Following a set of systematic movements could boost pupil performance
The research will be carried out in 40 schools in North-East England, and will see nine-year-old pupils perform specific exercises to nursery rhymes in class for ten minutes each day.
The research, called the Primary Movement project, is designed to find out if following the exercises can help children concentrate more effectively and achieve better results.
The exercises are designed to mimic the earliest reflexes made by babies and foetuses in the womb. The theory is that such reflexes fade away for most children in the first year of their life.
But if the reflexes persist, then they can affect how a child develops movement, which can make it harder to move normally and concentrate in the same way as others.
Research at Queen's University in 2000 found that by following a specific exercise programme, which mimics these early reflexes, children can grow and develop properly.
The research found that children who carried out systematic movement exercises for one year gained an extra 15-20 months in terms of their reading progress.
'It's a bit like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but the butterfly still has bits of the caterpillar attached to it,' said Trisha Saul, from the Primary Movement project.
'Teachers may notice some pupils in the classroom as being disruptive or slow or a bit clumsy, but after they have done the primary movement training they are able to see that they are slightly different, there may be something in the way they move.'The Primary Movement project is one of six schemes to win a grant from the Education Endowment Fund, which is designed to find new ways to improve children's learning.
Other projects receiving funding include a study of how teaching assistants can be used more effectively, and how teachers can narrow the achievement gap between rich and poor schoolchildren.