A CLASS at a Bradford primary school has become the first in the country to test out new custom-made desks which could lead pupils to become more active.
The specialist child-size, ergonomic sit-to-stand desks have now arrived at Grove House Primary School in Swain House, thanks to the Born in Bradford (BiB) research study, which celebrated its tenth anniversary this week.
Researchers from BiB and Loughborough University have been working with the school since 2014 on the ‘Stand Out in Class’ study, which aims to find out how best to combat prolonged sitting, described as a form of sedentary behaviour, in primary schools and encourage children to more active.
In the first part of the study last year, six adult-size desks were brought into the Year 5 class for pupils aged nine and ten to try out.
But now, for the second phase of the research, a classroom full of standard desks has been replaced by specially-made, child-size versions which will be trialled by up to 30 pupils.
BiB’s lead researcher, Dr Sally Barber, said: "Our first study suggested it may not be necessary to replace all standard desks, but then we were using adult-sized desks and only had a bank of six.
"Now we have a whole class using desks which have been specially made for their size, so we want to compare our findings."
The first findings showed that pupils sat for almost ten hours a day, which BiB said was equivalent to 70 per cent of their total waking hours.
"We know that sitting down for prolonged periods is bad for your health, but in the classroom and the workplace this has become the norm," said Dr Barber.
"An urgent cultural shift is needed, and we feel that the only way to do this is to target this generation, particularly while they are still at school.
"If we can bring about a behaviour change, learned from a young age, then this should continue into adulthood and improve people’s overall quality of health."
BiB researchers said they had weighed and measured pupils at Byron and given them activity monitors to wear while they continue to use standard school desks.
At the end of the study, which is being funded by the National Institute for Health Research, results will be compared between the two schools.
BiB said it would be at least a year before the research gathered in the new project could be analysed, but initial findings have already been published in the Journal of Public Health, also available on the BiB website at borninbradford.nhs.uk.