Screen time for children: the WHO’s extreme new approach may do little to curb obesity

Dr Sarah Rose, Senior Lecturer at Staffordshire University, writes for The Conversation

Get children more active. That’s the aim of the World Health Organisation’s new guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under five years of age. The guidelines make specific recommendations about the amount of sleep, physical activity and screen time children should have each day.

For screen time, the guidelines state that children under two years old should get no screen time and children aged two to five should get no more than an hour a day.

While childhood obesity is a global crisiscuts lives short and has significant economic costs the WHO guidelines on screen time are oversimplified. Continue reading

Why some people can’t stop running, according to sport psychology

Dr Andrew Wood and Dr Martin Turner, lecturers at Staffordshire University, write for The Conversation

Alex has a problem with running; he has become addicted to it. “I have to get out and run, whether my family like it or not,” he says. “It’s just who I am.”

Running three times a week has become ten times a week, and when life gets in the way of his running, Alex becomes irritable and racked with guilt. He has gone from what was a healthy pursuit, to an unhealthy overindulgence. His body is shot to pieces and is mentally and physically exhausted. But still, he keeps running.

The physical and mental benefits of running are indisputable. But runners can have too much of a good thing. This is especially true for long-distance runners as they tend to increase their training loads and become increasingly competitive. They’re at risk of making a shift from healthy perseverance (“I want to run”) to unhealthy and pressured overindulgence (“I have to run”).

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Big Biology Day 2019 – The planning has commenced!

As the planning for BBD19 gets underway we wanted to take the opportunity to remind ourselves of the feedback that the attendees and exhibitors left for us at Big Biology Day 2018 to see what worked well and what we can improve for next year.

Last year’s event was a big success with over 500 people in attendance to see the stands and participate in the workshops and activities.

Feedback from the visitors was overwhelmingly positive,

here are just a few of the open comments we received from visitors:

  • “It’s been a great day, enjoyed it. Very informative”
  • “An excellent idea for children to attend and foster their love of science.”
  • “1 a month would be awesome (though probably impossible)”

It’s great getting feedback like this, and the middle feedback quote represents the ethos of the whole event really well. Unfortunately, if we tried to implement the last request we’d never get anything else done!

We did note that some in attendance would have liked better on campus signage, so we’ll work on making sure that we do that better for the 2019 event.

Overall Big Biology Day 2018 was a resounding success with more attendees than ever before.


Looking forward to BBD19 we’re gearing up to make this bigger and better than ever before. We’ll be continuing with the Great Biology Bake Off and our many and varied stands, activities and workshops. We already know that we’ll have new content that has not been seen before and there’s even a rumour about having a program of talks in the big lecture theatres.

Whilst we can’t spill the beans just now, we’ll add new blog entries as we confirm the event details.


Early Childhood Studies Degree Network Conference

We had an opportunity to share our small-scale study, “Early Years Teacher Status: Constraints, Implications and Reforms required for a 21st Century Early Years Workforce” with a wide audience of academics and students at the 2nd ECSDN research conference in London on 25th January.

Our study was borne through the enthusiasm of Amy an Early Years Teacher Status Staffordshire University graduate who was passionate about the status of Early Years Teachers who train to work with children aged from birth to 5 years old.

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Port Vale F.C. Foundation Trust – Coach Development Event

BSc Football Coaching & Performance students joined Port Vale F.C. Foundation Trust for their recent Coach Development Event

The first-year cohort of the BSc Football Coaching and Performance course were invited by Tom Sheratt, Head of Port Vale Foundation Trust, to visit Vale Park and participate in their in-house Coach Development Event for sports coaches.

The day started early for the students with an 8.30am meet at the Roy Sproson statue (popular player from the 1950’s and 60’s) directly outside Vale Park in Burslem. The first action of the day was to shake off the effects of the -2 degrees Celsius temperature with warm refreshments. After a short while meeting and greeting the club coaches and coach educator, the in-house training event started in earnest. The students were purposefully mixed with the club and community coaches to ensure that there was a variety of backgrounds and experiences to draw upon in the subsequent activities.

