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Andy Daly-Smith, Thomas Quarmby, Victoria S. J. Archbold, Nicola Corrigan, Dan Wilson, Geir K. Resaland, John B. Bartholomew, Amika Singh, Hege E. Tjomsland, Lauren B. Sherar, Anna Chalkley, Ash C. Routen, Darren Shickle, Daniel D. Bingham, Sally E. Barber, Esther van Sluijs, Stuart J. Fairclough & Jim McKenna
UK and global policies recommend whole-school approaches to improve childrens’ inadequate physical activity (PA) levels. Yet, recent meta-analyses establish current interventions as ineffective due to suboptimal implementation rates and poor sustainability. To create effective interventions, which recognise schools as complex adaptive sub-systems, multi-stakeholder input is necessary. Further, to ensure ‘systems’ change, a framework is required that identifies all components of a whole-school PA approach. The study’s aim was to co-develop a whole-school PA framework using the double diamond design approach (DDDA).
Fifty stakeholders engaged in a six-phase DDDA workshop undertaking tasks within same stakeholder (n = 9; UK researchers, public health specialists, active schools coordinators, headteachers, teachers, active partner schools specialists, national organisations, Sport England local delivery pilot representatives and international researchers) and mixed (n = 6) stakeholder groupings. Six draft frameworks were created before stakeholders voted for one ‘initial’ framework. Next, stakeholders reviewed the ‘initial’ framework, proposing modifications. Following the workshop, stakeholders voted on eight modifications using an online questionnaire.
Following voting, the Creating Active Schools Framework (CAS) was designed. At the centre, ethos and practice drive school policy and vision, creating the physical and social environments in which five key stakeholder groups operate to deliver PA through seven opportunities both within and beyond school. At the top of the model, initial and in-service teacher training foster teachers’ capability, opportunity and motivation (COM-B) to deliver whole-school PA. National policy and organisations drive top-down initiatives that support or hinder whole-school PA.
To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first time practitioners, policymakers and researchers have co-designed a whole-school PA framework from initial conception. The novelty of CAS resides in identifying the multitude of interconnecting components of a whole-school adaptive sub-system; exposing the complexity required to create systems change. The framework can be used to shape future policy, research and practice to embed sustainable PA interventions within schools. To enact such change, CAS presents a potential paradigm shift, providing a map and method to guide future co-production by multiple experts of PA initiatives ‘with’ schools, while abandoning outdated traditional approaches of implementing interventions ‘on’ schools.