Today's news, tomorrow’s lesson - PE requirements scrapped...in 2010

Headlines were generated this week with the story that the government had scrapped a target for schools to provide two hours a week of PE. But what all the stories seem to have missed is that the rules governing how much PE schools are supposed to offer - and how they prove it - have not changed since October 2010.

Today's news, tomorrow’s lesson - 9 August

England 'expects': school regulations on PE date from 2010


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Headlines were generated this week with the story that the government had scrapped a target for schools to provide two hours a week of PE. But what all the stories seem to have missed is that the rules governing how much PE schools are supposed to offer – and how they prove it – have not changed since October 2010.

At that time, education secretary Michael Gove scrapped the annual school sport survey, which collected information about the number of children engaging in physical activity and the kinds of sport they were playing.

He also ended the target of five hours of sport a week – two hours in school and three hours out of school – that had been introduced by the previous Labour government. Instead, the coalition government said it “expected” schools to provide the same two hours a week of PE and sport, although without the survey it would not be able to hold them to account.

“Instead of handing down targets and quotas from Whitehall, we have chosen to trust teachers and parents when it comes to deciding how much sport pupils should do, ”a Department for Education spokeswoman said this week.

“We want to strip away the red tape that takes up too much time teachers should be using to teach, run sports clubs or plan lessons. In the past, schools were heavily over-burdened with paperwork and form-filling.”

But the Youth Sport Trust said the end of the PE survey in 2010 had caused problems. “Measuring the number of young people participating in two hours of school sport did give a clear indication of participation levels in sport in schools, obviously now this has been scrapped it is difficult to know exactly what the picture is across the country,” said chief executive John Steele.

Questions for discussion


For primary:

  • What sports do you do, or would you like to do? What is your favourite thing about this sport?
  • If our school won the lottery, what sports equipment should we spend the money on?

For secondary:

  • Do you think that the London Olympics has changed opinions about UK sport? In what ways? Has it changed your opinion?
  • Who should have the power to decide how much sport we do? Should it be up to the government or teachers, or should we decide for ourselves?


Related resources


Forums: Have you got any free time?

  • Join the conversation as teachers sound off about school sports provision.

Get kids on the go

  • This useful booklet from the British Heart Foundation is on understanding the importance of physical activity to encourage and support children to be active.

Healthy lifestyles

  • Get a range of ideas for encouraging sports activities at the secondary level with our TES collection.

Physical education

  • This collection of PE resources is designed to inspire primary pupils.

Further news resources


First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

In the news this week


A homeless 16-year-old was forced to live in a tent for nearly nine months because of the failings of two local councils, an inquiry has found.

The most sophisticated space probe ever built has successfully landed on Mars to begin its 98-week search for the “ingredients of life” on the red planet.

London 2012 has opened with a week full of Olympic firsts for Team GB. While the first three days passed without a single gold for the host nation, the duck was finally broken by rowers Helen Glover and Heather Stanning.

The number of children labelled as having special educational needs (SEN) in England has fallen by almost 90,000 in just two years, official figures have revealed.




In the news archive index

First News


8th August, First News Weekly News Bulletin, in association with Sky News, is a three minute round-up of the news every week - available every Wednesday. For previous weeks' bulletins, go to our First News website: www.firstnews.co.uk