Page last updated at 00:18 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009

Motivators to get pupils active

Girls doing body attack class
The classes are aimed encouraging girls to get more active

Fitness motivators in North Lanarkshire have swapped the gym for the classroom in a bid to encourage school children to exercise more.

The instructors have been brought in to secondary schools in the area to offer pupils bodyjam, cheerleading and dance classes as part of the PE curriculum.

The initiative, one of the first of its kind in Scotland, aims in particular to encourage more girls to take up sports.

It has proved so successful the council now hopes to extend it.

The fitness instructors are employed by North Lanarkshire Leisure and offer advice and take classes at local gyms and leisure centres.

As part of a 125,000 six-month pilot project funded by the council they were asked to go into schools and run fitness and dance classes.

These were given as part of the core PE lessons and pupils also had the opportunity to attend extra sessions after school.

The motivators are not to replace PE teachers but to encourage more young people to get fit
Cllr Jim Logue
North Lanarkshire Council
More than 33,000 pupils at 18 schools have taken part.

North Lanarkshire Leisure health and fitness manager, Melanie Menzies, said: "This project is aimed at young people, mainly girls, though we do have boys taking part.

"We decided to provide activities that would help engage them and expose them to the types of activity like dance, fitness and exercise classes that they can expect to participate in when they leave school.

She added: "The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we now plan to continue this beyond the six-month trial period and recruit new instructors."

Councillor Jim Logue, convener of learning and leisure services said: "The motivators are not to replace PE teachers but to encourage more young people to get fit and take part in the type of fitness classes they may participate in when they leave school."

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