Wake up, Shake up! An active start to the school day

Key Points

  • Improve punctuality in your school;
  • Enable children to start the day feeling energised and ready to learn;
  • Increase the amount of physical activity in your school without impacting curriculum time.


What were your reasons for doing this development work?

The senior leadership team wanted to find a way to improve punctuality by finding a reason for children to be in school on time (aside from the fact that punctuality is important!). We hoped that by introducing a dance routine to start the day, children would be motivated to get to school on time and, as a secondary outcome, they would feel energised as they start the school day.

Who were the identified target learners?

This case study will also be helpful to school leaders and PE co-ordinators looking to increase the amount of physical activity or introduce daily activity in the school timetable.  It describes our school’s experiences of introducing a morning dance routine that energises children and encourages good punctuality.

We wanted to target the children that came to school late and who, as a result, were not yet ready to engage with classroom learning. We hoped that introducing ‘Wake up, Shake up!’ would support these children in managing the transition into school and kick start their day with a burst of energy.

What specific curriculum area did you intend to have impact on?

We were hoping to raise the school’s overall punctuality. We would do this by highlighting the importance of coming to school on time and making the first minutes of the day a key part of our school timetable.

How were you intending to improve pupil learning?

We introduced a dance routine to the start of the day. Everyone is encouraged to join in- children, staff and any parents or carers who are still on the playground.

What were your success criteria?

The activity had to be practical, fun and sustainable.


What did you do - what teaching approaches did you use?

Two members of staff took responsibility for choosing routines and teaching them to the whole school. The same two members of staff led the routine each morning until older children were able to take over and lead the school each morning.

What specific teaching resources did you use?

We chose to use resources provided by ‘Wake up, Shakeup’ available: www.wakeupshakeup.com

We have also developed our own routines, with the help of older students in the school.

What CPD experiences, materials, research and expertise have you drawn on?

Very little resources/ CPD were needed- just some members of staff with great enthusiasm and a willingness to teach a simple routine to the whole school.

Outcomes and Impact

What has been the impact on pupil learning?

There is a palpable buzz around school in the morning and children feel like they are part of something as soon as they walk into the playground. When the bell rings and music kicks in, there is a clear message that we are ready to start the day.

Evidence of impact on pupil learning

In our most recent Ofsted report stated that:

‘Pupils are enthusiastic learners and are very motivated to do their best. They enjoy school as their above average attendance shows. They are punctual and join in the early morning exercise with enthusiasm with their parents and carers before registration.’

What has been the impact on teaching?

Children have an energetic start to the school day which helps focus in the classroom.  Teachers also have the opportunity to observe their class and pick up on children’s moods before heading into the classroom.

Evidence of impact on teaching

Energised, happy and motivated children who want to be in school on time.

What is the crucial thing that made the difference?

The school community has fully embraced our new morning routine and this has had a great impact on its success.

What would your next steps be?

‘Wake up, Shake up’ provides many opportunities for older children to take on new roles and responsibilities. As their confidence grows, year 6 children can increase their engagement in the programme by developing new routines and teaching them to the school.

Sharing Practice

If another individual or school was attempting to replicate this work, where should they start?

Make sure that school leaders and member of staff are on board and model the expected behaviour- this will work best if everyone joins in, recognises the value of the activity and has fun.

What would be the essential elements to include?

  • Staff participation;
  • Parental participation.
  • Published
    23 November 2015
  • Author
    Rachael Moss
  • School
  • Whom to Contact

    To discuss this case study, please contact us via email customersupport@camdenlearning.org.uk

Rating / Stats

This will work in my school

We did this in our school and it worked


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