Government drive to improve pupils’ ‘physical literacy’

New government plan targets girls and less active groups with focus on making sport fun

Catherine Lough

climbing wall

A new government plan to increase the amount of sport pupils do at school aims to improve pupils’ "physical literacy" and enjoyment of activity so that girls and groups who are less active develop a positive view of sport.

The School Sport and Activity Action Plan includes a range of programmes, such as the introduction of regional pilots to trial approaches to getting young people active; a commitment to raising awareness among teachers that young people should do at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day; and the creation of teaching hubs to support primary schools in making the best use of the PE and sport premium.

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All of the planned programmes will focus on pupils’ “physical literacy” with “fun and enjoyment” becoming a core part of PE provision.

The plan will focus on ensuring all pupils – including girls and less active groups, such as BAME pupils – develop confidence in their relationship with sport and physical activity.

The plan suggests there is a need to “reframe sport and physical activity as part of everyday life, rather than the preserve of ‘sporty kids’” and aims to empower young people to have more choice over the kinds of physical exercise they do, with Sport England providing £1 million to develop a digital workout library for girls to use in school as part of their This Girl Can campaign.

The Department of Education will also fund the Youth Sport Trust project Inclusion 2020, which aims to develop wider opportunities for pupils with SEND to access high-quality PE provision.

The full list of initiatives in the plan include:

  • Regional pilots to trial innovative ways of increasing the amount of physical activity pupils do.
  • £1 million from Sport England to develop digital resources for schools targeted at girls.
  • Raising awareness of the need for pupils to do 60 minutes of exercise per day.
  • £1.5 million from Sport England to increase the numbers of Active Partnerships, helping schools to open up their facilities to the public.
  • A review of ITT to ensure teachers have the right training to deliver high-quality PE lessons.
  • The DfE will publish details of its healthy schools rating scheme.
  • More support to ensure all children, regardless of socioeconomic background, learn how to swim.
  • Giving schools access to a toolkit to support effective use of the PE and sport premium.
  • Sport England will invest £2 million towards 400 new "satellite clubs" aimed at getting young people in disadvantaged areas more active.

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