Northamptonshire is set to pilot a trailblazing scheme which could transform how schools impact on students' mental wellbeing through PE, sport and physical activity.
A report will be discussed by Northamptonshire County Council cabinet members next week (10 March) detailing proposals to work in partnership with independent charity the Youth Sport Trust on a pioneering approach to delivering PE and sport in secondary schools.
The programme would aim to improve the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of young people aged 11 to 18 across Northamptonshire, and in doing so have a positive impact on their achievement and attainment.
The focus of the programme would be to use the way that PE and sport is taught to improve life skills such as creativity, aspiration, resilience and empathy and develop a culture of wellbeing across the school.
It would run over three academic years (September 2015 to July 2018), would involve all secondary schools and be independently evaluated. If the programme is successful, it would become the Youth School Trust's national strategy for PE and sport in secondary schools.
The plans are part of the county council's ongoing commitment to improving the health and
wellbeing of children and young people in Northamptonshire and builds on work already taking place through public health and wellbeing programmes such as the Healthier Child Initiative and various activities led by Northamptonshire Sport.
Cabinet member for public health and wellbeing Councillor Robin Brown said: "This is a very exciting programme with a simple aim - for there to be more young people with improved life skills, and therefore with better health and wellbeing.
"It's an opportunity to take part in a pioneering project which could influence the way PE and sport is taught across the country. PE and sport has a unique role to play in the physical and emotional development of children and young people and can make a real difference to students in the county, especially those who may be struggling or facing particular difficulties.
"This programme can also support our ambitious new Race to the Top strategy launched last week which aims to have the best educational outcomes for all children and young people by 2020."
Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive Ali Oliver said: "This is an innovative and pioneering project which explores a new and sharper purpose for Physical Education and school sport in secondary schools increasing its impact on student wellbeing and subsequent academic and personal achievement. It is unique to be working in partnership with a local authority in this way and I would like to recognise and thank the Public Health Team at Northamptonshire County Council for their enthusiasm for PE and school sport and commitment to the health and well being of their young people.
"Over the next three years, our aspiration is that this pilot will impact on student wellbeing and standards in every secondary school in the county and become the blueprint for a national strategy."
The full cabinet report is available online.