SmartGym: Research

One child out of every ten is currently at risk of being failed by the educational system; about half of these youngsters are likely to have significant mental health and emotional problems such as anxiety, depression, Conduct Disorder, and ADHD.


While schools in recent years have embraced their responsibilities in relation to many types of risk facing young people, with sex education and physical exercise, the same progress has not been made with addressing mental health problems. SmartGym has been developed by professionals at the Anna Freud Centre. Rooted in a range of evidence-based therapeutic, psychological and sports science theory and practice, it focuses on improving six core life skills that underpin emotional competence; trust, resilience, motivation, communication, wellbeing and concentration. The aims of Smart Gym are:

1. Improve mental health (for parents, carers, young people)

2. Provide support for transitions across academic year groups

3. Empower parents and support parental involvement in children’s education

4. Enrich and enhance the formal and informal curriculum, particularly for 9-11 year olds

This project aims to evaluate the impact of SmartGym on pupil’s mental wellbeing, peer relationships, attendance, and attainment in 5 schools over 2 years.

To have a look at some initial qualitative findings, please click here.