Will Sports Minister, Damian Hinds challenge to the Premier League, the FA and the RFU to increase the number of schools involved in their high level national competitions have the desired affect in our schools?
It is always encouraging to hear that the Government are putting time, effort and thought into PE and activity levels in young people. Especially at a time where it is reported that “record numbers of children are severely obese when they arrive at secondary school”.
In the proposal made by Damian Hinds, he appears to want to use competitive sport to address life skills such as self-esteem and resilience. These are areas that the Physical Education National Curriculum strives to cover and, I believe, they can be addressed through good use of the Primary PE and Sport Premium.
The Education secretary will hold a summit with our national football and rugby associations before launching a new drive to encourage more children to take part in school sports.
It comes as Theresa May threw her weight behind calls for the UK and Ireland to bid to host the 2030 football World Cup, saying the government would give its “full support” if football authorities decide to push ahead.
Mr Hinds will join forces with sports Minister Tracey Crouch to challenge the Premier League, the FA and the RFU to increase the number of schools involved in their high level national competitions.
I do hope that Mr Hinds considers including other national governing bodies in his plans too. He must be aware that not every child will be enthused and motivated by these two sports alone. In my opinion we must work very hard to ensure ALL children from ALL backgrounds are exposed to a variety of competition in a large range of sports if we are going to go down this route.
It is a view that Mr Hinds has actually already hinted at, speaking ahead of the recent Conservative Party conference, Mr Hinds said : “Whilst we have done a lot to support schools to deliver sport – including the introduction and then doubling of the PE and Sports Premium – we need to go further to make sure that every child, whatever their background, has the opportunity to explore different kinds of sport and take part in competition in the one – or the many – that they enjoy.”
While I am pleased that more notice is being taken of our ever-growing problem with inactivity in young children, I am not convinced that the solution lies in ploughing more money and initiatives at schools and asking teachers to further spread their precious time.
What we need is to put PE at the heart of school life. To ensure everyone, in every school, realises the valuable lessons that can be learned through PE and that schools are allowed the time and resources to ensure high quality, inclusive PE can be delivered in school.
We need to make sure PE isn’t lost to English and maths because of the pressure the school is under to produce results. We must make sure parents value the characteristics that their children will gain through PE and making sure teachers have the time, and training, they need to be able to deliver this.
Competition is good for children and a variety of competition should be welcomed, as long as everyone can access it and as long as it is competition that is enhancing the life skills we send these children away from schools with.
Let us hope that this new initiative will help us to develop the well-being and physical health of our youngsters and to work towards providing a rounded education that enhances the wider life skills for all children and young people, while helping them to be active and healthy.
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