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One of the major issues in physical activity and sport in schools we are guessing the amount of activity and the type of activity children are engaged in within schools. It is no longer good enough to tick a box because someone is doing physical activity. It is understanding what intensity, how long and what activity they are engaged in. This is crucial.

We need to take the guess work out of what activities we believe the children are involved in throughout the school day and this can only be done by having a objective resource that provides the correct data. There is resistance to Fitbits etc. as this information can be compared by children and GPS does not work indoors and isn’t accurate.

The PAT System (Pupil Activity Tracker) has recently been launched by SAQ International. This uses ANT technology - it doesn’t track the child so is not invasive; it captures their activity using new technology that involves an accelerometer. This provides all levels of physical activity from sitting, sprinting and it also provides loading, steps and distance covered.

Access to the dashboard is through the Cloud and this is the responsibility of the school, teacher and head teacher. Here they can look at individual’s performance, whole class, whole school and girls v boys etc. It provides a minute by minute picture of what an individual has done throughout the school day. This can lead to competitions class against class, school against school, girls against boys, etc. but the individual data can be kept secret and personal goals can be set by the teacher so therefore it is not always the sporty children who win the awards.

An added bonus to the system is that parents and children can access their independent performance through the Cloud with a simple individual licence. Therefore the parent can gain an understanding of the levels of activity their children are taking throughout the school day and week.

PAT is the future of monitoring physical activity within schools.

Enquire about PAT for your school today.

"Fitbits Could Lead to Negative Impact on Pupils’ Well-Being, Study Finds" - we're seeing a lot of headlines like these recently, as schools try to tackle health and wellbeing issues, particularly fitness. SAQ's Pupil Activity Tracker (PAT) helps schools to tackle physical activity issues, providing a solution which allows both the teacher, student and parents to view individual progress via cloud-based technology.

SAQ PAT logoThe Pupil Activity Tracker (PAT) provides the teacher and head teacher feedback on each pupil’s individual activity levels on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. It also combines the class, school and boys vs girls performances.

The programme provides teachers with the opportunity to individually analyse each child’s physical activity performance. Nobody else needs to know. The teacher can then set performance goals i.e 10 minutes more walking a day or less time sitting at the desk. This means every child in the school can achieve success in an individual basis in regard to their activity levels. This provides the teacher with an opportunity to encourage with awards or certificates on improved performance for each child as they are not competing against each other. In the past, sports and physical activity was normally for those children who were most active or involved in sports that won awards but now this won’t be the case.

PAT also provides a link to Cloud-based reporting for the individual child and their parent to access their own child’s physical performance on any day or week of the year. This also encourages the child to become more active.

PAT also provides data on calories used, steps taken, distance and PAT load, which can be used to determine levels of activity and set goals. Access to the dashboard by the teachers, student or parents is easy to use and understand, making it versatile and fun to use.

The Pupil Activity Tracker has the potential to be one of the leading programmes to be used for physical activity in schools today - call us on 01664 810101 and ask about PAT.

SAQ VETS GlassesVisual Enhancement Training

VETS Training Goggles use pinhole technology which was first discovered by the Egyptians, where sight and light is obstructed the brain has the ability to complete the picture. Have you ever knocked something off the desk or a table and you catch it without looking at it? How does this happen? Well, it is the brain seeing before the eyes making the picture of the item before activating the muscles to make the catch.

Pinhole technology uses this technique to restrict light and sight while performing activities. The contrast phase is when we remove the goggles and continue with the activity. Because the brain has been working overtime to ensure that the correct messages are being passed onto the muscles while wearing the goggles, when the goggles are removed the brain and muscles will continue to work overtime in normal viewing conditions. This will then help the individual see the final details clearer including written, texture, size, shapes also moving objects that are in front of the eyes.

Try out these 4 drills with your VETS glasses:

1. Working in pairs, one fighter puts the glasses on and the other has a bag of balls. The balls are thrown towards the fighter’s head who is wearing the glasses requiring him to dodge and weave. This is repeated for 3 minutes, the glasses are then removed and then the drill is performed again for 30 seconds. This is called a contrast phase.

2. Pad work – wear them whilst doing pad work. Again perform the exercise for 3 minutes with the glasses, remove the glasses and repeat for a 1 minute contrast phase.

