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School Sport Action Plan - Falls Short of Expectations!

Posted: Sun, 14 Jul 2019 14:04

School Sport Action Plan - Falls Short of Expectations!

The Government finally announced its long trailed School Sport and Activity Action Plan on Sunday 15th July.

"Children will have a greater opportunity to access 60 minutes of daily sport and physical activity, whether that be in school, after school or during weekends and holidays, under new Government plans revealed today."

Over the next few weeks we might get to see enough detail to make a full judgement, but given the hype since the 'Plan' was announced last October at the Tory Party conference everybody involved in schools PE, Sport and Physical Activity will have to admit this announcement doesn't go anywhere near the ambition needed to address the size of the task ahead.

The latest Sport England Active Lives Children and Young People Survey showed that a third of children are currently doing less 30 mins of Physical Activity - 30 mins less even than the CMO guidelines of 60 mins per day.

So in response any Action Plan needed to show it could create an ambition to give every child 60 mins of activity. The headline of the Press Release would suggest that there is at least an ambition to get to the 60 minutes.

We all know that the solution lies with building on what is already good about the system and resources available. We have great organisations across the sector like the Youth Sport Trust and AfPfe who continue to work hard across schools to maintain a good level of PE, PL and PA and the expertise to deliver the wider agenda in schools.

The world is changing and anecdotal memories of how PE used to be constantly need challenging and improving. There is enough evidence around about what we have got wrong and why there are inequalities in delivery of PE and Sport and PA amongst girls, disabled students, those from lower SEG and the BAME community. We know we face digital challenges and the need to look wider at wellbeing and mental health and resilience. We have moved to understand that all Activity is good and whilst there is a place for competitive sport the travel to and from school waking or cycling is equally important in reaching the 60 mins target.

We would be the first to applaud the Sugar Tax that has led to the greater resources being made available in Primary Schools. At the moment the money available for Primary Schools is not the issue, but the way it is distributed and measured is still not universally supported - to put it mildly. However, there is no certainty over future funding so todays Plan was important to give some context to this. We await details about the financing of the Plan. the amounts mentioned - £2.5m here and £2m for Satellite Clubs certainly fall short of the game changing sums needed to address the massive cuts taking place in Ks3 and 4 PE and Sport.

We don't want to be too negative! There is some good recognition of the scale of the issue, some acceptance that new things need to be tried. The Netflix style workouts and This Girl Can campaign will help around the edges.

Finally it was disappointing to see that much of the Plan is to be kicked into the long grass of "More detail on the actions in the Plan will be published later this year"

For those of us who have been around policy formulation for some time the delivery of this Action Plan shows us how not to do it. If you don't have any new resources, no real willingness to expend some political capital on new delivery hen please don't make gran statements at Party Conferences, or you end up this messy compromise all over again. We have edged to a slightly better place.

My big take from this latest round of planning is that the sector needs to unite around a plan that will deliver the change we need to see, put a price to it and hold government to ignore or deliver our vision. This is a massive task I know, gathering support from Schools, OFSTED, the YST And Afpe, Ukactive and NGBS or example. But only when the sector can create a viable vision can we pressure Ministers into taking the action required to address the crisis in activity.

We are all looking forward to

Tags: Sports Policy, DCMS, sport policy, Sport England, sport, Governance, Dfe, PE, Featured