Everyone can be a winner with PE

23rd July 2004 at 01:00
The TES's Get Active campaign has raised some valid points about the role of physical education and sport in children's education and health.

A healthy body is key to a healthy mind and schools play a crucial role in teaching young people about the benefits of exercise from an early age.

Regular physical activity helps schools in raising academic attainment, improving behaviour and developing a positive ethos.

The Government is investing an unprecedented pound;1 billion to improve sports facilities, teaching and opportunities for pupils and your campaign to reinforce our message is welcome.

School sport partnerships, promoting all aspects of physical education and sport, will operate in half the local education authorities in the country by September, bringing new opportunities to more than three million children. All schools will be in a partnership by 2006.

I should just reiterate a commonly misunderstood fact: no playing fields that either schools or their communities need for sport can be sold. Sales only go ahead at closed schools or where the land is under-used and all the proceeds go back to improving sports or school facilities.

I am encouraged that both a recent Office for Standards in Education report and our own survey of more than 6,500 schools show pupils are spending more time on a wide variety of PE and sport activities.

Particularly heartening is the Ofsted finding that the quality of teaching in PE lessons and extra-curricular sport has improved, especially in primary schools. A unique pound;18 million training programme is supporting teachers in 116 local authorities and is set to be in all 150 of them by April next year.

I am often struck by the dedication and enthusiasm of the PE profession and the many volunteers involved in running school sport. Coupled with the tremendous interest there is in sport in this country, it means PE and sport are in a unique position to motivate children to learn.

Sport isn't just about winning but if we can increase the appeal of PE and school sport, everyone will be a winner.

Stephen Twigg Minister for School Sport Department for Education and Skills

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