Charity calls for special sport and activity recovery term when schools reopen

Almost three-quarters of teachers identified ‘low physical fitness’ as an issue when children returned to the classroom last September. The next six weeks are vital.

Earlier this week, we responded to the news that schools would open on March 8 at the earliest.

Here's our response in the Daily Telegraph on what we feel needs to be done to support schools and children to feel confident when they return.

Ali Oliver MBE, Chief Executive from the Youth Sport Trust, said:

“It is vital that clear guidance is provided around the safe provision of daily physical activity, Physical Education and after school sport over the next six weeks so school leaders and teachers know this is an important priority, can feel confident in their delivery on reopening.

Schools truly are at the heart of every community and will play an essential role in the national recovery by getting young people active, and supporting a return to wellbeing. We want to see young people get back to Physical Education and their extracurricular club’s as soon as it is safe to do so.

Sadly, we know that some schools felt they had no choice but to reduce provision of PE and after school sport when they returned in September due to a lack of clarity around what they could and couldn’t do. This cannot happen again. PE and sport are not a ‘nice to have’ in children’s lives, and today more than ever they are essential to their physical, social and emotional development.

“When schools are back we would love to see a national  ‘recovery term’ characterised by active schools, time outdoors and a greater focus on Physical Education and sport – 12 weeks of concerted effort across our sector could be a wonderful way to demonstrate to children and young people, as well as parents and carers that their wellbeing matters and we recognise their need to reconnect, play and have fun again.

“In the longer term, we are urging government to set out a renewed strategy to tackle inactivity and recover young people’s wellbeing, built around a national ambition for our young people to be the happiest and most active in the world.”

If you are a parent, carer or teacher, you can find more support and free resources on our website by visiting www.youthsporttrust.org/coronavirus-support