Fit for Europe

9th August 1996 at 01:00
Diane Spencer writes "UK is bottom of the fitness league", (TES, July 26). Unfortunately, the headline is misleading and incompatible with the main theme of the text.

Evidence suggests British schoolchildren are as fit as their European counterparts. Laboratory-based tests first performed in the United States in the 1930s on boys, and in Scandinavia in the 1950s on girls, show similar scores to those obtained at the University of Exeter in the 1990s. As physiological fitness is determined by age, sex, maturation and a genetic component, the number of PE hours in a school is unlikely to be highly correlated with fitness.

The Exeter study showed that there was no significant correlation between children's activity and fitness. While the number of hours spent on PE is an important issue for teachers, confusion should be avoided between fitness (which is a physiological variable), activity (which is behavioural), and the number of hours in PE (a sociological and political variable).

Dr Craig A Williams Chelsea School Research Centre University of Brighton Eastbourne

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now