Playing up to play the game in Wales

3rd March 1995 at 00:00
Welsh children enjoy physical education and games, but many dislike organised team sports, says a report just published by the Welsh Sports Council.

Nearly 3,000 11 to 16-year-olds were surveyed and 60 interviewed in depth in the second of a series of biennial research projects designed to monitor changes in children's participation in sport in and out of schools.

PE will have failed, the report says, if young people do not continue with physical activity throughout their adult lives.

"This is the challenge to the PE profession: to develop in young people a lifetime's desire to take part in sport and to develop within each child a range of skills they can adapt for different sporting activities," the report says.

It found that around half the pupils preferred games to PE, but a common complaint was that some PE teachers favoured the most able, leaving the rest feeling ignored.

Most pupils would like to play for a team, but at their own level. Many feel intimidated by classmates who excel. The survey found that 89 per cent took part in some kind of sport "just for fun", or to keep fit with swimming, football and tennis being the most popular. Nearly 40 per cent belonged to a sports club.

Teachers should ensure that they give children a variety of activities with a range of levels to ensure they take part in some kind of game, says the report. And they should teach all the children in the class, not just the gifted.

A Matter of Fun and Games, Sports Update, from the Information Centre, Sports Council for Wales, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff CF1 9SW. Pounds 15.

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