General Election 2019

YST General Election 2019
Ahead of the 2019 General Election we are championing the importance of play, sport and physical education to young people’s lives, and the urgent need for the next government to prioritise these in tackling the decline in a generation’s wellbeing.

Our ask of party leaders

Along with 40 leading sport organisations, we wrote to leaders of the UK political parties at the start of the election campaign. We are urging them to commit to tackling the decline in young people’s wellbeing through harnessing the power of play, sport and physical education. You can read the letter here.

How the next government can improve young people’s lives

Working in collaboration with partner charities, education and sport organisations, we have set out measures which we believe the next government should implement to improve young people’s lives.

Together we are calling on the next government to:

1. Put children’s wellbeing at the heart of policy development

We believe there should be a national measure of young people’s wellbeing and that their wellbeing should be a key consideration in the development of government policy and spending decisions.

Along with a coalition of children’s charities we signed a joint letter co-ordinated by the Children’s Society setting out a call for the annual measurement on pupils’ wellbeing in schools. Read the letter here.

2. Set out a long-term, joined up plan for school sport & physical activity which sits at the heart of a government plan for children’s wellbeing

We are leading calls from across the sport sector to ensure every young person enjoys an hour a day of high quality, inclusive sport and physical activity, backed up by good quality teacher training and investment in school sport facilities. This will be vital to turn around the low levels of physical activity which currently sees fewer than one in five young people physically active for at least 60 minutes every day. Along with the sport sector we are calling for more reporting and inspection of school sport so that standards are raised and parents are more aware of the opportunities available to their children.

3. Transform the Physical Education curriculum to focus on physical literacy, healthy weight, mental health, and character

A refreshed PE curriculum should place a greater focus on physical literacy and the subject’s ability to improve young people’s health, wellbeing and character development. This should be complemented by PE being a core subject on the curriculum alongside maths and English – a proposal supported by the majority of the public.

This aligns with ASCL’s call for a curriculum fit for the 21st century which promotes wellbeing and matches the needs of students, employers and the nation. Read more about ASCL’s proposals here.

4. Extend after-school sport with a particular emphasis on improving the offer in school holidays

Young people become less active when they move from primary to secondary school and too many lack places to go and things to do at the end of the formal school day. We believe maximising the school estate and local facilities to provide more and better opportunities to participate outside of school hours and during the school holidays would make a significant contribution to increasing their engagement in positive and physical activities.

We’re support the Sport & Recreation Alliance’s call for facilities to be kept open year-round for community use and UK Active’s call for schools to be  used as community hubs to support children and families. 

5. Establish a national network of locally-deployed school and community sport organisers

Throughout our 24-year history we’ve seen that national initiatives to enhance young people’s experience of PE, sport and physical activity are most effective and impactful when co-ordinated on the ground by local organisers. There should be resource to ensure a dedicated delivery infrastructure can organise and deliver activity, build ‘pathways’ to connect school sport with the wider community and train teachers, coaches and volunteers.

This reflects the view of schools, including thousands who are Youth Sport Trust members. It is also reinforced by the Department for Education’s own research which shows that schools look to other schools and school sport partnership as their most valuable sources of advice and guidance for investing the primary PE and Sport Premium.

6. Support targeted interventions for young people most likely to miss out on the life- changing benefits of sport and play

Girls, young people from deprived areas, BAME communities and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities facing the biggest barriers to being active. Building on school-led models of improvement, networks of lead schools and lead teachers should be supported to pioneer innovative, targeted interventions to address these barriers.

This aligns with Activity Alliance’s call for bold, cross-departmental collaboration to tackle inequality of provision for disabled people. Read more from Activity Alliance.

Working in partnership

In addition to our core asks above, we are also supporting our partners’ calls for change including Fields in Trust and the Fair Education Alliance.