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School Sport and Activity Action Plan

Article posted on: October 11, 2019

 

Could '60 minutes a day' become as well known as '5 a day'? That's what the government's new 'School sport and activity action plan' is aiming for!

What?

In July, the government launched its ‘School sport and activity action plan’. This cross-government plan is designed to provide children and young people with more opportunity to access 60 minutes of sport and physical activity every day.

Why aren’t children and young people already doing 60 minutes a day?

This is a complex question, with a slightly different answer for every child or young person that isn’t doing 60 minutes a day. 

Understanding the barriers preventing them from taking part in sport and physical activity is the very key to helping them get more active. 

It does appear to be the case that children become less engaged with sport and physical activity as they progress through their education and, in particular, as they progress through secondary school. It may be that some of them are losing confidence, while others may find the activities offered to be less enjoyable.  

Why is that a problem?

Apart from the obvious concerns around the increasing waistline of the nation’s youth and the related health issues that accompany obesity (currently, around a third of children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school), there’s also a link between physical activity and mental wellbeing. 

And, with as many as one in eight 5-19 years olds living with at least one mental disorder, the positive role physical activity can have on mental health must not be ignored. 

Children and young people could also be missing out on the many opportunities that sport and physical activity offer for character-building – like, teamwork, healthy competition and leadership opportunities. 

Sport and physical activity also offer young people the opportunity to enjoy face-to-face engagement with their peers, something that could be really helpful in tackling loneliness and social isolation in an ever more digital world. 

What’s the plan?

There are several elements to the government’s plan

The first is simply to make ’60 minutes a day’ as well known as ‘5 a day’, so that young people themselves are aware of how much physical activity they should be doing. Although simple, this is an ambitious goal, given that nearly a third of young people are currently doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity per day. 

They’ll be encouraging schools and providers to come together to improve the provision of after-school sports clubs. 

From September 2020, the government will launch a series of regional pilots, where schools will work with sport providers and other local organisations to provide a coordinated offering of sport and physical activity both in and out of school. And, in the pilot areas, there will be increased training opportunities to help support a high-quality PE offer. 

Funding will be provided to offer more volunteer opportunities in sport for young people, and to empower girls to get more involved in sport. 

The Department for Education will also provide financial support of up to £6m for teaching of the new health and relationships curriculum, which sport can play a key role in.

They’ve also launched a scheme for schools to rate their health and wellbeing provision, which includes guidance on appropriate levels of PE provision. 

And there are plans to strengthen the School Games and provide more opportunities for young people to compete. 

For more information, please see the ‘School sport and activity action plan’. 

How can schools help?

One great thing about this plan is that the entire burden is not intended to be placed on the shoulders of PE teachers – in fact, the government wants to encourage greater activity throughout the school day, as well as at home. Encouraging students to walk or cycle to school, or offering more active lunchtime clubs could help them reach their target. 

It has been shown that key for young people’s interest in sport and physical activity is the enjoyment factor. And one way to ensure that even the least active students will enjoy the activities offered is to get them involved in deciding what’s offered! 

You could even arrange a school sports tour designed to enthuse even the less sporty students!

How can a school sports tour help?

Firstly, providing students with an opportunity to travel and experience another culture through sport is an exciting one, and one that should be open to all. 

It can also be a great leveller, particularly if you choose something like a watersports tour, where most students will be trying that activity for the very first time. 

And even if you do focus on the more traditional school sports, just taking the sport outside of the school environment could encourage those less keen to see it in a different light. 

Let us help you plan a school sports tour that encourages all your students to enjoy being more active!

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information, or to request your tailor-made quote

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