3. Working in pairs one fighter wears the glasses and the other stands in front with arms apart holding loose pads or balls. The partner then drops one of the pads/balls requiring the fighter wearing the glasses to either catch or punch it before it hits the ground. This is repeated again for 3 minutes, the glasses are removed and again the drill repeated for 1 minute.

4. Tennis ball wall throws. Using a tennis ball in each hand the fighter whilst wearing the glasses throws the balls alternatively against the wall and catches them for 3 minutes and then remove the glasses and repeat for 1 minute (contrast phase). All of these drills helps with reaction times.

 

Buy your own VETS goggles here.

Watch: Muay Thai World Champion Iman Barlow in training using VETS.

"Player injuries are always a concern for our clubs," a Premiership Rugby spokesman told the BBC in a recent article.

Over the years working both in Elite Premiership Rugby & Football, using the SAQ Programme has proven to assist in preventing injury and returning players from injury sooner.

At a conference many years ago in America, one of the leading SAQ experts commented on the ability of SAQ training to prevent injury. He suggested that It helps the neuromuscular system react to potential injury situations where injury may occur to enable the athlete to pull out or readjust, therefore preventing injury. This can also include collisions. This is due to the multi directional transitional training SAQ uses, the focus on mechanical technique, the use of flexi cord resistance which has a tendency to mould around the movement pattern used by athletes and also the constant implementation of reaction, eye hand coordination and balance used in the programme. The SAQ Training Programme is not one dimensional, it is multi dimensional. 

SAQ has always promoted transitional training, which simply means that you need to train in the movement patterns and situation that you find yourself in the sport you are practising. This is more efficiently carried out on the field of play rather than in a weights room.

 

Find out more about SAQ Training Programmes here.

Learn more about our Personalised Athletic Programmes.

Read more about our areas of work.

MD Alan Pearson conducted the Early Essential Movement Patterns Award at Bernard Gilpin Primary School in Houghton Le Springs near Sunderland.

14 members of staff attended the Award, it was a real enjoyable and fun learning day. The staff were brilliant and feedback has been very positive. Headmaster Andrew Bainbridge firmly believes in the power of physical activity and sport.

Hopefully the school will be in a position in the future to run more programmes from their base for the whole of Sunderland.

Below are some pictures from the day...

Visit to Sherard Primary School, Melton Mowbray, January 2017.

My overall impression of SAQ based upon a single visit to one school:

  • It is a powerful means for involving the widest range of children in physical activity.
  • It can play a major part in upskilling young people in key areas of their physical development.
  • It compliments and supports almost every other area of school life.
  • It can be student-led and to some extent student managed. This is powerful.
  • It is inexpensive.
  • Schools are missing a trick; actually, the word ‘trick’ is insufficient as SAQ is far more than this. Schools are, then, missing an obvious and critical part in developing the complete student. No more, no less.

 

OK, so I am completely sold on SAQ and having seen it in action and having had the opportunity to ask questions about the applications in school, I am able to make a few more observations that may help SAQ gain further traction across all phases of the education system. I’d like to learn more and to support SAQ where I can. So then:

  • SAQ has a role to play in the secondary sector. I have seen students as old as Year 11, the final formal year of state education, young people whom are unable to catch a ball or even run ‘properly’. I have seen students that almost appear to be dyspraxic because some fundamentals have been missed in the early years of their education. As an aside, I have long argued that the decline of sport and particularly competitive team sort at the primary phase has contributed to the decline in performance of many of our national sports teams. We underachieve, we just do. SAQ is part of the package of measures and wider strategies to alleviate this failure, not just part of the solution to equip young people with better fundamental movement skills. The challenge for me is to see how and where it could fit into secondary schools. I have ideas…

 

    • Build SAQ into PSHE programmes.
    • Plan for it and timetable it properly.
    • Commit to it in school policy and at a Governor level.
    • Report on student progress in SAQ in the formal school reporting schedule, this will formalise it for sure.
    • Fund it properly.
    • Appoint a champion for SAQ and pay them properly; this will secure accountability.
    • Look at building SAQ into the staff CPD programme.
    • Build SAQ into performance targets for the school.
    • I could go on and on…

 

  • The back end…SAQ programmes generate a tremendous amount of information and this made me realise that there are huge implications and possibilities for cross-curricular work. For example:
      • Data processing could be a Gifted & Talented ICT project.
      • Data from the SAQ sessions could fit into Maths…in fact, take the science bits into science, write about the SAQ experience in English, draw it in Art and so on.

