Justine Williams, Global Business Development Manager, BORN TO MOVE, Les Mills
Martin Radmore, Company Director, VisionED


Les Mills developed the BORN TO MOVE programmes to help increase children’s fitness, stop inactivity and to make positive habits; this session looks at new revisions to its content and its trials within schools. Justine Williams began the session by explaining what the programme involved.

We know the stats

Justine began the presentation mentioning that we in the sector know the stats of childhood obesity, noting that they are in the news nearly everyday. Born to Move was designed to offer a solution to this problem:

“There are ten different people going to headmasters with ten different solutions to promoting healthy living in school children everyday.  What Born to Move offers is different. We have collaborated with education professionals to produce a program that is simple to use, suitable for under resourced schools and in line with what they have asked from us.”

“Talk and listen” – the challenges our educators face

Justine conceded that the first version of Born to Move (BTM) was simply too complicated.  “When we first introduced BTM, it was too complicated. The youth activity sector is under resourced, underpaid and often not listened to. The feedback we got was ‘We like what you are doing but we can’t sustain it.’ We had to simplify.”

Born to Move is delivered in two formats. Virtually – via online classes, easily accessed by a school or youth group, and live, where the group is led by a trained instructor.  

“Our virtual platform runs a Netflix-type model. One of the unique aspects to our program is that we encourage teachers to let the children run the classes. Kids can learn to be a facilitator online. This promotes leadership skills and confidence in the classroom.”

Children who become facilitators get to control the lessons, choosing everything from the activities they want in the lesson down to the music used in the videos.

“Foster a lifelong love of movement in children”

“We now have the pilot scheme running with 50 schools throughout the country. We have also branched out to run the program with local centres outside of schools and have also set up a reward scheme with parents.”

Engaging with the education sector

Martin Radmore joined the presentation to discuss his role in the development of Born to Move and his experience in engaging with education partners and the current situation in schools when it comes to exercise.

“As an education consultant I have seen many schemes aimed at schools before but this program has been developed by health and physical activity experts, that is why VisionED is delighted to partner with Les Mills Born to Move.”

Martin went on to say “kids from as young as 4 are sometimes doing a 50-hour week in school if you include things like after school clubs. But, in the average PE session, kids are only actually active for an average 12-13 minutes – physical education doesn’t equal physical activity.”

Children in school are simply not moving enough. As they learn they are encouraged to sit down and be still. In pre-school, kids move a lot more and activity is part of their learning. But as they get older, this movement is discouraged.

“We have seen £1.2bn pounds invested into the health of our children over the past two years and yet we see the same headlines everyday regarding childhood obesity and poor health in schools.”

An important issue Martin raised was that schools are terrified of litigation and not enough is done to support them.

“The PE curriculum hasn't really changed for generations. It is all highly games based. PE and sport need to be treated as two different things. BTM understands children, it promotes having fun through movement and there are proven links between physical activity and mental health. We have seen this being pushed in the media recently. There is also a direct correlation between physical development and cognitive development. Basically we are proving that moving kids learn better.”

He said the schools involved in the pilot see the potential of the product and the benefits for pupil health and wellbeing.

“This is the first programme that I’ve ever come across in my 35 years in education that looks at children from a children’s point of view, children after and outside of school and parental engagement.”