Capre helps turn the tide of physical inactivity in children


The Children’s Activity Professionals Register (Capre) today welcomed the main conclusions of the All-Party Commission on Physical Activity report: ‘Tackling Physical Inactivity’, and the need to engage effectively with children and young people to ensure that physical activity becomes a lifelong habit. As the report highlights, for the first time in history, the current generation of young people is expected to die five years younger than their parents, so it has never been more important to engage today’s young people in physical activity.

Capre ensures that those working in delivering physical activity for children in games, sports, and physical activity are qualified to deliver high quality instruction and create positive sport experiences for children.  These requirements dovetail with the recommendation of the report, namely that there is an important role for professionals delivering physical activity in creating a foundation for a life of regular exercise by giving them the foundations and skills for an active life.

Members of Capre also have an important role to play in terms of community engagement and campaigning to motivate key audiences, including children, young people and their parents. If properly qualified, professionals engaged in delivering physical activity for children can inspire children to engage in sport and activity and equip them to stay active into adulthood.

Greg Small, the Head of Membership for Capre said: “With just 51% of children reaching the daily exercise target for young people there has never been a greater need to arm children with the basic skills to take part in sport.  Capre’s qualifications and continuing professional development requirements ensures that its members are equipped to arm children and young people with the physical literacy required to ensure an active lifestyle is continued into adulthood.”

To read the report in full please click here.


Capre welcomes Government’s £750m commitment to Primary School Sport

Primary school sport

Capre today welcomes the news that primary schools across the country are going to share an extra £150m per year of sports funding until 2020 in an announcement made by Prime Minister David Cameron.

The direct funding scheme for school sport, the Primary PE and Sport Premium, announced last year, is going to be extended for a further five years. Each year primary schools will continue to receive £8,000, plus £5 per pupil.

Capre, the Children’s Activity Professionals Register, welcomes the news and is optimistic for the future of physical activity in schools.

Created in partnership with a range of leading physical activity providers, Capre regulates the industry, with membership to the Register offering assurance to schools that a children’s activity professional is fully qualified to competently perform their role.

SkillsActive (owners and operators of Capre) CEO Ian Taylor was delighted with the announcement.

“This additional funding to primary school sport is fantastic for both children and the physical activity industry. This additional resource will enable primary schools to provide their pupils with high quality physical activity, encouraging children to commit to an active and healthy lifestyle from a young age.

“The next step now is to ensure we make the most of this fantastic opportunity, and provide a platform for children and young people to enjoy their sport and physical activity. A Capre member will be trained and qualified to deliver physical activity to an excellent standard, engaging children with a range of backgrounds and sporting abilities.

“This funding is in place for ‘specialists’ to come into schools. The best way to determine whether someone is a ‘specialist’ is to confirm whether they are a member of Capre.

Partner to Capre, Compass, also welcomed the news. CEO Martin Gallagher said: “The extra £750 million primary school funding pledge is welcome news. The extension of this funding is fantastic for schools, and more importantly for the children who will benefit from extra sports and physical activity during lesson time.”

Capre instructors demonstrate skills at the Copper Box


Last Friday (6th December) saw the Capre official launch at the Copper Box Arena in the iconic Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The launch fittingly followed the recent budget announcement of a one year extension to the School Sport Premium.

The launch was a fantastic landmark event for the industry and was enjoyed by over 90 guests. As well as being attended by Capre’s key partners, major industry employers were also present, along with Paralympic athlete Jayant Mistry (wheelchair tennis), England Rugby Union international Rachael Burford and GB wrestler Chloe Spiteri.

Special guest Lyn Brown, MP for West Ham, gave a welcome speech, where she referenced her support for the Register, commenting on the positive impact this will have on the industry. The day was then followed by a lively Q&A session, which offered guests the opportunity to address questions directly to key Capre stakeholders.

The Q&A was then followed by a great children’s activity session led by Capre members, which was certainly the highlight of the event. The children, all from a local primary school, were involved in all aspects of physical activity including basketball, ball skills and parachute games, which was enjoyed by all involved.

Guests were delighted to be able to witness a physical activity session led by Capre members, whose enthusiasm, expertise and skill made for a fantastic spectacle for the event’s guests.

Here’s what Stephen Mitchell, Head of Consultancy at SkillsActive, had to say:

“The official launch of Capre was a fantastic event. Not only were we able to provide local schoolchildren with the opportunity to receive high quality physical activity from Capre members, but we were also able to showcase to a range of major employers just how good these professionals are.

