Healthy Schools

The Healthy Schools topic seeks to develop interventions and methods to improve mental and physical health in schools through across sector collaboration with health and educational professionals.

Healthy Schools projects include:

Centre for Applied Education Research (CAER)


The Centre for Applied Education Research (CAER) was created via the Bradford Opportunity Area and is committed to using research to empower schools to provide the best possible education and start in life for their pupils.

CAER is a partnership between the Bradford Institute of Health Research, the Universities of Leeds and Bradford, Leeds Trinity University, the Department for Education, the Local Authority, the Bradford Research School and the Educational Endowment Foundation. CAER is also at the heart of two exciting projects: the healthy learning strand of ActEarly and the healthy schools strand of Applied Research Collaboration.

If you have any questions about this project please reach out to:

Mark Mon-Williams, project lead - Mark.Mon-Williams@bthft.nhs.uk

SUCCESS: Supporting and Understanding Children’s Communication, Emotional and Social Skills – research study to identify and support children with autistic spectrum conditions at an early stage

SUCCESS is a unique project which aims to speed up the assessment process for autism spectrum conditions (ASC). The project builds on a feasibility study conducted in Bradford and was opened up to all primary schools in Bradford and York during the academic year 2020/2021. It tests whether the Early Years Foundation stage profile assessment can be used to identify children in Year 1 who may benefit from an ASC assessment and associated support.

The assessment is conducted within the school by a team of clinicians and education experts. Parents/carers and teachers are also highly involved in the assessment process. The ultimate aim of the project is to detect ASC earlier in children’s school career so that they can get the support they need to reach their full potential.

If you have any questions about this project please reach out to:

Anna Nicklin, Senior Research Fellow - anna.nicklin@bthft.nhs.uk

PhD: FUNMOVES Designing and piloting a new objective measure of fundamental movement skills

FUNMOVES – This research has developed and will aim to validate a universal screening tool of fundamental movement skills for primary school children (FUNMOVES), with the intention of empowering teachers, reducing healthcare inequalities, and expediting time to assessment and intervention.

FUNMOVES enables two members of teaching staff to assess the fundamental movement skills of a whole class in under an hour (following a short training session), in a small space, using items readily available in schools or cheap resources.

If you have any questions about this project please reach out to:

Lucy Eddy - ps13lhe@leeds.ac.uk

PhD: Examining how socio-economic factors and cognitive skills interact in early life to predict foundational skills at school entry

Funded by the ESRC, the project will explore how socioeconomic differences in early mathematical skills develop. The research focuses on the role of executive functions, verbal ability, and home mathematical activities as plausible mechanisms to explain socioeconomic differences in preschool age children’s mathematical skills.

If you have any questions about this project please reach out to:

Ella James-Brabham - eljames-brabham1@sheffield.ac.uk

PhD: Exploring sociodemographic influences upon sensorimotor control across childhood using kinematic analyses

The project explores the role of ethnicity and socioeconomic position in children’s development of sensorimotor control throughout the primary school years using both cross-sectional and longitudinal data. It also seeks to develop a novel method of quantifying sensorimotor control using kinematic analyses through data reduction techniques.

If you have any questions about this project please reach out to:

Megan Wood - ps13mlw@leeds.ac.uk

PhD: The impact of socioeconomic polarisation and inequalities of wealth and income on cognitive development

The project explores socioeconomic inequalities in children's working memory development. This includes analysis of data from Born in Bradford's most recent data collection wave including over 14,000 children.

If you have any questions about this project please reach out to:

Kate Mooney - kate.mooney@york.ac.uk

PhD: Pre-term birth, education and school-age interventions

Funded by NIHR, this study will investigate the association between children’s educational attainment and being born preterm, and what factors mediate this relationship, using data collected from the Born in Bradford Cohort study. We will also review cognitive and motor development interventions during school age to assess if these interventions are effective for children born prematurely.

If you have any questions about this project please reach out to:

Clare Copper - pscsco@leeds.ac.uk

PhD: Interceptive timing skill acquisition in school children and human-like machines

Funded by NIHR, this study will investigate the association between children’s educational attainment and being born preterm, and what factors mediate this relationship, using data collected from the Born in Bradford Cohort study. It will also review cognitive and motor development interventions during school age to assess if these interventions are effective for children born prematurely.

If you have any questions about this project please reach out to:

John Pickavance - psjpp@leeds.ac.uk

PhD: Evaluation of the implementation and impact of the Creating Active Schools framework

This research aims to evaluate the implementation and impact of the newly developed Creating Active Schools (CAS) framework and programme. Mixed methods approaches, such as ripple effect mapping, accelerometery data, questionnaires and focus groups, will be utilised to identify the longitudinal implementation of CAS and changes within schools, followed by the overall impact on physical activity.

If you have any questions about this project please reach out to:

Zoe Helme - z.e.helme@bradford.ac.uk

For more information about the topic reach out to:

Mark Mon-Williams, topic lead - Mark.Mon-Williams@bthft.nhs.uk