An experiment with three London schools, to redesign the school timetable to align with the natural flow of human energy in a day. The project also addressed issues surrounding, obesity, attendance and self-esteem.
The Energy Project was initially focused on PE (Physical Education) in schools and the reasons behind the growing lack of engagement amongst girls in physical activity and sport. I realised whilst consulting with the schools that there was a bigger issue at stake. This was to do with how energy is spent as a whole and explores the idea that perhaps both teachers and students might benefit from an “artist’s” take on a newly designed week, using human energy as the core material. The Energy project was a collaboration with the Women’s Sport Foundation, Creative Partnerships London South and the Department for Education and Skills.
In the first instance, the Energy project was an audit of all energy expended by teachers and students alike, across an average week. Initially researchers from Sheffield Hallam University were involved in MET rating activities, by measuring the expenditure of oxygen against a given task or physical movement. The difference was that all actions would be rated, not just physical ones but also those other activities which make up for a balanced life such as time out, contemplation and day dreaming.
The findings of the audit were used as stimuli to attempt to design the perfect week, which matched teaching and learning experience with natural human energy flow. Trial weeks of these “newly designed timetables” took place in autumn 2006. An energy publication to help other schools undertake their own projects was published with DVD.
We know we have to do more to engage girls in PE and school sport. Projects like this will help us test out what works and inform our national school sports strategy.
Lord Andrew Adonis, Minister for Schools, March 2006
Outputs realised from the research project