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ukactive CEO David Stalker reports on the recent ukactive Vanguard focus group, which brought together key organisations in children’s activity and school sport

education and physical activity sector to discuss the various issues surrounding children’s activity and school sports. Te aim was to provide an insight


into the changing education landscape and review the innovative ways in which commercial brands are engaging with schools. Te event was sponsored by Premier Sport, one of the leading school sports coaching providers in the UK, and Danone Nations Cup – the official FIFA Junior World Cup created by global food company Danone.

Physical activity in schools Te group first looked at the role of physical activity in schools. John I’Anson, from the Association for Physical Education, summarised the current professional standards, the national curriculum, the latest Ofsted report and recent funding announcements. Sarah Gregory and Stephen Carroll, from ARK Schools, explained the aim and structure of its network of soon-to-be 27 academy schools. Te delivery of physical education

was highlighted in an Ofsted report in February, which stated that classes were not strenuous enough and there was not

n 30 April, ukactive held a focus group that brought together delegates from the health, fitness,

enough co-ordination between services to help obese children; the report added that a quarter of schools needed to improve their physical activity provision. A month later, an announcement by the Department of Health stated that it would not force schools to spend money on specific sports schemes. However, it has provided ring-fenced sports premium funding for primary schools and is actively encouraging external providers to play a key role in offering their expertise to improve sports provision. David Batch, CEO of Premier Sport, said:

“I’m sympathetic to the challenges faced by school teachers and PE, particularly at primary school level. Tey are given inadequate training, pressured to deliver excellent academic results and then berated when they are not providing excellent specialist teaching in an area most aren’t comfortable delivering in the first place.”

Commercial involvement Te second part of the session looked at how commercial organisations are getting involved in school sports and health policy. Michael Nelson, from the Children’s Food Trust, spoke about its evaluation of Danone’s Eat Like a Champ nutrition programme. Tis aims to tackle the growing issue of poor nutrition and

obesity among primary school children aged nine to 10 years through six specially tailored lessons about healthy eating. Adrian Burt from Vivo Miles presented

its digital solution to driving behaviour, rewarding improvement and incentivising increased activity and wellbeing. Tis was followed up by an open

discussion around the rapidly changing school sports landscape. By facilitating discussions between service providers and school groups, we hope to start linking what’s currently on offer in schools with the resources of experts from within the sector, ensuring that children aren’t just receiving a guideline allowance of activity, but cultivating skills and knowledge about the benefits of physical activity that will serve them for the rest of their lives. Gregory said: “It was great to see all

sides of the industry working together to achieve change. I really hope effective partnerships can drive lasting impact on the levels of physical activity among school age children.”

Long-term change Te focus group ended with a call to develop a working group to look at what children need – in terms of physical education, physical literacy and sport – to further build on the work being carried out in schools and the community. ukactive urges any organisation with an

interest in physical literacy to get involved and share their expertise with schools and the local community. One of our long-term goals is to play an active role in supporting children and young people to establish an active lifestyle as early as possible in life. We work closely with our members, and especially the Vanguard Group, to enable partnerships between a range of leading organisations capable of delivering that long-term change.

A recent Ofsted report found a quarter of schools needed to improve their physical activity provision 24 Read Health Club Management online at

For more information about Vanguard membership, please contact Stephen Wilson, director of public affairs and policy:

June 2013 © Cybertrek 2013

UK NEWShealth club

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VANGUARD Children’s activity agenda


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