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The Importance of PE Right Now!

by | 30th November 2020

Since March we have continued to provide PE in our schools, even when they were ‘shut’ (which didn’t happen by the way British media!) PE existed, in some form every day for the children of key workers. The same can be said since we have returned in September, PE has continued to be high on the agenda in most of our schools. They recognise the importance of PE for our young children, even more so at this testing time.

With that in mind, I am so disappointed to read about the schools that have abandoned PE in a bid to catch up with the ‘more important subjects of Maths and English’.

I am not disappointed because of some higher calling I have always had a about PE or because of the million and one virtues of physical activity that we, in the PE profession, could spout about. I am not disappointed because I think the whole country needs to fight obesity through PE (although that would be a start). I am disappointed that the adults that make these decisions think that this is, in any way, reasonable. These people cannot possibly be focussing on the whole child. They cannot, with all honesty, say that this is the best decision for the actual child? They cannot possibly be remembering the reason they first got into educating children, they cannot think that this will make the child’s life better, that this will be a positive choice, that they will inspire the child or that they will leave a long-lasting thirst for learning more, can they?

How can taking away the access to physicality be a positive step? How can expecting a primary age child to go all week, which leads to all term, which could equate to 14 weeks (that’s 70 school days!) without a PE lesson be a reasonable decision? If we assume that that child has access to safe, outdoor space at home, or activity at the weekends then it is at best a poor decision but unfortunately, in many cases, children only have access to physical activity or sport at school. Taking away PE for even one term could be a life altering, negative decision made for these children behind the smoke screen of ‘catching up on core subject learning’. What could be more core than PE?

Without PE the essential life skills of leadership, team work, collaboration, problem solving, winning and losing are removed. That is before we even begin to focus on the fundamental movement skills these children are being deprived of – balance, agility, coordination. The list is endless!

Overall, studies point to increased levels of distress, worry and anxiety* in young people caused by the lockdown. All of which can be improved by participation in physical education and physical activity and yet, there are people who still believe that taking away PE in schools can be beneficial to the child. AfPE state the reasons why children and young people need regular PE, school sport and physical activity as:

FACT 1: ACHIEVEMENT. Pupils improve in all subjects

FACT 2: PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. Pupils are more confident & positive

FACT 3: SOCIAL SKILLS. Pupils have more developed social skills

FACT 4: HEALTH &EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING. Pupils have a better outlook on life

FACT 5: LEADERSHIP. Pupils will be able to make informed decisions.**

So who thinks we should abandon PE and physical activity for Maths and Science because it is for the good of the child, at a time where what we really need for our children is confidence, a feeling of success, positivity and socalisation?

*www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/scotland-impacts-of-lockdown-summary.pdf

**www.afpe.org.uk/physical-education/wp-content/uploads/Importance-of-PE-Leaflet-FINAL-1.pdf

 

 

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