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Youth Sport Trust

Youth Sport Trust weighs in on the importance of play and sport

May 4, 2022

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The school’s White Paper was ‘a missed opportunity’ to recognise the crucial role of play and sport, according to CEO of Youth Sport Trust, Ali Oliver. She argued that the paper had overlooked the importance of play and sport, despite rising UK-wide health problems.

She went on to say that the White Paper had failed to address the uncertainty around funding for PE and school sport beyond this summer 2022. Particularly she remarked the future of the School Games Organiser network:

“The School Games is one of the great legacies of London 2012 and government funding has been critical to its success. For the past decade, this network of 450 School Games Organisers has been the linchpin of school sport for young people in England. Without them, millions of opportunities for children to enjoy inclusive after-school sports would be lost, national governing bodies would lose a vital delivery partner, and in some areas obesity and mental health projects would be forced to cease.”

A similar sentiment was put forward by MP Edward Timpson, as he made the case for PE becoming a core subject in the Commons. He added that there was “no coincidence that the very best schools, both state and independent…[had] understood…the holistic intertwining of PE in…their school”.

For him, PE and physical activity were essential to young people living “healthier and more fulfilling lives”. The report released by Youth Sport Trust proved that more than 40,000 hours of PE had been lost in state-funded schools to the detriment of their mental and physical development.

Mr. Timpson agreed with the assertions made by Youth Sport Trust last month by confirming the urgent need for funding to be confirmed for School Games Organisers. This sports and physical activity programme would provide interschool and intraschool competitions at a time when physical activity was most needed. He said:

“…long-term funding makes a significant difference to schools’ ability to bed in some of the practical improvements that they need in the way that they teach PE…. we…need confirmation from the Government in relation to School Games Organisers by 7 April, so that they can continue their excellent work on interschool and intraschool competitions, which have been so successful over the last 10 years…”

For more on Ali’s thoughts, see here, and for more on the Commons debate, see here.

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