 

Many schools are utterly choked by the heavily over-academic dimensions of the new demands they face…Government seems to want a traditional ‘best eight’ subject academic package and this fails to recognise the need for enrichment and for more ‘interesting’ or ‘diverse’ means of engaging with young people. Schools can be dry and boring if they are too academic and many young people are simply not attuned to the best eight subject traditions of, say, schools of yesteryear. SAQ is enriching and counter-balances the risk of dryness.

 

Feedback from Michael Rennie

Head of School Improvement, Central Academies Trust

On 4th January 2017 we held our first one day award of the year at Newbold Verdon Primary School in Leicestershire - a Special Education Movement (SEM) Award. SAQ Master Trainer Harry White took 22 teachers and teaching assistants from the school through both theory and practical tasks.

Feedback from Unit Teacher Debbie Peel, who organised the day - "Everyone was so positive about today, thanks again! I really enjoyed it and can't wait to get started! Thanks".

 

The SEM Award aims to provide teachers, teaching assistants, coaches, and parents, and those involved in physical education, sports coaching and recreational physical activity with knowledge and practical skills to apply SAQ® SEM Training to children with learning and movement difficulties.

Find out more about our SEM Awards here.

In times where it is being reported that British children are among the most unfit in the world, at SAQ we pride ourselves on training teachers and parents how to get kids to move properly through one day award courses such as Fundamental Movement and Early Essential Movement Patterns.

With this in mind, SAQ Managing Director Alan Pearson recently delivered the world's first SAQ Award to 10 and 11 year olds at Sherard Primary School in Melton Mowbray. 

Alan commented that the children's "concentration and ability to coach was fantastic..." and that they "clearly understood the importance of correct movement and how to improve head, arm, trunk, foot and leg action."

Trevor Marsden, Headteacher at Sherard Primary School adds "The Sports Crew loved the training and now feel confident in leading activities for other children at break and lunch times. There is great buzz and enthusiasm shown by the Sports Crew that is helping increase children’s activity in and around school."  

The children who took part in the Award completed their Movement Assessment Exam and all passed with flying colours. 

Below are some photos from the day...

Setting out hurdles for the 'Movement' section

The students completing their assessments...

The Fundamental Movement award is part of a bigger initiative to increase purposeful activity and exercise in children across the school. Children who need to develop their coordination and movement receive regular sessions to help them develop key skills such as hoping, running and jumping.    

One of the early contracts for SAQ was with Arsenal Football Club in early 2000. We worked alongside Tony Colbert, who was the very first person to complete the SAQ International Diploma and is still a key member of the Arsenal team today!

We were in and out of the Club for many years after this and were allowed to exclusively shoot a number of sessions that have been used as part of the training programme for many years. Below is a short clip of Arsenal F.C in training with SAQ® International...

The picture below sees players performing the buggy run using our top of the range Viper Belt. 

Arsenal players doing SAQ training using ViperBelt

 

For the 5th year running, MD Alan Pearson along with SAQ Master Trainer Harry White presented the Performance Sport Movement (PSM) Award at the French Football Federation Clairefontaine some 30 miles South of Paris.

Kinesport, who organise the training, include SAQ as part of their Sports Therapist Diploma, which is a highly sought after qualification in France for those wishing to work in elite sports.

Clairefontaine, the French Football National Centre is world famous as it was one of the first national centres of its type designed for the development of top quality footballers. Many believe this is why the French were successful in winning the World Cup in 1998. Originally it was a chateau with beautiful grounds and the centre has now been renovated to provide new conference rooms and offices.

The two day Award was a great success, with all delegates passing their practical presentations - congratulations to all who attended! 

The featured image shows SAQ Master Trainer Harry White with his successful practical assessment group.

Harry White presenting the PSM course

Marion & Charles performing 'Let Go's' Reaction Drills

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