PE plan takes a great leap forward

But target to give all pupils two hours' physical activity per week is being met by only four councils

Emma Seith

Almost a decade after the original pledge was made to give all Scottish pupils two hours of high-quality physical education a week, the Scottish government is finally able to reveal significant progress.

The proportion of primaries hitting the target has leapt from 3 per cent in 2004-05 to 84 per cent in February this year; for secondaries, the comparable figures are 46 per cent and 92 per cent.

But despite the progress, a child's access to two hours of PE per week remains a postcode lottery.

In East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, West Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire all primary and secondary schools were delivering two hours of PE or two periods, amounting to at least 100 minutes of PE, per week. But no secondary in East Lothian was delivering two periods of PE from S1- 4 and only half of Dundee's secondaries were meeting the target (56 per cent), according to a government survey.

The primary schools in both authorities fared better - 83 per cent of East Lothian's and 86 per cent of Dundee's hit the target.

The figures were published this week in the government's new Healthy Living Survey, which was introduced this year and incorporates the old school meals survey and new questions on physical education.

A fresh push to provide pupils with at least two hours of PE a week was launched by the Scottish government earlier this year when it announced investment of nearly pound;6 million over the next two years to help local authorities achieve it.

The government's aim is that by 2014, every primary pupil will receive at least two hours' PE per week and every S1-4 pupil two periods of PE.

But the government has been accused of moving the goalposts and watering down its pledge by excluding S5 and S6 pupils from the target.

Future Healthy Living Surveys, due to be published in June 2013 and June 2014, will record any impact the government cash injection has had.

Sports minister Shona Robison said: "While we still have some way to go, these statistics demonstrate good progress."


Other government figures published this week

- From 2000-01 until 2008-09, the number of pupils staying on until S6 remained at around 45 per cent - but 2009-10 saw an increase in the staying-on rate and in 2010-11, possibly as a result of the recession, 54 per cent stayed on.

- In 2010-11, 63 per cent of school-leavers entered higher and further education, the highest rate since comparable records began in the early 1990s. Only 19.3 per cent entered employment, the third-lowest proportion.

- By March this year, 87 per cent of all 2010-11 school-leavers were in positive destinations compared with just 55 per cent of looked-after children who had left school.

- In 2010-11, school-leavers who identified their ethnicity as Chinese had the highest levels of attainment and represented the highest proportion in positive destinations.

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Emma Seith

Emma Seith

Emma Seith is a reporter for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Emma_Seith

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