“The range of activities was second to none, and it was clear to see that everyone involved had a great time.

“We now need to ensure we keep this momentum going over the coming months, and make sure that even more physical activity professionals join Capre so they too can get the recognition they deserve.”

We would like to thank all of those who came on the day, if you were unable to attend please keep your eyes peeled as we have some fantastic footage of the event coming soon.

Change the Future


79% of Girls and 67% of Boys aren’t active enough (NHS, 2013)*

With there being an increasing number of studies and statistics into the decline of children’s physical activity in the UK and the forecast for it to worsen, we have to ask the question: ‘How can we get kids to participate?’

Government guidelines suggest that all children and young people should take part in at least 60 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per day (Department of Health, 2011).

This can include a broad spectrum of activities ranging from walking to school to playing a football match. There are many benefits to being physically active as a child, some of which include better health, greater concentration in school, improved confidence and social skills.

On occasions, the more popular, conventional sports are not the right choice, so Capre has devised our top 10 tips to get children active:

  • Walk or cycle to school
  • Playgrounds games – hop scotch, skipping, 40/40
  • Roller blading
  •  Local sports clubs
  • Fly a kite
  • Walk the dog
  • Fun runs or treasure hunts
  • Swimming lessons
  • On holiday – beach games/walking/mountain biking
  • Build a den

We believe it is important to inspire and engage with children from a young age by creating enjoyment in a safe and comfortable environment. This also lays the foundations and encourages physical activity to continue into adulthood.   

If like us, your passion is to inspire physical activity in children at any level simply visit for more information.

Exercise and physical activity do not have to be boring, it’s important to encourage children to perform physical activity from the moment they are able to walk and run confidently. Young people look up to adults and tend to emulate their character. If we can use this as a manoeuvre to increase the rate of physical activity amongst young people, then we can solve the problem as soon as possible.

Children can have the tendency to shy away from exercise and physical activity. However we do encourage these children to become active and have fun as a result of the safe, well thought-out activities designed by a Capre instructor. If we do get kids to do this we can actually decrease risk factors such as obesity from a young age.

Finding a sport, exercise or activity that they like doing can save a lifetime of trouble. Capre aims to support those who love sport and physical activity as much as we do and also want to help the younger generations.

*Based on the percentage of 5-18 year olds that are participating in the department of health’s physical activity guidelines.

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Keeping children active during the winter

football snowNothing beats running around in the open air with your teammates and having fun. Standing desolate on the touchline on a freezing winter day with rain pelting you in the face, however, is a lot less fun.

Cold weather and darker days shouldn’t be an excuse to pack away the trainers and hibernate inside. Encouraging children to stay motivated may seem difficult, but some simple changes will make being active during the winter something to be enjoyed rather than endured.

Do it early

Exercising on winter mornings is one of the best kept secrets. As the dark nights start creeping in earlier and earlier, the morning is the best time of the day to get some much needed sunlight. Planning an early morning session is the great way to kick start an active day, and gives the children the smug feeling of knowing many people still haven’t ventured out of their beds!

Dress for success

There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing” Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes once mused. It might sound cliché, but it is certainly true; the right attire should allow the children carry on in any conditions. Encourage them that in the changeable weather, layers are their friend and can be added or removed as required. Waterproof clothing is another essential; it’s no fun being wet!

Stay involved

Planning activities that keep all participants as active as possible is key. Short, high intensity drills will get the heart rate going and leave them working up a sweat in no time. Waiting around will only leave time to get cold, so get them stuck in.

Longer doesn’t mean better

The long leisurely sessions that may have been enjoyed over the summer months may have to be sacrificed for shorter ones, but this doesn’t have to mean a compromise in intensity. This is the perfect opportunity to focus on fitness, rather than learning new skills. A shorter session involving lots of running will help keep the cold at bay, but still leave the children feeling exhausted!

Get creative

There might be times when venturing outside just might not be an option. Instead, get creative with inside space. There are plenty of activities that can be adapted to be played indoors, so have a look around and realise the endless possibilities of the space available.

Scale it down

How to solve the problem of waiting out on the touchline miles away from the ball? Play on a smaller pitch! This isn’t cheating; small sided games on a smaller pitch will help develop close control skills, meaning faster paced games and ensure that every team member stays involved. Win win!

Following these tips should make for lots of winter fun, and leave no excuse not to be active all year round.

Capre encourages children to be active, stay fit and have fun


Activity for children is essential for physical and social development and staving off longer term problems such as adult obesity. Modern pastimes are making us more sedentary than ever, rather than using activity as a chance to blow off steam after being cooped up in a classroom, 25% of children spend six hours every weekend day being inactive. The All-Party commission on Physical Activity estimates children do 20% less activity than in the 1960s.

