Next week is the Youth Sport Trust’s (YST) National School Sport Week. The theme is ‘celebrating PE, activity and school sport’. We need to come together and shout about the importance of getting children and young people active at school because we know that this is beneficial for physical health and development in the early years. Research also shows that:
- Pupils with better health and wellbeing are likely to perform better academically;
- A positive association exists between academic attainment and physical activity levels of pupils.
Furthermore, our Reconomics Plus report highlights Natural England (2016) research which found that students who learn in the natural environment achieve higher grades in reading, maths, science and social studies, compared with students who do not learn outdoors.
This is why, despite the uncertain political landscape, we remain committed to working with the sport and recreation sector and decision makers to improve the availability, accessibility and quality of sport and recreation for children and young people. This is an objective in our 2017-21 strategy – The Heart Of An Active Nation – and in our manifesto we called on Government to put physical literacy on the same footing as academic literacy and numeracy.
Our CEO, Emma Boggis, will be writing to the new Children’s Minister and the new Health Minister calling for physical activity to remain a key part of tackling childhood obesity. As part of this, she’ll be asking the Ministers to confirm that the Government’s commitment to fund PE and school sport from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy – irrespective of the total revenue raised - will be extended to cover the lifetime of the Parliament to 2022. We will continue to work with our members to influence how this money is spent, including calling for further support for teachers to know how best to use the money to provide a range of quality opportunities that appeal to all children.
We will also follow-up on the Duty of Care Review recommendation that Government should support the circulation to schools of the guidelines for the education sector produced by the Forum on Concussion in Sport and Physical Education. This will help people to understand the importance of good management of concussion, how to recognise it, how to respond to it and how to make sure a child or young person returns safely to education and sport.
We will continue to monitor developments under the new Government and will be engaging with new and returning MPs on these issues.
During National School Sport Week, we’ll be celebrating the great work that’s already going on in and around schools to get children and young people active. But it also serves as a reminder of how we need to work together to influence policy developments to achieve the best outcomes for the next generation.
You can get involved with National School Sport Week on social media: #NSSW #CelebratePE @YouthSportTrust
If you’re an education expert at one of our member organisations and would like to engage with conversations around influencing the school sport policy agenda, you can join our Education Expert Reference Group. Contact Hannah Dobbin, Policy Adviser for more information.