14 April, 2021 - Minister Foley launches 2021 Active School Week, promoting active wellbeing in our school communities

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD today launched details of this year’s Active School Week.

National Active School Week (#ASW21), part of the Government’s Keep Well campaign, takes place from 26-30 April. All schools are encouraged to build Active School Week into their annual school calendars. It is important also that all Active School Week activities are both fun and inclusive.

Minister Foley said: “Our one-million strong school community has now returned to in-school learning, and the announcement of this years’ Active School Week events  gives great support to schools in their encouragement of activity in children and young people. Being active is important to everyone’s health and wellbeing, and supports children and young people in their learning.

“Our school communities are doing great work to encourage children to be more active, and Active School Week is full of great ideas and resources to support these vital efforts. This initiative also provides an opportunity for schools to involve parents and guardians. I encourage all of our school communities to take part in this years’ Active School Week.”  

Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Well Being and National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan TD said: “The Active School Flag has been a key component of our wider Healthy Ireland goals in terms of improving children’s activity levels and wider health and wellbeing; it has been great to see it go from strength to strength and to expand its reach. Active School Week is especially important this year, given the recent return to in-school learning and should really help children to re-integrate into school in a fun way, in addition to improving activity levels. We are delighted to support the vital Active School Flag programme and #ASW21, in partnership with our education colleagues.”

The #ASW21 Active Every Day Challenge encourages both school communities and families to work together to help more children and young people gain more active minutes every day. The challenge for schools is to find three different ways to energise the school day. Teachers are encouraged to find ways to teach subjects in a more physically active way and, where possible, to bring learning outdoors. The Irish Heart Foundation has created new interactive Bizzy Breaks especially for #ASW21 to help schools integrate short physical activity breaks into the school day. Research shows that physically active children find it easier to concentrate and focus and enjoy school more.

As part of #ASW21 schools are asked to replace written homework with Daily Physical Activity Challenges. These challenges could be set by members of staff, sports organisations and/or by local or national role models. Ireland Active continues its support for #ASW by encouraging students to #TakeOnTheTeachers, one of the most popular activities of many #ASW programmes. This year The Olympic Federation of Ireland is also lending its support to #ASW21 by providing five #ASW21 Olympian Challenges from athletes who will represent Ireland at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Parents/guardians are asked to help young people to continue to find ways of being physically active after school. A wide range of Keep Well resources is available to help families get active together. School staff members are also encouraged to build physical activity into their day once school ends.

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

Active School Flag

Active School Flag (ASF) is an initiative of the Department of Education, supported by Healthy Ireland and administered through Mayo Education Centre. The aim of the programme is to get ‘More Schools. More Active. More Often’. ASF is awarded to schools that strive to achieve a physically educated and physically active school community.  

Once awarded ASF remains valid for a period of three years. Currently 723 primary schools, attended by 117, 558 pupils, hold ASF status, with many more working towards the flag at present. A new ASF process for post-primary schools will commence in September 2021, with a phased roll-out.

www.activeschoolflag.ie  @ActiveFlag

Healthy Ireland

Healthy Ireland is a major Government-led initiative which aims to create an Irish society where everyone can enjoy physical and mental health, and where wellbeing is valued and supported at every level of society. Under Healthy Ireland the National Physical Activity Plan was developed by the Department of Health and Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport in partnership with a range of key stakeholders including the Department of Education. Encouraging more schools to participate in the Active School Flag is a key objective of the plan.

gov.ie - Healthy Ireland (www.gov.ie) @HealthyIreland

Keep Well Campaign

The Keep Well government campaign is aimed at showing people of all ages how we can mind our own physical and mental health and wellbeing by adding healthy and helpful habits to our daily and weekly routines.  It will provide guidelines, information, and tips on how we can make a plan to do things that will help us keep well through the coming months.  

Keep Well | Sport Ireland

#ASW21 Website Page

All of the #ASW21 resources, ideas and supports are accessible here

https://activeschoolflag.ie/asw21-active-school-week-2021/

#ASW21 Interactive Bizzy Breaks (Irish Heart Foundation)

Bizzy Breaks is a collection of activities for primary school pupils designed to support children to move throughout the day.

https://irishheart.ie/your-health/our-health-programmes/healthy-schools/primary-schools/bizzy-breaks-for-active-school-week/  

#ASW21 #TakeOntheTeachers (Ireland Active)

Active School Week - Ireland Active

#ASW21 Olympian Challenges (Olympic Federation of Ireland)

https://www.daretobelieve.ie/activeschoolsflag