Thanks for this blog post from Tagitv8, partner of Maths Week London 2019, about the importance of movement when it comes to maths!



What’s Going On?

Modern schools are incredibly busy places with relentless pressure to increase standards. In an education system seemingly driven by data, many children in primary schools subsist on a staple diet of English and Mathematics. At the same time, the health and well being of UK primary school children is on the decline.


  • Physical activity levels amongst UK primary-aged children are falling from as early as 7-years of age.  
  • Only 10% of children achieve the daily recommendations for physical activity.
  • Increasing numbers of children in the UK are leaving school classified as obese or overweight.  
Traditional approaches towards improving health outcomes for children focus heavily upon Sport & PE during segmented periods of the school day. But does this actually engage all children in becoming more active? Or does it merely maintain the levels of those who are already active?

School lessons are the most inactive part of a child’s day, including minimal time for physical activity. Therefore, If children spend the majority of time at school sat in a chair, it raises the question, “Are we establishing a positive health trajectory and what are the consequences?”


Physically Active Learning Solutions

We find ourselves in the middle of an obesity and mental health epidemic – both of which are detrimental to educational performance. So what is the solution? Could it be Physically Active Learning (PAL)?

Research in this field has found that  PAL can:

  • Improve classroom behaviour and activity engagement.
  • Significantly reduce sedentary periods of time.  
  • Offer aggregated improvement in academic performance over time.

Studies show that children who are physically fit are better at absorbing, and retaining new information. PAL approaches not only provide an enjoyable alternative to classroom based learning, but promote physical activity at the same time – which is undeniably crucial when we all face the increasing problem of sedentary lifestyles.

We know that Physical Activity impacts on health – whether it be better:

  • weight management
  • muscle and bone growth
  • sleep patterns

Physical Activity also impacts on academic performance – as demonstrated by improvements in attendance, attainment and achievement. The smiles speak volumes, as do the words of the teachers and the learners.

There are pioneering schools, universities and organisations who are looking at ways we can increase and embed creative opportunities for learning. Their PAL approaches combine maths with physical activity. These take place inside the school – in the classroom and the hall – as well as on the playground and beyond. Tagtiv8 have been recognised as a global education innovation for their work in this area – helping primary age children reach the 30:30 minutes Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) targets outlined by the Chief Medical Officer in ‘Childhood Obesity: a Plan of Action.’


Take your maths outdoors

More and more schools are taking their maths outdoors – whether it be through active number relays on the playground, using QR codes or simply walking to find out more about shapes, space and measures in the natural and man-made environments. Moving and learning doesn’t have to involve MVPA. It’s certainly not a call to run around in the classroom, as one national newspaper mischievously stated. Rather, children can ‘move and learn’ in the classrooms with the rich content of BBC Supermovers and other online content providers.

‘Move & Learn’ approaches are not confined to the UK – the international evidence continues to grow too. Following on from his initial research into Tagtiv8, Dr Andy Daly-Smith from Leeds Beckett University shared a TEDx Talk about PAL, including findings from researchers in the Netherlands and USA.


Moving Forwards with Maths

Tagtiv8 love working and playing with schools in London and beyond. Want to learn more? Get in touch!