PE curb 'danger to UK health'

23rd January 1998 at 00:00
Nicholas Pyke reports on the effects of the Government's decision to reform the primary curriculum

The slimming down of the curriculum is a dangerous measure which threatens the long-term health of the nation, according to the Central Council for Physical Recreation.

The council claims it will leave children less fit than ever and will squeeze out swimming lessons altogether.

The Government's decision to suspend the primary school curriculum for PE and some other subjects has also been attacked by the Physical Education Association, which says the subject will be pushed to the margins.

"This will be seen as a reduction in PE by teachers," said Nigel Hook, from the CCPR. "It is not in the long-term interests of Britain, which requires a fit, healthy workforce. Primary school is the most critical time for developing a love of exercise."

Research has shown that British children are becoming less active, he said, while the incidence of pupils who have heart disease is rising.

The CCPR is particularly concerned about the future of swimming. "There is nothing more important in primary PE than swimming. The chances of teaching every child to swim will be negligible. Mums and dads should be going barmy about this," said Mr Hook.

Meanwhile, the PEA argues that British pupils already take less exercise than most European children at only 90 minutes a week. With the CCPR, it is campaigning for a two-hour minimum.

The Central Council is writing to schools warning them that cutting PE still further is a dangerous move.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today