CAN changing the nature of PE lessons help children do better at school?

That’s the question researchers from Oxford University and Oxford Brookes University hope to tackle as they launch their ground-breaking Fit to Study project.

The project will be conducted together with Year 8 pupils from 100 schools, over the course of one academic year beginning September 2017.

A programme of activities for PE lessons, developed by the two institutes, will research how the content of PE effects brain functions and academic performance.

Project lead Professor Johansen-Berg from Oxford University said: “There is growing evidence of links between the body and the brain.

“The aim of this research is to better understand how school PE impacts on academic achievement.”

Professor Dawes at Oxford Brookes University added: “There is an increasing need for educational policy to be informed by evidence.

“Our study will be an important component of the way we think in future about PE in schools.”

In Oxfordshire, another study will be conducted alongside the research which will involve MRI brain scanning as well as additional fitness and cognitive tests being carried out.

The project is being led by Professor Heidi Johansen-Berg from the Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain (FMRIB) at the University of Oxford and Professor Helen Dawes from the Oxford Institute of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Research at Oxford Brookes University.