Impact of PE on all-round achievement

21st September 2007 at 01:00
What an alarming picture of physical education you paint (TES, September 7). Growing evidence would support Sally Goddard Blythe's view that competent body management and mastery of basic physical skills have a significant effect on many aspects of child development. Other important research provides evidence of the relationship between motor skill development and attributes such as cognitive skills, self-perception and social skills.

It is not surprising that little progress is being made in literacy and numeracy at key stages 1 and 2 as the curriculum these pupils experience is grossly biased towards intellectual development. There seems to be little or no appreciation that this development depends on a rich and wide educational experience that includes PE and the arts. As Professor Margaret Talbot says, it is scandalous that there are no government guidelines to ensure that prospective primary teachers have adequate preparation to teach PE.

If the Government wants to boost standards in young children, it should look seriously at the impact of competent teaching in PE on pupils' educational achievement.

Dr Margaret Whitehead

Physical education consultant, Caxton, Cambridge

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