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Building an active nation – the ‘Boing’ programme

​​​​​The University of Gloucestershire, in collaboration with Oxford Brookes University and Sport England, is working on a project called ‘Boing’, a social enterprise designed to make physical activity more playful and inclusive for primary aged school children. The programme also aims to develop knowledge, confidence and expertise in coaches, teachers and volunteers working with young people in diverse sport and physical activity settings.

The team has developed an innovative online resource which offers over 130 games, to support professional development of practitioners working with young people in sport, education and other physical activity settings. The programme is currently providing coach/teacher/volunteer education workshops throughout the UK.

Each game has been designed around six principles, the 6 C’s: captivating, challenging each individual, constant-play (no sitting out), collaborative play, creative decision-making in the games, and celebrating progress.

The team have secured Sport England funding and a significant part of this is a fully-funded PhD to understand the impact of Boing. The research title is ‘Operationalizing Physical Literacy: An Evaluation of an Education Programme to Develop Knowledge and Confidence in Practitioners’.

Will Roberts, Academic Course Leader for Sport Coaching Science, said:

“Boing is a research-led programme, designed to make physical activity more playful and inclusive, in a variety of settings. This is done though the development of those who facilitate physical activities (coaches/ teachers/ community). Informally, it is all about young people − promoting their physical literacy and subsequent ability to be physically active throughout their life, in a way that is not exclusively for the ‘sporty’ children in any group.”

Kirsten Wing, PhD Researcher said:

“My role is to explore and investigate the project’s impact on the knowledge and confidence of practitioners, on the young people they coach/teach, and on the wider partner organisations. This year, Boing was due to run face-to-face coach education, but in response to the Covid-19 pandemic we moved our workshops online and therefore the research too has gone digital. The pre/post workshop questionnaires and follow-ups are currently running online nationwide with the second phase of the evaluation starting in early 2021.

“During the 2020 UK lockdowns, Boing successfully trained over 500 coaches from various sports, sporting governance, communities, organisations and partners. Thus far we have seen no statistically significant difference in collected metrics between those who completed face-to-face workshops and those who completed online workshops in response to Covid-19 restrictions.”

​In 2021, the programme will move into a second phase of data collection, with further interviews held with facilitating practitioners and learners exposed to Boing’s principals. The wider audience for the programme is the 1,600 UK coaches/teachers and subsequently their learners and colleagues.

Find out more about BOING KIDS on their website.

Sport England has played a crucial role in enabling the programme, both as a commissioning body and as a partner to the project. With a focus on developing the workforce, one of their core objectives is ’Building an active nation’.