Children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust (YST) has started its YST National School Sport Week, which takes place from 24 to 28 June – with a call for more time on the curriculum for physical education in every school
YST National School Sport Week will inspire schools and supporters up and down the country to use physical education and school sport much more intentionally to promote wellbeing and support the personal development of young people.
Every school will have the opportunity to take part in ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ between 24 to 28 June to celebrate the power of PE and school sport to improve young people’s wellbeing.
The charity, which has been working in partnership with education for 24 years to improve the provision and impact of physical education, play and sport, has said too many young people are missing out on the life- changing benefits that can be delivered with the right approach, and it’s time for change.
Ali Oliver, chief executive officer at the Youth Sport Trust, said: “The wellbeing of young people has been in decline and too many are struggling with issues that a good quality physical education could support them with. But four in five young people aren’t active enough and schools have been cutting time for PE on the curriculum.
“To turn this around we need like-minded schools, teachers, parents, young people and others to join together this YST National School Sport Week and show why PE and sport have an essential role to play in every young person’s development and the subject should have the same importance as Maths and English within a child’s education.
“The focus of YST National School Sport Week 2019 will be on raising awareness of the vital role of PE and school sport in helping young people experience the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’: getting them active; connecting, giving back, taking notice; and learning.
“I’d urge anyone who cares about young people’s health, happiness and success in school to sign up and join our campaign to improve young people’s lives.”
Give sport a more central role
Across YST National School Sport Week, schools and leading sports organisations across the country will be uniting behind an urgent call for physical education, play and sport to be given a more central role in addressing the many challenges faced by this generation from physical and mental health, to personal and social development.
The Youth Sport Trust will co-ordinate the week profiling the five ways to wellbeing across the five days of the week. On Monday, the theme is to be active, on Tuesday it is to connect. On Wednesday the theme is to give back, while on Thursday it is to learn. Friday’s theme is to take notice.
Helping mental health
Lipa Nessa, who is a youth ambassador for the YST and a football coach, featured in a new video created by the charity to raise awareness of how sport can help mental health. She said: “For myself, sport has helped me to deal with anxiety and depression. Children’s mental health is not talked about in the community at all. Mental health and sports together is such a good combination. It’s the best way, I feel, to deal with anxiety and depression and mental health in general.”
The video also challenges stereotypes of young people and how sport can unlock potential in an age where a generation is facing enormous pressures from exams, childhood obesity, and a mental health crisis. It can be viewed via https://youtu.be/zOC5yS9LAkI
Among those championing the week will be Ben Smith, the man who ran 401 marathons in 401 days. Schools will be given an opportunity for their pupils to be part of his next awe-inspiring challenge, USA 2020, through a partnership with the Youth Sport Trust and his 401 Foundation, which will culminate in National School Sport Week 2020.
Ben is a wellbeing ambassador for the Youth Sport Trust. He said: “I’m delighted to be working with the Youth Sport Trust.
Their mission is really close to my heart because I believe that physical exercise can help people to ‘find their happy’ and improve their wellbeing irrespective of their ability or background.”
There will be the chance for schools to win a visit from one of the Youth Sport Trust’s inspirational athlete mentors by sharing their best photos and videos during the week on social media demonstrating this year’s theme.
Schools can take part in YST National School Sport Week by signing up at www. youthsporttrust.org/nssw. The charity will share key developments and provide free resources with schools and supporters to help promote events, offer tips and ideas for getting the most out of the week.