The government has announced its intention to help children lead healthier lives, with access to 60 minutes of physical activity every day, through a new School Sport and Activity Action Plan.
The Sunday morning announcement from DCMS, Department for Education and Department for Health and Social Care aims to strengthen the role of sport within young people’s daily routines.
With the latest Sport England Active Lives data showing a third of children do less than 30 minutes of exercise day, the government have committed to launching a series of regional pilots to get young people more active.
The pilots, expected to start in September 2020, will see schools and sports club work closer together, sharing facilities and expertise, and ensure boys and girls have equal sporting opportunities.
The government are also planning additional investment in the short term to support the implementation of the new School Sport and Activity Action Plan:
- The Department for Education has committed £2.5m in 2019-20 to deliver extra training for PE teachers, help schools open their facilities at weekends and during the holidays, and expand sports volunteering programmes.
- Sport England will invest an additional £2m to create 400 new after-school Satellite Clubs to get more young people in disadvantaged areas active.
- Sport England will also provide £1m to develop a digital resource for girls which will include workout videos in a Netflix-style library.
Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Mims Davies, said:
“Sport has such an incredible power to have a hugely positive impact on children’s lives.
“It increases their physical and mental wellbeing, helps them achieve at school and teaches important life skills such as working as a team, developing the confidence to try new things and taking leadership.
“I urge schools to put sport and physical activity at the heart of every school day, creating a cultural shift where it becomes routine in the daily lives of young people.
“Our plan will help shift the dial in school sport - making lessons more fun and engaging and vitally increasing the number of out-of-school clubs so that more young people get and stay active.”
The sport sector response, which was signed by 39 signatories including Active Partnerships CEO Less Mason and Sue Wilkinson CEO of Association for PE, was cautiously optimistic.
The sport and physical activity ‘sector’ said:
“At a time of declining levels of wellbeing and when one third of children are inactive, young people are in dire need of a long-term, joined-up approach to youth sport.
“As a unified community of organisations passionate about physical education and school sport and dedicated to supporting its delivery, we recognise that ministers have worked over the last few months to deliver on the commitment made last year to develop a cross-government School Sport Action Plan.
“Today’s announcement sets out some encouraging intentions and acknowledges the absolute priority of getting every young person enjoying 60 active minutes every day.
“As a sector we welcome the update on this plan and look forward to building on it as part of a longer-term government commitment to a Youth Charter.”
Read the full announcement by DCMS, Department for Education and the Department for Health and Social Care here.
Read the full response by the sport and physical activity sector here.