Call For Increase To School Sports Levels

The whole workforce at Dream Big Sports welcomes Sports Minister, Mims Davies’ call for physical activity to be put on a par with reading and writing. In her first major speech as Sports Minister early this month, she boldly outlined her priorities, one being to ensure children are given opportunities to develop the fundamental skills that are crucial to being physically literate. 

As an organisation we passionately champion physical education, sport and physical activity within schools. We believe that it has such great power in building character and setting children up for life with healthy, active lifestyle habits inhibited through making healthy choices from a young age. 

However, it is also vitally important to remember the meaning of physical activity, sport and physical education and the differences between each one. The Association for Physical Education have some great literature surrounding this topic; of which we have summarised below. 

All three strands are similar in that they all identify and incorporate physical movement in their own right but there are key differences to be considered:

Physical Activity is open terminology which relates to movement that goes above usual energy levels. This could be seen as an umbrella term that includes physical education, dance activities and school sport. However, it does stretch further than this; for example, indoor and outdoor play during breaks and lunchtimes at schools, it could also include how you travel to and from school if this incorporates walking, cycling etc. 

Physical Education is the “planned progressive learning” that takes place within a school timetable, delivered to all pupils. Here there are two key elements that are included; ‘learning to move’ and ‘moving to learn’. The fist is simply becoming more physically competent at the basic fundamentals of movement. The second focuses on being able develop better skills and understanding which goes beyond physical activity including sport specific skills, rules and techniques. 

School Sport is an event that takes places beyond the curriculum. This is sometimes referred to in school settings as extra-curricular activities. School sport provides opportunities for children to develop and broaden the foundations that have been provided during physical education. This can also be a key link to community sport and activities. 

Unfortunately for some children, accessing school sport is not an option, they may have their own set of circumstances that prevents this. For other children, they may find physical education lessons daunting and so it is crucial that schools offer a mix of all three in order to help instil healthy, active habits within each child’s lifestyle.  An inclusive approach will always have the greatest impact. 

Start by assessing what other opportunities you provide for children to be physically active whilst at school, outside of PE lessons. How active are children that attend your school during breaks or lunchtime? How many of your students walk or cycle to school? Does your school currently provide opportunities for further physical activity through initiatives and personal challenges?

Once you have analysed this, you can then begin to put an effective and sustainable plan in place to really have a positive impact on each child’s lifestyle. 


Credit: Association for Physical Education

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