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extending school hours

How extending school hours could benefit the activities sector

January 8, 2021

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Ministers are currently considering a proposal that could see new opportunities for the activities sector to get school-age children active.

High-profile sports people including former Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand and double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes among others, have put their support behind it.

The proposal could have two extra hours added to the school day for P.E in England, embracing similar schemes in Scotland and Wales.

Rugby international player, Lawrence Dallaglio, said in response to the Daily Mail, that change starts on the school grounds.

“If we want to extend the benefits of sport and physical activity it starts with keeping the gates open at our state schools for a few hours each day to let local coaches and sports clubs get children moving before they go home.”

The estimated cost of inactivity amongst 11–25-year-olds through their lives has been billed at an enormous 53.3 billion, by the Centre for Social Justice.

As inactivity tends to continue through their adult lives, the cost to quality of life and health is limitless. The report, A Level Playing Ground looks to a ‘carousel of sports’ including competitive, team, and individualised sports like dance and gymnastics.

This holistic approach to engagement won’t come as a surprise to sports coaching companies that have been consistently embracing a combination of techniques to get children of all abilities, active.

The focus of the report is optimisation. Using existing facilities, funds and local sports establishments to maximise activity in children so they can continue to keep active into adulthood.

It also recommends sharing Independent school facilities, allowing them to better prove their benefit to local communities in order to keep their charitable status.

The Daily Mile, a scheme already in use Scotland for example, encourages nursery and school staff to take children out for a 15-minute jog during the day.

Nearly 50% of schools have used their Pupil Premiums for new coaching staff and equipment according to UK Coaching.

Sports coaching companies bring their own equipment, qualified coaches, and a multitude of methods of engaging children of all abilities.

CSJ indicated that sports education is largely led by teachers, which already places a huge stress on teachers.

Sports coaches are well-placed to not only provide this provision through after-school clubs for example, but also support teachers so they feel more confident with formal PE lessons.

The law should also be amended to allow the Education Secretary to set a minimum number of hours per pupil per week of physical activity, the CSJ said.

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