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Physical education and the state of play

Sue Wilkinson MBE Chief Education Officer at the Association for Physical Education

Eileen Marchant MBE Lead National Trainer at the Association for Physical Education

Education evolves rapidly and at times we know that schools have to deal with a significant number of initiatives raining down on them. However, it has been refreshing to see that some initiatives are joined up, although it is sometimes difficult to see where.

Strategies for change

The Primary PE and Sport Premium was a strategy introduced with a vision that aimed for ‘All pupils leaving primary school to be physically literate and with the knowledge, skills and motivation necessary to equip them for a healthy lifestyle and lifelong participation in physical activity and sport’. The single objective is at the time of writing this article: ‘To achieve self-sustaining improvement in the quality of PE and sport in primary schools’.

Sport England then published its strategy ‘Towards an Active Nation’ with a single aim, to get the nation active, starting with children as young as five. ‘Childhood Obesity: a plan for action’ includes a number of measures which aims to reduce England’s rate of childhood obesity within the next 10 years.

It’s important that all the above are not seen as separate strategies but are interlinked and that all agencies involved work collaboratively together to achieve the best possible outcomes.

What we must not lose sight of is that we have a statutory National Curriculum in state funded schools which includes physical education. The purpose and aims of the physical education curriculum include ensuring pupils are active and healthy in an environment that develops and nurtures emotional health and wellbeing.

Healthy body, healthy mind

We all know and recognise that a healthy body gives rise to a healthy mind; knowledge which is based on academic research; there is now a wealth of evidence proving the connectivity between activity, emotional wellbeing and improved academic achievement.

Since the National Curriculum of 2014, teachers are in control of the curriculum and this can be designed to meet the needs of pupils in their schools and within the context of local need.

Association for Physical Education illustrates this connection and asks the following questions:


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