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Calls to review the school PE system fall on deaf ears

By Matthew Campelli    06 Dec 2016
Floella Benjamin is the chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood

The government has rejected the opportunity to review the school PE system, despite the publication of a parliamentary report that claimed the subject was “failing” pupils.

Education minister Lord Nash told the House of Lords yesterday (5 November) that there was “no plans” to review the curriculum and that it was “unnecessary” to create a PE taskforce – one of the recommendations highlighted in the report that was put together by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood.

Baroness Floella Benjamin, co-chair of the group, told Nash that the fact that Britain had “some of the most unfit children in the world” demonstrated a need to “urgently revise” the teaching of PE.

She added that the way the subject was taught “had not changed since the 1940s”.

Her comments echoed the report – published in October – which suggested the subject scared too many children and teacher, and that a taskforce would implement a standardised framework using best practice.

“As professionals, it must be admitted that physical educators themselves are in part to blame for the situation in which we find ourselves today,” the report stated. “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 the true core purpose for physical education.”

Despite Nash offering to meet Benjamin and the rest of the group, the concerns largely fell on deaf ears.

The Conservative Lord stressed that government officials “already work closely” with organisations such as the Youth Sport Trust, Sport England and the County Sport Partnerships.

Nash added that the Primary Premium, which funds PE, will double to £320m (US$408.2m, €379m) from 2017, while the government’s existing investment package had seen the number of PE specialist teachers “increase by 50 per cent”.

Physical education  Floella Benjamin  House of Lords  policy 
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