The activities on the day all revolved around effective coaching and how coaches can add their own ‘flavour’ when coaching. Coaching is a social activity, conducted in teams, and it always benefits to have the coach put their own stamp on what they do, making it unique and personal to themselves, whilst also focusing on the needs and development of the participants. The students enjoyed the coach development session, which was delivered by Tom Peever, F.A. Coach Educator, particularly because of the insight that it provided to students surrounding the type of CPD training they may have to undertake when they graduate from the course and gain employment in a football club. This was invaluable for the students and only provides them with more knowledge of the inner workings of a football club. Continue reading

Staffordshire University Proudly Presents: Level 4 Early Childhood Studies Degree; 1st Baby Conference

With Guest Speaker Midwife: Sylvia Baddeley

Staffordshire University observed its first (ever) Student Baby Conference on Friday February 8th, 2019. This event had been organised to co-inside with the delivery (pardon the pun) of the Working with Babies Module (0-3 years) and to cover specific topics related to the module.  The whole day event was an opportunity for students to engage and experience a conference style presentation, something new for many students.

Our Guest Speaker, Sylvia Baddeley is a Bonding and Attachment Specialist Midwife whose career spans nearly over 39 years; she is a Freelance Lecturer, an eminent speaker and researcher; has (also) worked with Stoke Speaks Out; pioneered Aqua Natal Classes and on top of all that, she still finds time for personal hobbies such as painting; art and local history. And so, it was our privilege to have some an experienced and knowledgeable professional delivering our first ever conference. Continue reading

Why Manchester United should make Ole Gunnar Solskjaer manager next season

Anthony Miller, PhD Candidate and Lecturer at Staffordshire University, writes for the Conversation

With speculation rife over who will be taking over as manager of Manchester United FC in the coming season, any talk of appointing current caretaker and former player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is strictly under wraps.

With limited experience in top-flight football, the Norwegian currently in charge of the biggest club in the world has renewed players’ confidence and attacking flair. The turnaround from ex-manager Jose Mourinho’s dismal performance this season can be explained by what social psychologists call the social identity approach – the study of interpersonal relationships and emotional connections within a group.


Solskjaer scored 126 goals for Manchester United between 1996 and 2007 under manager Alex Ferguson, but he is best remembered for coming off the bench to score in the 93rd minute of the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich in Barcelona. His winning goal in the dying seconds of this legendary match gained him the respect and adulation of fans and a place in the club’s history. When he was appointed interim manager the day after Mourinho was sacked, Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said:

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s history at Manchester United means he lives and breathes the culture here and everyone at the club is delighted to have him back. We are confident he will unite the players and the fans as we head into the second half of the season.

Read the full article on The Conversation

Biological Sciences and Education students visit The Netherlands

Our Biological Sciences and Education students have just returned from an action-packed visit to Radboud University in Nijmegen. Radboud University is a student-centered university in The Netherlands, active in almost all scientific fields and with a large Education department. The University benefits from an ‘open climate’ and inspiring environment.

Biological Sciences students spent two days at Radboud visiting their fantastic laboratory facilities including greenhouses and root labs, animal ecology and physiology departments and the University’s zebra fish facility. Students participated in practical laboratory activities including extracting DNA from wastewater samples; discussing their different approaches and methods employed. Continue reading

Biological Sciences students visit Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona

Our Biological Science students have just returned from an action-packed visit to Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona, the most cosmopolitan city in Spain.  After touring the campus, attending lectures and experiencing life as a student at UPF it is easy to see why this university made it to the number one spot in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for a Spanish university.

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It’s just Brilliant to be back

The level 6 Education Department students kicked off semester 2 with a visit from Martin Burder from The Art of Being Brilliant. We made sure we wore our positive pants and strapped ourselves in for a motivational, inspirational, and emotional ride, and Martin certainly delivered.

We chatted through what it means to be more positive, how we can make daily changes to eventually form healthy habits, and the many benefits this has for us and others.

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