If children are not mentally and physically fit, how can they access the good teaching that is taking place in schools, was a question posed by the Chief Executive of children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust at the charity’s Transforming Education through Sport Conference.
More than 600 school leaders, young ambassadors, organisations and school sport professionals from across the UK learnt how to maximise the benefits of PE, school sport and physical activity for all young people.
Ali said: “I am extremely proud of all our partnership work so far this year in giving the nation’s young people a platform for future success, but it is vital that we are prepared for the challenges ahead.
The world is moving faster than ever. Things keep spinning and moving but at the same time the world is slowing down and has almost stopped in terms of physical activity. Young people are getting less and less active but more stressed.
Children along with the elderly are now the loneliest in society and we are working children’s brains harder than ever but because of this, their brains are working less well.
“There is a growing elephant in the room. In our schools, teachers are doing some remarkable work but if young people are not well enough to access that teaching and education, then it is wasted. It is time to change and transform what we look at in education.
“This year we will continue to campaign for PE’s place within the curriculum and to break outdated stereotypes.”
Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman made an opening address at the Conference talking about the importance of a broad and balanced curriculum. The event provided practical learning for attendees with insight into the charity’s pioneering research, the chance to hear from the young people it supports, and an opportunity to network with peers and leading suppliers in the world of PE, school sport and physical activity.
A speech was given from Ben Smith, ultra-marathon runner who completed 401 marathons in 401 days, at the YST Awards Dinner. Ben is currently planning his next challenge to run a marathon in every US state capital and cycle the distance between them. Ben found the transformative power of sport in his 30s having had a difficult childhood and battling his own mental health issues. He is now an ambassador for Youth Sport Trust and raising awareness of the benefits of sport and being active as an endurance athlete and speaker.
Workshops highlighted young health activism, inactivity and its impact on wellbeing, and how sport can be used for character building and to develop resilience, as well as the importance of a community approach to health and sport by discussing the social determinants of health and the deep-rooted barriers to social mobility.
The Conference ended with the YST Awards and Dinner which celebrate the outstanding achievements of schools and young people from across the UK. The event and Awards Dinner was supported by a range of organisations including Espo, PGL, Decathlon and The FA.
Read Amanda Spielman's full speech from the YST Conference here.