Recognising a need for change, Capre, the new independent Register of Children’s Activity Professionals, is enabling and encouraging youngsters to benefit from high quality activity leadership. Capre regulates professionals to ensure they meet National Occupational Standards (NOS) and are committed to providing a top quality service, whilst providing assurances to parents, schools and employers that all registered professionals have the qualifications and skills to perform their roles .

In the fitting backdrop of the Copper Box in the Olympic Park, Capre will be launched on 6th December. As the site for so many heroic sporting endeavours last summer, it will be the perfect place to kick-start a trend of youngsters shunning their tablets and smart phones in favour of a more active lifestyle. Another game of Candy Crush will only give your fingers a good workout, engaging in well led physical activity with friends is a much more enjoyable alternative; realising the benefits this can bring should encourage the enthusiasm to bring long-term positive lifestyle change.

Children need to be engaged and enthusiastic about taking part in more physical activity. Having well qualified activity professionals providing fun activities and great support is a great place to start.

This echoes the view of Stephen Mitchell, Head of Consultancy at SkillsActive who believes: “physical activity should be lots of fun, and trained professionals can place the emphasis on children enjoying activity for its own sake, rather than as formal exercise.”

With a host of professionals and employers and most importantly children set to benefit from the Register, the next generation of physically active children may be able to continue the fine tradition of sporting legacy.

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The Future for Sport in Primary Schools Following London 2012

Edward Timpson MP Edward Timpson is an MP and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of state for Children and Families in the Department for Education. Away from politics, Edward is a big sports fan.

Mr Timpson was a witness before the Education Committee at the House of Commons earlier this summer. The Select Committee scrutinised a variety of issues to do with school sport, focusing mainly on the two year Sports Premium.

This additional funding of £150 million per annum is being given to improve provision of physical education (PE) and sport in primary schools for academic years 2013/14 and 2014/15. It has yet to be decided if the two year plan will be extended. It is important that schools know how much money they will receive, so they can spend accordingly.

Mr Timpson was very optimistic that funding will continue. He also suggested that investment was extremely important for children, and that he will be striving to oversee further improvements to school sports.

He talked about four schools that have pooled their money to pay for a full time PE specialist to go to each school one day a week, with the fifth day being a flexi day to support to those children who need it. Other schools have used the money for refurbishing facilities, hiring equipment or transport.

When asked if sport can achieve enough to make the investment worthwhile, such as creating a healthier lifestyle and fitter and happier children, his response was that physical education is more than just 90 minutes of sport and that although sport cannot solve every problem for every child, it can be made to do more than it already does.

Ofsted’s survey is due out soon, one year into the Sports Premium, and it will be measuring sport participation, healthy living and the general level of performance in primary schools.

Sport England and National Governing Bodies were also thanked for their hard work and their part in making these programmes work.

We at Capre (The Register of Children’s Activity Professionals) believe that anything that encourages children to take part in physical activities is to be encouraged.  Seeing the impact that the Sports Premium has made, we hope that it will soon be made permanent.

Click here to find out more about the Education Select Committee.

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Managing Children’s Dehydration

Hydration 2

As we enter the summer months, the weather will become warmer and more humid. Physical activity and exertion can result in the body becoming dehydrated through the loss of fluids. As a Children’s Activity Professional you play a crucial role in highlighting the importance of rehydration.

Active children may lose large amounts through sweating, and are often so involved with what they are doing that they forget to drink. Periodic reminders will help them take fluid on board. This is not only important for a child’s welfare, but will also help with performance and concentration.

“Dehydration hinders performance in terms of strength, speed, endurance, concentration and co-ordination.” Jane Griffin, Sport Nutritionist, British Dietetic Association

The European Food Safety Authority (ESFA) advises that:

  •  Children between 4-8 years old should be drinking 1.6L of water per day
  • Boys aged 9-13 years old should be drinking 2.1L of water per day
  • Girls aged 9-13 should be drinking 1.9L of water per day
  • Boys aged 14 and over should be drinking 2.5L of water per day
  • Girls aged 14 and over should be drinking 2L of water per day

It is calculated that of the total water consumed, about 25% typically comes from food, and around 75% from beverages, but this of course varies depending on diet and individual choices.

Pre-adolescent children are much more susceptible to developing heat related conditions, especially heat exhaustion, than teenagers and adults. It is important to develop precautionary measures to prevent heat related problems.

