In 2011, Real Nation were quite taken with a profound statement made by Judy Murray
(tennis player Andy Murray’s mother) “Why don’t children get PE homework?”.
The same Real Nation team behind the World Health Organisation Award winning Food Dudes decided to widen the question, and investigate ‘why don’t children get health homework’.
After a sense check and positive reaction from over 100 schools, Real Nation set about creating a ‘Health Homework Programme’. To achieve this, we worked with
Within two years, Real Nation had developed the ‘Family Health Homework Challenge’, which was rebranded as Laya Super Troopers when Laya Healthcare came on board as sponsors in 2013.
Whilst the programme is underpinned with evidenced-based pedagogical, and psychological constructs & principles, it aims to be presented simply, and as a ‘cool way to address health during class-time, and through child-friendly, family-orientated fun at home’. Essentially children doing a little bit each day/week, thus normalising health habits (nutrition, physical activity and wellbeing), and contributing to meeting WHO/HSE health guidelines.
The early iteration of the programme was primarily delivered through a homework journal (inserts), comprising of daily instructions for short health activities to complete as part of traditional homework routine. To reinforce habit formation, the aim was to embed health activities in three (often-overlapping) pillars of physical activity, wellbeing and nutrition. The success of the programme was immediate and grew from an initial pilot of 300 schools to 1,700 schools by 2019/20.
Coming out of the lockdowns in 2020, meant that Real Nation and Laya had the opportunity to evolve the programme to make it more digital, more child-centred/constructivist, more accessible, more targeted and more visible to everyone outside of schools. The most exciting evolution has been the addition of Super Troopers TV. This in-class online series, including 10 episodes per term, features positive health messaging across the three key pillars; physical activity, nutrition and wellbeing from a student-centric perspective with all presenters being children aged 11-13.