Guest, Ben Kirk: the link between physical activity and academic ability

Today’s guest is Ben Kirk: Ben is a dad of two girls, a former professional footballer, PE teacher and now founder of Inspired Schools, an organization that then has set up with a vision to raise physical activity in primary aged children.

Ben is a dad of two girls, a former professional footballer, PE teacher and now founder of Inspired Schools. Inspired Schools is an organization that then has set up with a vision to raise physical activity in primary aged children. Ben is also a former secondary school teacher – and has seen first hand, time and time again the link between literacy and physical activity.

Inspired schools is an idea designed around a set of playground markings. Marking that they’ve designed themselves. The “special sauce” is the way they train the teachers and children to use these activity stations. There are five stations, and every station has got six elements to it, so your average class of around 30 is instantly socially distance on the markings. It’s a great framework for schools – and gives great early leadership opportunities to children too.

Ben shares an example of a boy who was struggling academically, and after this program his writing improved – but more importantly to him – he was able to ride a bike without stabilisers (his core strength having improved).

Ben engaging more reluctant children in PE – the importance of the PE Teacher in tweaking the lesson slightly in differentiating teams, having children of a similar ability play together and even play within their friendship groups to keep motivation high.

But for lockdown – Ben shares his tips for getting children out and about and keeping it fun.

I know my temptation is “finish this and THEN we’ll go and take a break in the garden”. Ben suggests the opposite.

Ben says if his daughter is doing maths homework and finding it challenging they will have a break and go outside into the garden. And he’ll try and weave some maths into some physical activity or If it’s a a number problem, he might set up an obstacle course in the garden and have some counters that she needs to get at the end, do some maths that way.

Ben also suggests that at this age – it’s not so much about technique – but enjoyment. Doing things they love.

More information

· Here’s the link to YouTube Inspired Schools: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYaetoScFq75ti-GSnNAhbw/videos

· The Inspired Schools Website: https://inspiredschools.co.uk/

· The Inspired Schools Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/190053748481074

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