The ESFA also offers some practical tips on how keep active children hydrated, especially in warmer environments:

  • Ensure children drink before engaging in any form of physical activity and call them in frequently for drink breaks
  • To avoid overheating, encourage regular breaks in the shade when the sun is hot
  •  Keep drinks at a cool temperature whenever possible and if they refuse to drink water then encourage other forms of hydration. All beverages including water, squash, juice and milk can help meet a child’s hydration needs
  • Encourage the consumption of fruits and vegetables whenever possible as these are high in water content

When working with active children it is essential to anticipate dehydration and heat sickness, rather than having to deal with it when it occurs. All of us want children to get the most out of being out in the open, so let’s allow them to have the best experience possible and get the most out of the activity.

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Who are the Fastest Learners – Adults or Children?


Do children learn at a faster rate than adults? This is a topic of great interest, both in theory and in practice. It is important, as a children’s activity professional to understand the way children learn, so that you can run your programme to best suit their particular needs.

An adult’s brain is designed to perform, but a child’s is designed to learn. This is why children can learn to play tennis, memorise multiplication tables, pick up new games, work out new technology and learn languages quicker than adults.

Research shows that there are some tasks that children can perform better than adults, because children have many more neurons in their brains, which are continually creating new connections. Children have an under-developed prefrontal cortex, which allows them to be more creative. This part of their brain is not limiting their ability to be inventive and flexible.

Adults see objects as they are. A mattress, for example, is seen by adults as something to sleep on, but a child may see it as a trampoline or a boat. A lettuce is food to adults, but in the eyes of a child it could be a football.

Understanding a child’s ability to learn can benefit you as a children’s activity professional. The ideal way to instruct children is by exposing them repeatedly to lots of different thing, which is ideal in a multi-disciplinary activity. This encourages those connections to be formed.

Allow children to be creative, as this is what they are naturally good at. Allow them to come up with their own ideas, and to enjoy trying lots of different activities.

For more information on prefrontal cortex take a look at “Cognition without control: When a Little Frontal Lobe Goes a Long Way” (Thompson-Schill, Ramscar and Chrysikou et al, 2009)

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Is there enough focus on underweight children ?

ImageImplications of a recent study, which is the largest health and fitness survey of UK children and adolescents, reinforce the importance and responsibilities of Children’s Activity Professionals in ensuring children remain active and healthy.

It’s no secret that the issue of childhood obesity is a hot topic on everyone’s lips right now and with statistics like “globally 43 million kids under five are overweight”[i] it’s certainly an issue here to stay. However, recent research presented by the University of Essex at the European Congress on Obesity suggests that the issue of underweight school children is going undetected because of the “obsession” with tackling obesity. Principle Investigator Dr. Gavin Sandercock told the Congress that weighing too little is far more damaging than weighing too much as it can lead to a lack of energy (therefore under performing at school), weakened immune systems and for girls it can delay periods. 

The research team looked at around 10,000 children aged between 10 and 16 years old based in East England. Pupil’s height, weight, age and gender were taken into account and used to determine exactly how many children were underweight. Results showed that 6% of all children involved were underweight, and was more common in girls (6.4%) than in boys (5.5%). Findings presented to the congress also showed that there were large differences between ethnic groups, with pupils from an Asian background having the highest prevalence of being underweight at 6.8%.

The researchers suggested that the fear of becoming obese, rising food costs, poor diets and the lack of muscle from low levels of exercise may all have their role to play in the problem of being underweight. Dr Sandercock stated that public attention had swung too far towards tackling obesity and warned that those children who are underweight could be missed by the system. In order to tackle this, he suggests that better training for GPs is needed as research published by University College London earlier this year showed that many doctors could be missing the problem[ii]. Dr Sandercock also calls for new ways for parents and schools to address and tackle the issue. 

As Children’s Activity Professionals this is an issue that should be kept a close eye on. We need to ensure that children have a balanced lifestyle, as well as plenty of physical activity. If we can educate children (and their parents!) in eating, choosing and ultimately cooking nutritious food, then surely we have a much better chance of preventing all sorts of dietary related problems – whether that’s being underweight or overweight.

As working with children in this capacity goes beyond facilitating exercise, this is certainly an issue that needs to be taken a board.

[i] published in Health Club Management magazine

[ii] UCL interviewed paediatrics from 177 hospitals in England and Wales and found that many had poor knowledge on identifying underweight children, despite the fact that many respondents said they had experience of treating a child with an eating disorder.   

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