The Sport & Recreation Alliance’s parliamentary and policy officer Charlotte Adams asks if policy makers and the sector are doing enough to promote activity as an antidote to childhood obesity.

fA planor action

– despite government guaranteeing just six months ago that funding would not fall below £415m irrespective of the amount generated by SDIL. If we are to truly solve the problem of childhood obesity, cutting funding intended to boost healthy lifestyles and school sport shouldn’t be an option. Department for Education spending

A YEAR since the publication of Childhood obesity: a plan for action, government has progressed several key recommendations. Following the 2017 Finance Act, the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) will become law next year and will double the money available for primary school sport. Yet government could go further and fund physical education and school sport from the levy, irrespective of the total revenue raised, to cover the lifetime of this Parliament – not just until the end of the spending review 2019/20 which is the current commitment. This would make sure that as many children as possible get active. Decision makers should also recognise that

the changes to the Healthy Pupils Capital Programme (HPCP) could have profound consequences for school sport. The programme will boost funding for after school sports clubs and encourage healthy eating. Yet just before the summer recess, HPCP’s funding was cut by 75 per cent – from £415m to £100m

guidelines for the PE Sport Premium (PESP) is an opportunity to reshape sport and PE in schools and help tackle rising childhood obesity. However, the updated recommendations – published a few weeks ago – offer little concrete advice to schools on how to utilise the premium. To deliver the PESP effectively, sharing good practice and offering support to headteachers and governors will help schools make the right decisions. Additional government support needn’t

require huge resources and could build on the fantastic work that already exists. A range of organisations offer support and advice to schools – such as Sport & Recreation Alliance members the Youth Sport Trust’s self-review tool kit for schools and UK Coaching’s ‘coaching in primary schools’ toolkit. Those organisations have also worked with the Association for Physical Education, the County Sports Partnership Network and Sport England to provide more resources to 17

support effective use of the premium. Government should take advantage of the sector’s work and issue robust guidelines which could deliver wider, generational change and help get children active for life. The Alliance will be pushing government to

embed physical activity into children’s daily routines. Reshaping the nation won’t be easy, but with government’s and parliamentarians’ support, we can promote the mindset needed to achieve this transformational change and make sure that all children lead active and healthy lives.

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