Information, guidance, and teaching resources about physical activity in schools.

These resources may help if you're completing our physical activity specialist or other healthy schools awards.

Physical activity is necessary for a healthy life. 

Schools should deliver at least 30 minutes of physical activity Go to (opens new window) every day, through:

  • active break times
  • PE, at least two hours a week
  • extra-curricular clubs
  • active lessons
  • other sport and physical activity events

Physical education (PE) is a compulsory part of the curriculum Go to (opens new window) for all pupils at every Key Stage, from age 4 to 16. Departmental guidance recommends that schools should provide pupils with a minimum of two hours curricular PE per week. 

Why physical activity is important

According to government research, Go to (opens new window) it helps pupils:

  • improve concentration and attention
  • reduce anxiety and stress
  • have positive mental wellbeing
  • with their academic achievements
  • have better physical health such as healthy weight, muscular strength, bone health, and cardiorespiratory fitness 
  • have a positive sense of self

Physical activity can also benefit school staff by:

  • improving mood
  • reducing stress, anxiety, and depression 
  • reducing the risk of illnesses
  • managing long term health conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity

How much physical activity children should be doing

The government's childhood obesity plan for action Go to (opens new window) recommends that:

  • children get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day
  • at least 30 minutes should be delivered in school every day
  • the remaining 30 minutes should be supported by parents and carers outside of school time

Support your staff to exercise

To support your staff to get exercise, you should:

  • give them information on the benefits that even small amounts of exercise have towards health and wellbeing
  • encourage staff to take breaks and go outside at lunchtime
  • put workplace challenges in place, such as taking the stairs and not the lift or swapping the car for a bike twice a week
  • promote active travel, such as cycling or walking to school

Physical activity resources


What works in schools and colleges to increase physical activity? On GOV.UK.

Advice from Modeshift Stars on planning active travel to school Go to (opens new window).

Sustrans safe and active school runs Go to (opens new window).

Living Streets walk to school initiatives, resources stories Go to (opens new window).

Videos on keeping your school active during COVID Go to (opens new window).

Support from Wesport for local schools and sport, including CPD, advice on sports funding and PE programmes Go to (opens new window).

Activities and posters from This Girl Can encouraging girls and young women to take up sport Go to (opens new window).

Childhood Obesity: a plan for action Go to (opens new window).

NICE guidance on childhood physical activity Go to (opens new window)

NICE guidance onphysical activity in the workplace Go to (opens new window).

Getting your staff active with NHS advice Go to (opens new window).

Teachers and school staff

Easy 10 minutes shake-ups for the classroom Go to (opens new window).

Doing the daily mile: a simple way to incorporate 15 minutes of activity into the school day Go to (opens new window).

Youth Sport Trust: Lesson plans and activity ideas to reach the 30-minute target Go to (opens new window).

Games and ideas for active school days with Change4Life Go to (opens new window).

Parents and Carers

Getting active at home: ideas and games with Active for Life Go to (opens new window).

Games and ideas for home activities with Change4Life Go to (opens new window).