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Better results for good sports

Lisa Hutchins reports on the mind-body connection

ports lessons may help primary schools achieve better results across the curriculum, according to a government-backed study. It found schools enjoy better attendance when pupils participate in sport and that it is the most popular after-school activity.

Research into the importance of physical education, commissioned by the DFEE and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, was carried out by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority as part of its curriculum development work.

David Hargreaves, QCA chief executive, said: "An essential characteristic of a good school is that it has good PE and school sport provision. These make scools a better learning environment with less absenteeism and disruption." The QCA found that children who took part regularly in PE and sports had higher self-esteem and motivation and better attitudes to learning.

Some 350 schools with good sports provision were chosen for the survey. It found that 77 per cent of infants and 85 per cent of juniors met or exceeded national expectations in PE. It also found 70 per cent of pupils met the target of taking part in at least two hours of physical activity a week. Infants took part in two to three hours of extra-curricular sport a week, rising to six hours in juniors.

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