Pupils learn whether it’s best to stand or sit in the classroom

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Further to our recent blog post on the potential benefits of standing at work, children at a West Yorkshire primary school have taken part in an innovative study to find out if their study skills can be improved by standing rather than sitting in the classroom.

Grove House Primary School in Bradford has become the first school in Europe to try out this new method of learning. Children in Year 5 have taken part in a seven week long pilot programme which has been organised by medical researchers from Born in Bradford; the programme will see six of the children standing up behind their desks, whilst the rest of the class remain seated. Each of the children will stand for a total of 230 minutes per week.

The study was originally carried out in Australia has been designed to find out whether sitting for long periods is bad for children’s concentration and how their long-term health could be affected.

A total of 55 children have taken part in the study – when standing the children use specially designed sit/stand desks. The pupils have been monitored by an actigraph which calculates how much physical activity they undertake, along with an actipal activity monitor which is designed to measure whether the child is sitting or standing up. The children’s weight, height, blood pressure, waist circumference and fine motor skills are also monitored.

“We know if you can establish healthy lifestyles early in life that can be continued into adulthood”

Commenting in an article for The Yorkshire Post, Dr Sally Barber, a principal research fellow at Born in Bradford, said: “Firstly, we want to see whether we can change pupils’ behaviour.

“We know if you can establish healthy lifestyles early in life that can be continued into adulthood.

“Secondly, sitting for a long period of time has been shown to have a negative impact on children in terms of concentration and behaviour. We want to see if this study will change that.”

We’ve known for some time that the design of classrooms and learning spaces can be hugely influential when it comes to the way pupils learn and it’s interesting to speculate whether sit/stand desks will become a common sight in the classroom. The results of the study will be released in the autumn and we’ll keep you posted.

Posted June 9, 2014

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