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- 05 February 2014 00:00
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Youth Sport Trust Chair Baroness Sue Campbell has warned that schools must grasp the wider academic and health benefits of physical education and sport if they are to help tackle a crisis of inactivity amongst young people.
Whilst the Youth Sport Trust feel that some schools fully understand the transformational impact that physical education and sport can have on young people, there are many that are missing the opportunity.
Baroness Campbell has urged these schools to act and use the Government’s £150 million per year funding into primary schools to take action.
The £150 million per year School Sport Premium is targeted solely at primary schools and was recently extended Prime Minister David Cameron so that it will run through to 2020.
"In the UK, and across the globe, we are facing a crisis of inactivity," said Baroness Campbell.
"The onset of sedentary lifestyles and time pressures both inside and outside of school mean that many young people are not being encouraged to lead healthy, active lives.
"The costs of physical inactivity are plain for all to see - childhood obesity levels continue to dominate the headlines and we know that being inactive increases the risk of developing a host of other chronic conditions.
"A healthy, active child is more likely to perform better academically across all subjects; they will be more confident individuals; have greater employability skills, and are far more likely to have higher levels of self esteem.
"It is important that headteachers understand these benefits and use PE and sport creatively across their schools. Whilst many schools, including those at our conference, understand how to use PE and sport to make a much wider impact, others are missing the opportunity and risk not tackling some of the major issues facing young people.
"The Government investment in primary physical education and sport can make a significant difference in schools if spent wisely.
"I firmly believe that headteachers should focus this money on up skilling their teaching workforce to ensure sustainable improvements in PE can be made."
Edward Timpson, the Minister responsible for school sport, has given his backing to Baroness Campbell.
"We know just how important it is to engender a love of sport in children from an early age, which they can then carry with them throughout their lives,” he said,
"That's why this Government is giving more than £150 million per year to primary schools to spend on improving sport and PE and trusting headteachers to spend it on what they think will benefit their pupils most.
"We've also introduced a cadre of specialist primary PE teachers, ensured PE remains a compulsory subject, and our new curriculum puts competitive sport back at the heart of school life.
"Our reforms are giving every child the opportunities they need to be fit and healthy to develop their physical literacy and to reach their sporting potential."