Ofsted: Schools are not doing enough to tackle obesity

17th October 2014 at 15:01

Too few schools are spending extra cash made available for sport on boosting the health and well-being of obese and overweight pupils, Ofsted has said.

In a report, the watchdog says that the primary PE and sport premium is being used to good effect on the whole, but that more needs to be done to tackle the issue of childhood obesity.

Last year, prime minister David Cameron handed primary schools £150 million a year for the following two years to pay for high-quality school sport, in a bid to capitalise on the success of the 2012 London Olympics.

Ofsted’s study looks at 22 schools to see how well they are using the money. The report reveals that every school has implemented a plan to spend the cash, but finds that a small minority are not using the money well enough to provide new activities.

Some schools, the report adds, are using the money to pay for swimming lessons when cash is already provided to teach pupils to swim.

But the report voices most concern over the lack of action on obesity.

“Very few schools were using their funding to improve pupils’ health and well-being, especially those known to be overweight or obese,” the report says. “In particular, there was a lack of engagement with parents and local health agencies to develop and implement effective approaches to tackle these issues.”

Schools should work more closely with parents of obese children to encourage healthier lifestyles, the report adds, while headteachers should be given further guidance on how to provide support in this area.

Sean Harford, Ofsted's national director for schools policy, said: "Sport has the power to transform young lives. It is encouraging that schools are using the primary PE and sport premium effectively. This may unearth a future Olympic star, but more importantly it is allowing all children to fully take part in PE and enjoy a greater range of sports.

"This is an obvious boost to their health, but it also helps to form good character. I have found that the best schools know that sport is not an add-on to the timetable, but is an integral part of a school's ethos."

Related stories: 

PE specialists in primary schools to double - 2 July 2014

Schools must use PE to tackle 'crisis of inactivity', says sports chief - 5 February 2014

Girl power the answer to boosting take up of school sport - 28 June 2014

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