Parliamentary group examines the important role of PE

An All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on a Fit and Healthy Childhood has today released a new report which it has hailed as ‘the most comprehensive blueprint for PE for a generation.’

The APPG report, which includes contributions from the Youth Sport Trust, aims to recognise the vital importance of physical education to health and to create an the environment that will reverse the strong recent trend of reduced physical activity.

The ways in which PE is taught in the four home nations and in other countries; the role of PE in the National Curriculum; ways in which girls can be encouraged to participate in PE; an inclusive PE curriculum for disabled children; and PE as part of a health and wellbeing matrix, including knowledge of good nutrition, sport and play; are among the subjects examined in the report.

The report provides a series of recommendations to increase the delivery of high quality of PE in schools. These include calls to:

  • Increase the number of specialist PE teachers within state primary schools
  • Embed knowledge of the aims and practice of Physical Education into all teacher training and ongoing continual professional development from early years to                secondary level
  • Review, revision and update of Ofsted requirements for the delivery of Physical Education in all settings from early years through to secondary schools
  • Re-structure Physical Education programmes for girls, providing a comprehensive offer and a choice that is not dominated by participation in competitive sports.
  • Further develop the role of Physical Education within the health and wellbeing specification of curricula.

Responding to the report, Alison Oliver, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said:

“It is extremely encouraging to see the All Party Parliamentary Group recognise the vital role that PE plays in increasing physical activity levels and addressing declining physical, emotional and social wellbeing in young people.

The critical importance of PE should never be underestimated. Children that have a high quality PE experience at school are likely to be healthier and more active, have a greater sense of wellbeing, perform better academically and will develop essential lifestyle habits.

We must develop a PE system that supports young people from an early age to enjoy moving, develops a passion and understanding of physical activity as they transition into and through secondary school, so that when they leave education they are well equipped to continue to lead active, healthy lives.

With the doubling of the PE & Sport Premium coming in September 2017 it seems an appropriate time for the findings of  this report to be considered by Government, alongside a range of other advice, when determining how best to utilise that significant investment. There are clearly recommendations suggested here that should be acted upon.”

Children’s champion, Baroness Benjamin claimed that PE was ‘the missing link’ in the crusade to promote the health and wellbeing of children and to combat the scourge of overweight and obesity. She said:

"The long term adverse effects of obesity and overweight in childhood are now generally recognised and people as well as  organisations from all walks of life realise that failing to tackle it is not an option."

The need to combine sport with the knowledge of good nutrition and a healthy diet is now understood. But even though pockets of excellent practice exist, the importance of physical literacy has been largely disregarded, and this has to change for the sake of the nation’s long term future.

So we hope that the proposals in our  report will mark a new start for PE and that they will prompt a serious review of the way it is taught so that all children can participate and experience the lifelong benefits to health."

Click here to see the full report.