More time for PE on curriculum needed

The Youth Sport Trust is urging the government to provide more time on the curriculum for Physical Education in every school.

Beginning the countdown for this summer’s YST National School Sport Week, the charity claims that 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.

The focus of YST National School Sport Week 2019 is on raising awareness of the vital role of PE and school sport in helping young people experience the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’. These are: getting them active; connecting; giving back; taking notice; and learning.

Ali Oliver, CEO at the Youth Sport Trust, said: “The well-being 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 Youth Sport Trust has recently responded to reports that found that school break times have been getting shorter over the past two decades, by stressing that the ‘short-sighted trend of cuts to break times’ coincides with large numbers of schools reducing curriculum time for pupils’ PE.

The charity’s own research found that two in five secondary schools had recently cut the amount of PE on the timetable, resulting in the damaging impact of budget pressures and school accountability being too heavily focused on exam results.

Oliver said: “By reducing time for play, young people are being denied opportunities to connect and develop essential life skills. There is also a growing body of research which shows that being active helps the brain to concentrate and learn.

“It is likely to be no coincidence that this decline in play time and PE comes at a time when schools are warning of a growing mental health crisis. The development of young people’s physical literacy and provision of opportunities to enjoy sport, play and physical activity should be an essential part of every good education. This is why a transformed Physical Education must be put on a par with Maths and English in the curriculum.”

The Youth Sport Trust's National School Sport Week will take place from 24 to 28 June.

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