Exercise in Schools
Exercise in schools has started to take on, in recent years, the importance which it deserves. There was a period, not too long ago, where it was seen as something of a frivolity and something which could be sacrificed. Thankfully, with a greater focus on sport amongst young people due to the London 2012 Olympics and the last Government’s Change4Life programme, that situation has changed and school sport has a far greater focus. Now, as well as compulsory PE up to the age of 16, most schools offer a wide range of sports and activities for pupils to take part in outside normal school hours. The advent of schools sports co-ordinators and specialist sports colleges has made it even easier for teachers and pupils alike to tap into a range of sporting expertise in their locality.
PE LessonsThankfully, PE is still compulsory in schools so even students who are not passionate about it have to take the subject on until they reach 16. There are many teenagers who would far rather not do any exercise at all, so while one or two hours of school PE a week is not going to vastly alter the health of an otherwise lazy child, it is, at least better than nothing. But PE being forced on children can, if teachers are not careful, have the opposite effect on youngsters to the one they are aiming for – that is to say that being forced to do it will actually turn them off sport for good.
School TeamsFor many children, school sports teams are a crucial part of their development and many stars of the future are uncovered whilst playing for their school. However, many schools should also remember that not all children are budding cross country runners, footballers or hockey players and it should be of paramount importance to have as wide a range of school teams as possible. Sports which might appeal to other types of children should be encouraged – perhaps with the help of other schools or the local sports co-ordinator, or even by asking local sports clubs if they have any qualified coaches who might be willing to help out in setting up a school team.
Sports PartnershipsA measure of how important sport in schools is is the fairly new development of school sports partnerships. These partnerships mean that all schools, primary and secondary, have someone to turn to who should have an extensive network of contacts to enable schools to set up new and different sports clubs in order to get more of their pupils playing and taking part in organised sport.
Sport in schools should not be taken for granted. Those who say sport has no place in schools are likely to be those who have never experienced what a leveller sport is and how playing sport contributes to the well-rounded development of a child. From fair play and teamwork to assertion and confidence, sport brings all these things into a child’s life and leaves them much the richer for it – and that is why it should continue to be an integral part of school life.