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Lessons learnt from the Bristol Girls Dance Project cluster RCT: implications for designing and implementing after-school physical activity interventions
  1. Mark J Edwards1,
  2. Thomas May2,
  3. Joanna M Kesten3,
  4. Kate Banfield1,
  5. Emma L Bird2,
  6. Jane E Powell2,
  7. Simon J Sebire1,
  8. Russell Jago1
  1. 1Centre for Exercise Nutrition & Health Sciences, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  2. 2Health and Social Sciences, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK
  3. 3School of Social and Community Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mark J Edwards; m.j.edwards{at}


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

Design Two-armed cluster randomised control trial. The BGDP was a 20-week school-based intervention, consisting of two 75 min 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 to 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 9 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.

Conclusions 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.

Trial registration number ISRCTN52882523.


This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See:

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