of raising pupils’ physical activities outside of PE lessons, particularly for the least active children.

If you would like us to visit your school to discuss ideas to support your work, please contact Denise Lake

Email Denise Lake

See below for further information on exciting physical activity initiatives.

Physical Activity Ideas

Moving & Improving Clubs focus on getting children to move more and improve their physical skills, utilising alternative, simple and inclusive activities and sports to enable everyone to achieve and succeed. Resources and support can be utilised to create a new club at your school or integrated into existing breakfast, lunchtime or after-school clubs, yet the core focus is to engage and develop the least active children to become more confident, competent and healthy.

Clubs should aim to have at least a 50% ratio of children deemed to be least active or disengaged as this is the primary focus to target those who don’t traditionally take part in extra-curricular physical activities. Children can be from any year group, though it is recommended particular attention should be upon years 3 and 4.

What is on offer:

  • Training and support to staff to upskill to be able to run moving and improving activities and sessions (with the potential for delivery assistants to support schools with their clubs)

  • Staff resources for ideas around ‘Moving and Improving’

  • Pupils challenge booklets to track their progress

  • Various sports competitions during the year that encourage ‘Moving and Improving’ pupils to attend

  • Invite to ‘Moving and Improving Festival’, celebrate the success and achievement of those pupils during the year.

For further information on the clubs, please contact Denise Lake


Moving and Improving sample booklet

What is Race to Health?

Race to Health is a very simple initiative that encourages children to be more active every day. It is an online inter and intra-school physical activity challenge for children with the aim of increasing physical activity levels to the recommended 60 minutes/day. 

After last year’s successful five-week race we’re once again launching our newly Award Winning Race to Health physical activity competition this summer term!


What is involved?

The more active pupils are the quicker the school will reach the finishing line.  Pupils will be asked to log their physical activity minutes on our fun interactive website with the aim of achieving the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity.  Whilst on the site pupils will be able to track their own progress as well as that of their class and the schools.  Pupils will also be able to customise their own page, collect medals and points each week and learn interesting information about other countries, cultures, science, engineering and literacy.

If your school is interested in working with us during the duration of the Race to Health to actively increase the physical activity levels of your pupils, register you interest for this year’s race by emailing Denise Lake.


Watch a short video which explains what Race to Health is all about:

Going the extra mile…

As part of this year’s Race to Health we are also encouraging schools to take up the Daily Mile, a simple initiative that has been found to have profound effects in improving children’s fitness, concentration, behaviour, mood and overall wellbeing.

Teacher user guide Race to Health

Race to health at home route

Race to health at home letter to parents

Race to health at home primary school infomation

Daily Mile

If your school would like more information on the Race to Health please contact Denise Lake for further details.

In the UK, 14% of girls aged between 5-16 years achieve the recommended daily amount of physical activity of 60 minutes per day. This figure drops to 10% in girls aged between 13-16 years. In order to address the low levels of girl’s participation in physical activity, the PESSPA team is working to support secondary school girls in Islington to be more physically active.  in order to best understand the girls’ barriers to engaging in physical activity and to support both secondary school girls and secondary school staff to increase the physical activity levels of teenage girls, we have been working closely with all of the Islington secondary schools that have a female cohort.

As the aim of the work is to support and encourage girls to do more physical activity and to continue being physically active throughout adulthood, we have been consulting with school PE departments, through in depth interviews and with girls in the schools through focus groups and online surveys.

The Active School Planner is a tool develop by Youth Sport Trust, in association with Public Health England and input from Healthy Schools. It is a self-review tool to help you support children in achieving 60 active minutes daily. The tool allows you to input the current activity levels of your school, classes or even more specific groups to create an evidence base of your pupils’ physical activity over the day. Schools are then encouraged to work upon this with suggestions of actions you may take to become a more active school. visit activeschoolplanner.org to take a look at the planning tool, there are a number of videos and resources available to support you to use the tool and make changes at school.


