NOTICE: Please note that we are closed for our year end and will not be processing hire requests from 21st March - 3rd April. If you have any queries during this time, please contact us via email at or phone on 01159 455522

Schools Case Studies

Willow Brook Primary School Curriculum Enrichment Project

Date Added: Thu, 20 Jan 2011

Related tags: Project Setup


In 2006, Concept 2 was involved in a most successful pilot scheme to bring indoor rowing to primary pupils in four inner city schools in the St.Ann's area of Nottingham. The Concept 2 team spent a day in each school, setting up 12 indoor rowers and the technology to link them to a giant screen showing races in progress. Following the enthusiastic reaction to this event, Concept 2 Education Team have set up a longer-term study at Willow Brook Primary School in Keyworth, Notts.

Dan Philpott, PDM at Dayncourt School Radcliffe on Trent, Chris Patterson, SSCO at South Wolds School Keyworth, and the Fitness Industry Association were all contacted and fully briefed and have been kept up to date with progress since the programme's inception.

A visit by the Concept 2 team of John Wilson, Alex Skelton and Keith Atkinson in the Autumn term of 2004 saw pupils, parents and staff briefed about technique, the rationale behind the scheme, and the need for more trained instructors to assist with the project.

Project Aims

The overall aim was to improve the health and well being of the community through a regular programme of exercise on the indoor rower. We also hoped to achieve the following:

Getting Started

As a result of the meeting, an Indoor Rowing Club was set up for pupils. parents and staff.

Incentives for users included:

The club was open initially to Year 6 pupils, before and after school and to parents in the morning and staff after school


The team is currently concerned about the sustainability of the Indoor Rowing Club and progression from it. Equipment is currently on loan from the company, and the school will need to use an "Awards for All" grant to purchase new machines. The support of the PDM and SSCO is needed in this. South Wolds, the local comprehensive school, does not at present have indoor rowers, so the pupils moving there will either have to return to Willow Brook to continue their training, or South Wolds will have to equip itself with machines if the activity is to continue.

At present the 2 main instructors are Ian Jenkinson, Head of Willow Brook, and Keith Atkinson of Concept 2. More are needed. Concept 2 has undertaken to provide any necessary training.

Progression. The Outlook?

South Wolds has a good experience of on-water rowing, with links to Nottingham Boat Club and Nottinghamshire Schools' Rowing Association.

Since most fitness clubs have indoor rowers, there is easy transfer of the skill and the activity into this area post-school. Home use is another possibility.

Data and Results

33 pupils from Year 6 of Willow Brook Primary School, Keyworth, Notts. (and Head teacher Ian Jenkinson) took part in the Indoor Rowing Project. There were 16 boys and 17 girls.


In the period of January to July 2005:
8 pupils rowed less than 10k
8 rowed 10k
3 rowed 25k
9 rowed 50k
5 rowed 100k

One member of staff also completed 150k


7 pupils rowed every day
5 pupils rowed most days
. Girls attended more regularly than boys


3 tests were applied in January and June:

  1. Best 500m split (indication of power)
  2. 20 seconds anaerobic test
  3. 2 minutes aerobic test

No gender difference was recorded due to lack of wide variation between boys' and girls' performances.

The ranges were as follows:

1. 500m splitJanuary3.19 - 2.09
June3.03 - 1.50
2. 20 seconds anaerobicJanuary54m - 82m
June53m - 86m
3. 2 minutes aerobicJanuary259m - 437m
June282m - 457m

Comments on the results

Split times and aerobic performance improved with regular exercise.

Anaerobic performance - this test seemed to show innate capacity. The training regime was aimed at general rather than specific fitness.

The average improvement for the 2-minute row was 20 metres, although one girl added 60 metres to her score.

These results compare well with the C2 National Database which shows a range of 213m - 555m for Year 7 boys' and girls' 2-minute Aerobic row, and a range of 24m - 108m for KS3 pupils' 20-second Anaerobic score.

Reactions from Staff and Pupils

What staff said

"Indoor Rowing at Willow Brook Primary - it's a personal challenge for the children ( and staff) every single day and it's hard to keep pace with it - but what a great problem to have!" Ian Jenkinson, Head Teacher

"I know I should row far more often, as when I make the effort to row every morning before school, I feel fitter and healthier. From September I shall make that effort! That's a promise!" Janet Noblet, class 6 teacher

What pupils said

Good preparation for the day ahead

"I have enjoyed rowing in the morning because it helps me to concentrate on school for the rest of the day." Gemma

"It makes me more alert and helps me to concentrate on school work." Yasmine

"It got me ready for the day ahead." Michael

Indoor Rowing is fun

"Rowing has been enjoyable. It has made me fitter and happier. I wish I could take one home." Daniel

"Rowing was brilliant! It's an excellent way of keeping fit and it's fun too." Sofia

"Rowing is really fun. I reached 25,000metres. I was very happy." Beth

Gives confidence and improves performance

"I wasn't very active. I'm now a faster runner." Danielle

"The other day I came third in the 200 metres. Normally I wouldn't have entered. Rowing four times a week has improved things." Lucy

"I'm fitter and stronger and have improved all my distance and time PBs. I think rowing has changed my school life." Katie

Proud a sense of achievement

"I am proud of myself rowing 100,000 metres. I will always try to row." Michael L

"I row 4 to 5 times a week. I am up to 100,000 metres. I am very proud of myself." Jade

"I have reached 50,000 metres. I'm very proud of myself. I'm glad I started rowing." Lucy P.

What next?


The 2 comprehensives and 3 or 4 feeder primaries will have Concept 2 Indoor Rowers

Project Aims


In addition it is hoped that:

C2 School Partnership

The schools involved will be expected to enter into an agreement with Concept 2 UK in which they undertake to:

For further information about Indoor Rowing developments please contact the Head Teacher:

Back to all Case Studies