Assessing the Impacts of Creating Active Schools on Organisational Culture for Physical Activity

Publication authors

Zoe E. Helme, Jade L. Morris, Joanna Nichols, Anna E. Chalkley, Daniel D. Bingham, Gabriella M. McLoughlin, John B. Bartholomew and Andrew Daly-Smith


Background: National and international guidance recommends whole-school approaches to physical activity, but there are few studies assessing their effectiveness, especially at an organisational level. This study assesses the impact of the Creating Active School’s (CAS) programme on organisational changes to physical activity provision. Methods: In-school CAS leads completed a 77-item questionnaire assessing school-level organisational change. The questionnaire comprised 19 domains aligned with the CAS framework and COM-B model of behaviour change. Wilcoxon Signed Rank Tests assessed the pre-to-nine-month change. Results: >70% of schools (n = 53) pre-CAS had inadequate whole-school physical activity provision. After nine months (n = 32), CAS had a significant positive effect on organisational physical activity. The positive change was observed for: whole-school culture and ethos, teachers and wider school staff, academic lessons, physical education (PE) lessons, commute to/from school and stakeholder behaviour. Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence that CAS is a viable model to facilitate system-level change for physical activity in schools located within deprived areas of a multi-ethnic city. To confirm the results, future studies are required which adopt controlled designs combined with a holistic understanding of implementation determinants and underlying mechanisms.