Active Schools Conference
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An evidenced approach for whole school improvement

Graphic: 16 November, 9.30 – 3.30,  Sandown Park racecourse, Esher KT10 9AJ

National, post-pandemic research shows that headteachers are concerned about gaps in learning, mental and emotional well-being, and lack of time for physical activity in school.

The Active Schools conference (KS1-2) demonstrated that thinking differently about how and when children move can deliver wider benefits for schools, pupils and communities. The conference showcased the evidence behind 'active learning' for whole school improvement to attendees ranging from Governors and Heads to Subject Leads. 

Expert speakers Joanna Feast, Jon Smedley and Dan Wilson delivered insights on the impact of physical activity in system, policy and behaviour change and how this affects inclusion, pupil well-being, attainment and behaviour.

You can view the slides from Joanna's and Jon/Dan's joint presentation by clicking on the relevant links below.


Our morning speakers

Joanna Feast

Joanna is an education consultant specialising in PSHE, with a background in teaching and a former Healthy Schools programme lead. She is also a consultant for Sport In Mind (a charity using physical activity to improve the lives of people experiencing mental health problems).

Joanna Feast

Dan Wilson

After 12 years’ teaching, Dan became a Curriculum Consultant, worked with Government departments on the School Sport & Activity Action Plan and has been instrumental in developing the influential Creating Active Schools (CAS) Framework.

Dan Wilson

Jon Smedley

Jon has 20+ years’ experience in education, as a senior leader, Primary Advisor and PE Consultant. He is passionate about using active teaching and learning strategies as a catalyst to raise standards in other areas of the curriculum.

Jon Smedley



Speaker contact details

Below you will find a list of the professionals (and their contact details) who delivered presentaitons / workshops at the conference.

Speaker: email & website


Joanna Feast 

Keynote: The theory behind child wellbeing
An evidence-based overview of movement, from the theory of health-related behaviour and barriers to change, to the physical, psychological and sensory benefits of being active and rest. Sharing the latest research about what our bodies need, she'll demonstrate how you - as influencers and educators - can use movement as a tool for whole school improvement and how a ‘manifesto for movement’ can help pupils get active in a way that works for them. 

Jon Smedley 

Dan Wilson 

Creating a cultural change towards physically active learning - an evidence based approach

Dan and Jon will showcase the benefits of physical activity for school policy and practice in this interactive session. Evidencing the impact of active learning, they will show how using the ‘Creating Active Schools (CAS) framework’ leads to behavioural change and can help shift policy. The session covers the importance of cultural change, helping senior leaders understand how physical activity impacts on Teaching and Learning with reference to Ofsted key focus and Deep Dives. 

Wendy Newton (Active Surrey)

Active Surrey and the local support available for change in schools


Louise Edwards 

Creating a culture of learning actively, outdoors

Evidence of the benefits of learning in a green, natural environment is compelling, as shown by the number of schools in Surrey adopting the approach. Embracing the teaching of parts of the curriculum outdoors has significant benefits on the health, well-being and attainment of your children. 

This workshop will explore ways in which you can create an outdoor learning culture within your school and overcome the perceived barriers to teaching outside more of the time, citing the support that's available.


Jon Smedley 

Active learning in Maths and English

This workshop will further explore the benefits of active learning through Teach Active’s award winning online platform.  Contributing to the CMO's recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity, these resources have been proven to improve attitudes and raise attainment in Maths and English, whilst also improving children’s health and wellbeing. Teach Active has been recognised by Parliament for its outstanding contribution to education.

Rebecca Huntingford (Specialist Teacher in Inclusive Practice, SCC)

Managing challenging behaviour 

Understand why challenging behaviours may be occurring and learn practical tips for supporting young people. This workshop explores ways in which structured physical activity can help regulate individuals mental state and enhance positive behaviours, so teachers and staff feel more confident in dealing with difficult situations, and build positive relationships.

Sarah Williams (Active Surrey)

Creating an Active Schools Movement in your school

Finding everyday ways to get children moving across the school day can help them moderate their behaviour and improve performance in class. Active Schools Movement is designed to support all Surrey schools in creating a more active and stimulating school environment.

Discover how the Active Schools team can support your school to encourage more movement across the p;rogramme's four priority areas of travel to and from school; time at play; and ready-made solutions for work in class and away from school.

Jo Pilgrim 

Positive experiences of competition

"Competition” triggers negative emotions for some, but it is a reality of life far beyond school and community sport.

The Youth Sport Trust will introduce the “Road to competition” framework to understand how best to select, prepare and support your pupils prior to them representing their school at sporting events and activities, to ensure competition is regarded as a positive experience.

Dan Wilson 

Creating Active Schools (CAS) framework – online resources for sustainable impact

Following on from the morning session, Dan will further demonstrate how the CAS framework embeds physical activity throughout the school so that everyone understands its benefits and can easily implement it in practice. The online CAS system uniquely supports schools through the entire improvement process; from profiling to action planning and training.

Tim Dancer 

Driving family engagement in PE through digital resources

Helping schools unlock the lifelong benefits of improved physical literacy for every child aged 4-7, BURSTS is a Physical Education app that offers exciting, meaningful, personalised physical activities for children and their families at home so they can enjoy being active together. It enables schools to evidence improvements in physical literacy (Fundamental Movement Skills) and positive learning behaviours as families gain the confidence to enjoy being active together.