Could PE hold the key to improving the wellbeing of a generation?

By Alison Oliver, CEO Youth Sport Trust

Primary school children enjoying PEThere has recently been a wealth of press attention around the mental health crisis facing our young people. This includes coverage of the so-called ‘happiness lessons’ that are being trialled for primary school children.

While we at the Youth Sport Trust advocate interventions that will promote wellbeing in children – this is not the only answer to the growing mental health crisis for young people.

We believe there is another way. From the outset of a child’s education, schools should be providing an environment where health and wellbeing is a theme running through the whole curriculum.

A huge body of evidence points towards the power of activity and exercise to promote mental health and wellbeing. This is why we are calling for schools to utilise their primary premium funding from the government to ensure teachers are properly trained in PE to give children the best sporting start in life.

We believe schools should have a minimum of 2 hours of PE on the curriculum and beyond this, should offer 30 active minutes a day through active travel, active playgrounds and active classrooms. Parents too must understand the impact that physical activity can have on the mental health and wellbeing of their child and know how to support this.

By maximising the time spent on PE and activity within school time and ensuring parents understand its importance, we have the chance to improve the wellbeing of a generation and give them the future they deserve.