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Physical Education has ‘lost its way’ and needs radical reform, says political group

By Matthew Campelli    19 Oct 2016
The report cites 2013 figures that showed the numbers of children the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) physical activity guidelines has fallen below one in five

A group of politicians has criticised “failing” PE teachers and published a wide-ranging report with radical recommendations designed to improve physical education for school children.

According to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood, PE “commands a fear factor for too many children and teachers alike” – with practitioners partly to blame.

“As professionals, it must be admitted that Physical Educators themselves are in part to blame for the situation in which we find ourselves in this country,” the report states. “The leaders of the discipline have remained largely silent for a generation and the subject has lost its way in terms of curriculum development; thereby failing to keep true to the core purpose for Physical Education.”

The 51-page report calls for an overhauled system of education for PE teachers, including the restructuring of post-graduate certificates for PE teachers and increased time on initial teacher training programmes.

The Department for Education is also being encouraged to carry out a review of the content of PE qualifications, “maintaining parity between practical and theoretical”.

A PE taskforce, which gathers best practice before developing a completely new PE Curriculum, should be created by the government. The taskforce would be expected to produce a standardised framework for schools, allowing them to “improve their PE offer” in a consistent way.

The government is also being encouraged to fund research to compare practice of PE across the UK to aid the standardisation process, and implement a policy which will see an increase in the number of specialist PE teachers within state primary schools.

Methods of measuring impact should additionally be altered, said the APPG, which recommends the “review, revision and update” of Ofsted requirements for the delivery of PE from early years through to secondary schools, with physical literacy models of assessment.

Co-chair of the group, Baroness Floella Benjamin, said the recommendations encourage a combination of physical activity and knowledge of nutrition to help counter the childhood obesity epidemic.

“Even though pockets of excellent practice exist, the importance of physical literacy has been largely disregarded, and this has to change for the sake of the nation’s long-term future,” Benjamin added.

“So we hope that the proposals in our report will mark a new start for PE and that they will prompt a serious review of the way it is taught so that all children can participate and experience the lifelong benefits to health.”

To read the full report, click here.

Physical Education  Floella Benjamin  MPs  physical activity 
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