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Physically active learning - key research and resources

What is Physically Active Learning (PAL)?

Learning whilst taking part in a physical activity is claimed to increase academic performances in primary aged children. Physically Active Learning (PAL) is a campaign pioneered by the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM) at Loughborough University to increase children's fitness while improving their academic results. Improvements to engagement, behaviour and concentration on tasks have also been found and the university is currently undertaking a year-long study to examine the effects of PAL within the classroom.

How is PAL used?

The PAL website offers ways that teachers can implement movement integration (MI) into their schools. There are various options where classes do not need to leave the room and cover subjects such as maths and literacy. An example asks children to make the shape of a capital letter or make an exclamation mark by jumping followed by a punch. While the Tagtiv8 game is a more vigorous form of exercise, allowing children to play a version of tag rugby whilst solving maths problems.


If future programmes of activity-based learned are employed in schools, teachers and senior leaders should consider how they:

  •  Support staff who are using PAL in areas such as time management
  •  Identify training to help staff implement PAL and build their confidence
  •  Ensure a whole school approach towards the programme is adhered to.

Find out more

The official PAL website offers information, guidance and many classroom and playground based exercises that can be used by teaching staff. Tagtiv8 is a version of tag rugby that includes problem-solving with maths and English. Information on the yearlong study can be found on the NCSEM website

You can read our literature review on recent research below. 

First published 11 July 2018

First published 11 July 2018