Lessons learnt from the Bristol Girls Dance Project cluster RCT: Implications for designing and implementing after-school physical activity interventions

Mark J Edwards*, Thomas May, Joanna Kesten, Kate J Banfield, Emma L Bird, Jane E Powell, Simon J Sebire, Russell Jago

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
323 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: To consider implementation issues associated with the delivery of Bristol Girls Dance Project (BGDP) and identify improvements that may aid the design of after-school physical activity interventions.

Design: Two-armed cluster randomised control trial. The BGDP was a 20 week school-based intervention, consisting of two 75 minute after-school dance sessions per week, which aimed to support Year 7 girls to be more physically active.

Setting: 18 secondary schools (nine intervention, nine control) in the Greater Bristol area (as an indication of deprivation, children eligible for the pupil premium in participant schools ranged from 6.9-53.3%).

Participants: 571 Year 7 girls. This article reports on qualitative data collected from 59 girls in the intervention arm of the trial, 10 dance instructors and nine school contacts involved in the delivering of the BGDP.

Methods: Data were obtained from nine focus groups with girls (one per intervention school), and interviews with dance instructors and school contacts. Focus groups sought views of girls’ motivation to participate, teaching styles, and experiences of the intervention. Interviews explored views on implementation and dissemination. Framework analysis was used to analyse data.

Results: Qualitative data elicited three themes associated with the delivery of BGDP that affected implementation: project design, session content, and project organisation. ‘Project design’ found issues associated with recruitment, timetabling, and session quantity to influence the effectiveness of BGDP. ‘Session content’ found that dance instructors delivered a range of content and that girls enjoyed a variety of dance. Themes within ‘project organisation’ suggested an ‘open enrolment’ policy and greater parental involvement may facilitate better attendance.

Conclusion: After-school PA interventions have potential for increasing PA levels among adolescent girls. There is a need to consider the context in which interventions are delivered and implement them in ways that are appropriate to the needs of participants.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere010036
Number of pages14
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2016

Bibliographical note


Structured keywords

  • DECIPHer

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