This week saw the publication of Sport England’s annual Active Lives Children and Young People Survey, revealing the attitudes of school-aged children up and down the country towards sports, exercise and physical activity.
The five key findings are:
- Physically literate children are more likely to be active. The more of the five elements of physical literacy – enjoyment, confidence, competence, understanding and knowledge – children have, the more active they are likely to be.
- Enjoyment is the biggest driver of activity levels. While all of the reported attitudes make a difference, enjoying sport and physical activity makes the biggest difference to activity levels.
- Physically literate children are happier, more resilient, and more trusting of others.The more elements of physical literacy are present, the higher the levels of happiness, resilience and social trust.
- Physical literacy decreases with age. As children grow older, they report lower levels of enjoyment, confidence, competence, and understanding.
- There are important inequalities that must be tackled. Girls and those children and young people form less affluent families are less likely to be active.
The report itself finds clear links between leading an active lifestyle and mental wellbeing, happiness and resilience. Interestingly, the studies found that having a positive attitude towards sport and physical activity was the strongest driver of happiness and resilience levels – more so than activity levels.
These findings underline much of what we are trying to achieve with our Physical Education curriculum at Churchill. Especially in Core PE during Years 9, 10 and 11, our aim is to ensure that all our students have a secure grounding in physical literacy, but above all to ensure that they develop a positive attitude towards sport and physical activity – and they they enjoy it! It is so important to us that we equip our young people, when they leave us, to lead an active and healthy lifestyle independently, not because they know they ought to, but because they want to.
This year, thanks to the hard work of Mr Hayne and the PE team, supported by Assistant Headteacher Mrs Gill, we are proud to be working alongside Sport England to develop approaches to training teachers in PE which develop physical literacy to improve enjoyment of PE and Sport, and to ensure as many children and young people as possibe adopt an active lifestyle. Mr Hayne and his team are working across eight schools in North Somerset to develop these approaches, to introduce some new sports, and to work with experts from local gyms and fitness centres to train staff in new approaches. We’re already seeing some of the benefits, and we’re looking forward to more over the course of this year-long project.
We can all do more to ensure that we lead active and healthy lifestyles. Walking the dog, going for a run, a bike ride, taking the stairs instead of the lift…every little helps. Find something you enjoy, get up and go – the benefits are clear!