Try Before You Bike https://www.islington.gov.uk/roads/cycling/try-before-you-bike Affordable cycle and accessories purchase scheme with free Cycle Skills sessions to get you started
Islington Council is working with Pedal My Wheels to make it easier for people who live work or study in Islington to buy a bike.

Pay the monthly fee until you either own the bike or you wish to return your bike:
●      Pay a monthly fee of under £10 for a children’s bike, £20 for a standard bike or £100 for e-cargo bikes
●      You can return your bike any time after one month
●      A fully fitted bike including accessories can be delivered to your home or work
●      You will receive a personalised two-hour Cycle Skills session on delivery
●      You will also have a dedicated cycle mentor for ongoing support and advice
●      You can chose from a wide range of bikes
●      Comprehensive insurance and maintenance packages are available
●      Easy to use online order system
Sign up with Peddle My Wheels who run the programme on behalf of Islington Council.
Image (from PMW website https://www.peddlemywheels.com/try-before-you-bike

STARS – transport for London

A fun, interactive and healthy initiative to safely promote sustainable travel throughout schools and the local community. Islington Council is committed to promoting alternative methods of travel whilst offering great opportunities for schools to get involved in.
Islington Council helps Islington schools commit to more active, safe and sustainable travel. Get involved and learn more on https://stars.tfl.gov.uk/ or get in touch with Sobastian Frazer, Islington Council’s Active Travel Plan Officer on Sobastian.Frazer@islington.gov.uk
Image (from TfL’s website https://stars.tfl.gov.uk/): 


Mini Mermaids

Mini Mermaid Running Club is aiming to increase self-esteem and confidence in girls whilst encouraging them to take part in movement and activity, allowing them to really feel how being more active can benefit their mental and physical health. Our programmes consist of group discussions, journal work, games, movement and activities.

 We work to help the girls identify their two internal voices of Mini Mermaid and Siren, to listen to their positive, self-affirming voice of Mini Mermaid and to tell Siren to be quiet. Learning about self-worth, whoever you are and whatever you have, is such an important message for girls growing up today and can help them identify positive role models, navigate life more kindly and know they can set goals and achieve them.

 A 5km challenge at the end of the programme is the finale of the course where they are encouraged to complete it however they can, taking everything they have learnt throughout the sessions to help them around.

Mini Mermaid Running club

Young Tritons Club

Young Tritons Running Club is aiming to challenge the typical description of strength that boys are so often exposed to, whilst encouraging them to take part in movement and activity, allowing them to really feel how being more active can benefit their mental and physical health. Our programmes consist of group discussions, journal work, games, movement and activities.

 We work to help the boys understand they can be strong by working as a team, sharing their emotions, helping and encouraging each other in all areas of life, not just ‘on the football field’.

A 5km challenge at the end of the programme is the finale of the course where they are encouraged to complete it however they can, taking everything they have learnt throughout the sessions to help them around.



Mini Mermaids and Young Tritons in-house training offer

The facilitators of both the Mini Mermaids and Young Tritons running clubs are now offering in-house training to schools, enabling schools to run the clubs themselves following staff training. For more information see the attached PDF below.

Mini Mermaids and Young Tritons

Mini Mermaids and Youn Tritons in-house training offer


Sport England is running a national survey to understand more about children and young people's engagement and attitudes towards sport and physical activity. Schools are chosen at random to take part in the survey and I will be in touch if your school is chosen to take part in the future. It is well worth participating in the survey as it gives Sport England an overview of the physical activity levels of young people on a national, city and borough level, the results of which will influence policy and the ways in which physical activity is funded in future.

Comparison of the National, London and Islington results suggest that the majority of children and young people in Islington, England are not meeting the recommended daily 60 minutes of physical activity. Encouragingly, however, the percentage of children doing the recommended 30 minutes (or more) physical activity in school is higher in Islington than it is in both London and England at 30.3%. I think we can all agree that we need to get our children and young people doing more physical activity and to help them achieve their RDA of 60 minutes. The full results of the first year of the survey have recently been published and can be found below.

Active lives children and young people report