To mark the start of National School Sport Week, the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has today announced that it is to partner with the Youth Sport Trust as its charity of choice for 2015-16, underlining the importance of PE and sport in education.
A charity is selected each year by the association's president. New president Tony Draper said: "The benefits I gained from a childhood immersed in sport and physical activity, made me the person I am today. School sport can transform a child's relationship with learning and I want all children to have that opportunity.
"I firmly believe that by engaging in athletic and sporting pursuits and the associated skills, children exercise their minds and develop and grow academically. Physical and mental health go hand in hand. Team games foster friendships that last a lifetime and also promote the life skills to be able to interact with others in new situations. Sport promotes values and behaviours are a passport to a healthy and happy life."
Today 4,800 schools across England and Wales will kick off a week of sporting activities for National School Sport Week, providing 1.8 million young people with the opportunity to get active. The Youth Sport Trust has challenged schools to get young people to take part in at least one hour of physical activity every day during the week.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders' union NAHT, commented: "A good education is a balanced education and it is crucial to start children on healthy habits early. PE is at the heart of that.
"NAHT has, over the past few years, been working closely with sports organisations to call for a long term vision for PE. Schools value the ethos and development that sport can offer and a great many do extraordinarily well in providing a high quality sports offer. The valuable work of the Youth Sport Trust helps to make this happen."
Welcoming the partnership, Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive Ali Oliver said: "We are greatly honoured to be the NAHT's partner charity for the year.
"The NAHT provides vital resources and support to Headteachers and we look forward to furthering our relationship, reach and understanding amongst this vital audience.
"At the Youth Sport Trust, we are committed to ensuring that young people develop the physical, social and emotional literacy they need to succeed in the classroom and in life through high quality PE and school sport.
"This partnership comes at a vital time for PE and school sport, and I look forward to working together to ensure that every young person has access high quality PE and sport opportunities at school."
Schools across the country have signed up to National School Sport Week to receive a range of Youth Sport Trust resources, guidance and ideas on how to increase opportunities for young people to take part in PE and sport.
Oliver added: "We are proud to deliver National School Sport Week and it is always very special to see the energy and excitement in schools that are celebrating week.
"At the Youth Sport Trust we believe in building a brighter future for young people though PE and school sport and National School Sport Week helps us do that. It promotes the fact that PE, school sport and physical activity are proven to enhance physical health, boost mental wellbeing, build resilience, lift academic achievement and create active habits for life."
Schools are also being challenged to raise funds for the Youth Sport Trust by designing their own PE kit. Share your National School Sport Week stories and follow all the latest action online via #NSSW.