Revolutionising the classroom through movement

Key facts

  • This world-first program is designed to re-frame the way children learn by moving more and sitting less.
  • Currently available to all Victorian Primary Schools, it is the culmination of over 15 years of research by Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN).
  • Trials show the program works, increasing attentiveness in class, reducing sitting time and improving health markers including vitamin D levels and Reduced Body Mass Index (BMI).

About TransformUs

TransformUs is designed to get more Aussie kids moving in schools. The program uses behavioural, pedagogical and environmental strategies within the classroom, across the school, and at home to support school students to be more active and more engaged in their learning, improve their educational outcomes and benefit their health and wellbeing.

TransformUs is the culmination of 15 years of research from Deakin’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), led by Deakin Distinguished Professor and IPAN Director Jo Salmon.

The program adopts a whole of school approach, creating a supportive school environment to support students of all ages and all abilities to move more throughout the school day.

Reframing our approach to learning

On a typical school day, Australian children spend up to 80% of their waking hours sedentary, and sitting is particularly prevalent in class time. Prolonged sitting puts children at risk of chronic diseases in the future, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and is also hypothesized to reduce concentration and executive function, as well as enjoyment of learning.

TransformUs provides strategies and resources to combat the pervasive sedentary behaviour in schools and re-frames the way children learn, by integrating meaningful movement into core subjects. The resources promote active learning, which has been shown to improve academic-related outcomes, cognitive function, enjoyment of learning and perceived competence in the classroom. They also help schools and teachers keep students on task and engaged.

The program’s professional learning and online resources improve student learning outcomes across a range of learning areas including maths, science, English, geography and history; and cover all levels from Foundation to year 6. All resources are linked directly to the Victorian and Australian curriculums.

TransformUs is not about teaching sport or physical education – instead, it is a method of teaching designed to be delivered by classroom teachers. It is strongly aligned with practice principles for excellence in teaching. Schools and teachers can choose to adopt some or all TransformUs strategies.

TransformUs works!

Earlier trials of TransformUs at 20 primary schools in Melbourne, Victoria, over two and a half years yielded promising results, including:

  • Increased attentiveness in class – with 85% per cent of teachers reporting that their students had improved concentration in class after an active break.
  • Students spent up to 63 minutes less time sitting on school days
  • Students spent 5 minutes a day more in moderate to vigorous activity
  • Higher vitamin D levels in students
  • Reduced Body Mass Index (BMI), waist circumference and blood pressure in students.

The original TransformUs trial was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project Grant and a Diabetes Australia Research Trust grant.

TransformUs journey

Following the success of the original trial, TransformUs received five years of funding (NHMRC Partnership Grant and VicHealth) to scale up across the state of Victoria. This allowed any Victorian primary school teacher to access TransformUs. TransformUs was also included in the Victorian Government’s ‘Active schools toolkit’.

TransformUs secured a further five years of funding under the NHMRC Investigator Grant scheme. This enabled expansion into tertiary education, secondary schools nationally, and the development of further resources and professional learning for teachers who have students with additional needs. A further arm of the project is TransformUs Wellbeing, which incorporates resources to improve nutrition, sleep and wellbeing of primary school students.

2009 - 2013Original development of the program
2015 - 2017Further testing in schools in partnership with local councils
2017 - 2021TransformUs made available to all Victoria primary schools
2018TransformUs website launched
2019TransformUs becomes an approved provider for the Sporting Schools pilot
2020 - 2024Program expanded to secondary schools, all abilities schools and higher education
2021Partnered with Victorian Department of Education and Training to test TransformUs in secondary schools
2021Partnered with Department of Health in Tasmania to test program
2022Further testing in Saudi Arabia

For more information, see the TransformUs website or contact or
phone +61 3 9244 3033

TransformUs is an investment in future generations, informing health policy and practice programs, with the potential to impact kids’, teachers’ and parents’ day-to-day lives, health and understanding of physical activity.

Deakin Distinguished Professor Jo Salmon

Grants and funding

The original TransformUs trial was supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project Grant (2009-2013; APP533815) and a Diabetes Australia Research Trust grant.

The scale-up of TransformUs across the state of Victoria was funded by a NHMRC Partnership Grant (2017-2022; APP1115708) and VicHealth (see Our Partners)

The Tertiary, Secondary and All Abilities National expansion of TransformUs was funded by a NHMRC Leadership Level 2 Investigator grant (2020-2024; APP1176885  ).

TransformUs Higher Ed: Developing confident, ‘classroom-ready’ graduates is supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (ARC DECRA), (2024-2027; DE240100452)

TransformUs Wellbeing is funded by a VicHealth Impact Grant (2023-2025).

TransformUs has also been successful in securing grants to conduct pilots in Tasmania, Saudi Arabia and Victorian Secondary schools.

Contact us

For more information about our research impact contact Deakin Research.

Get in touch