New research shows 4000 more hours of PE lost from school curriculum 

New research has shown a further 4000 hours of PE have been lost from the school curriculum in state-funded secondary schools in the last academic year.  

These cuts come against a backdrop of declining children’s health and wellbeing, increasing time spent online, and continued challenges with school engagement and attendance. The reduction continues a trend that has seen the amount of PE and sport in secondary schools in England fall by more than 12% since the 2012 London Olympics. 

Children’s charity Youth Sport Trust believes cuts to the hours of physical education in the curriculum pose a further threat to the wellbeing of young people, and should be a matter of immediate national concern. 

In response to the latest figures Ali Oliver MBE, chief executive of Youth Sport Trust said: “Fewer than half of children in the UK currently meet 60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity which is the Chief Medical Officers’ minimum recommended level.  

“This is contributing to a nation where too many children are missing out, have poor wellbeing and lack a sense of belonging.  The evidence is clear; unhappy and healthy children do not learn and just this week we are seeing proof of this as high levels of persistent absence and mental ill health have been cited as undermining pupils’ GCSE results. 

“I believe building a refreshed school sport system which delivers today – and for future generations – would send such a positive and powerful message to children, young people and families that we care about their wellbeing and want them to enjoy the life changing benefits that come from play and sport.   

“If we can reverse the trend of declining PE and physical activity within schools and implement new ways of working effectively, this will help young people’s mental and physical wellbeing, enable them to access new skills, and empower them to live happier and healthier futures.” 

Liverpool School Sports Partnership (LSSP) is a partnership for schools that works strategically with others to promote, develop and enhance PE, sport and physical activity. The partnership supports Ali Oliver for “a clear and ambitious national target, a coherent long-term plan, and interventions which are coordinated and managed locally”. 

A spokesperson from LSSP said: “For 25 years, we have seen first-hand the impact providing thoughtful, well planned and inclusive school sport systems has on supporting pupils to be healthy, happy and active – key drivers for success!  

“To develop a healthy body and healthy mind, it is vital people form positive habits at a young age and schools play a crucial role in developing these, particularly secondary schools and believe all pupils should have access to two hours of high quality curriculum PE and meaningful after school sport and physical activity opportunities.” 

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