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Increased focus on physical literacy gathering pace

Research has demonstrated that under-development of physical literacy results in non-engagement with and/or withdrawal from physical activity (Image: pexels.com/Anete Lusina)

The drive to recognise the importance of physical literacy is gathering pace, with a number of sports councils increasing their focus on the topic.

The latest initiative is the Northern Ireland Physical Literacy Forum (NIPLF), which held its inaugural meeting at the House of Sport, Belfast on 8th December.

Set up by Sport NI, the membership of the group includes representatives from governing bodies of sport and local councils.

In 2022 Sport NI, in partnership with Sport Ireland, launched the All-Island Physical Literacy Consensus Statement. The Consensus Statement provides one all-island definition, promoting a culture of lifelong participation in physical activity and acted as a catalyst to the formation of the NIPLF.

NIPLF has been set-up to highlight the importance of physical literacy in determining a person’s decision to be physically active throughout life. The forum will advocate for the integration of physical literacy into policy and practice, encouraging collaboration between organisation’s and sectors.

Sport England followed Sport NI’s lead in September 2023, launching its own Physical Literacy Consensus Statement.

Research has demonstrated that under-development of physical literacy results in non-engagement with and/or withdrawal from physical activity leading to sedentary lifestyles. Members met to share their views and creative ideas on how to embed the principles of physical literacy into their own organisations and influence change across the sporting sector.

At the inaugural NIPLF meeting there was a video presentation by Drew Mitchell from Sport for Life Canada, on the developments of physical literacy in Canada and within Canadian sport.

Over the coming months, panel members will explore options including the roll-out a new ‘Understanding Physical Literacy Module’ developed by Sport NI and Sport Ireland. The module enables participants to understand the principles of physical literacy and to apply them within their organisation, club, coaching/teaching.

For more information on the All-Island Physical Literacy Consensus Statement, the NIPLF and Sport NI’s ongoing work to promote the principles of physical literacy please visit: sportni.net/clubs-coaching/physical-literacy

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