The Youth Sport Trust will champion a new vision for PE and sport in schools today at the 2017 National Conference at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry.
The Trust, which focuses on using the power of sport to improve wellbeing, develop leadership skills and raise young people’s achievement, wants to ensure that PE is not cut from the curriculum in secondary schools.
Alison Oliver, Chief Executive Officer of the YST says:
We want to see physical education repositioned in schools so that it has a clear objective and focus on the development of positive physical, social and emotional wellbeing and helps young people thrive despite the challenges they face in modern life.
“Our vision for PE includes developing physical literacy and a love of movement at primary level, with a focus on leadership skills and health and wellbeing in secondary. This would put physical education at the heart of the educational agenda for schools – ensuring young people are well enough to learn and have developed a range of personal competencies that will help them in the classroom.”
The Trust is keen to address the negative stereotype of PE being all about prowess in sport and rather reposition it to enhance lifelong skills.
Secondary school PE is under increased pressure, with more schools opting to reduce or drop it entirely, in order to focus on other subjects perceived to be more important.
Commenting on the Department for Education’s announcement earlier this week of £415 million for schools for capital facilities, Oliver adds:
We welcome funding that could provide scope for more and better sports facilities which will support health and wellbeing and the lifelong impact this could have. We also believe there is a need to refresh the curriculum and for physical education and sport to be put back at the heart of schools.
Programmes such as the Youth Sport Trust’s ‘My Personal Best (My PB) – Life-skilled through PE’, has used investigative research to inform a 12 month pilot of 25 schools from three academy trusts to develop a nationally replicable approach to character development. The pilot uses secondary curriculum PE to teach young people vital character traits like creativity, aspiration, resilience and empathy.
In addition, targeted intervention initiatives such as the Youth Sport Trust’s ‘Get to the Start Line’ have demonstrated that athlete role models can have a positive impact on helping young people develop coping strategies to combat exam-related stress, something that national statistics say that 92% of young people experience. The Youth Sport Trust are also piloting a programme funded by Health Education England, which will use the power of leadership and peer mentoring to activate a movement of Young Health Ambassadors to create peer led projects to address wellbeing in their schools.
Speaking in a video address to delegates at the conference the Department for Educations’ Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families Edward Timpson MP will share how the Department for Education is “determined to support schools to offer an increasingly impressive PE and sport offer for their pupils.”
Timpson will also talk about the introduction of the soft drinks levy as just one component of a wider cross-departmental approach to inactivity for long-term impact, something he says the YST are experienced in delivering.