The Youth Sport Trust is calling for a new long-term, joined-up national plan guaranteeing every child access to 60 minutes a day of PE, sport and play by creating a nation of active and well schools. The call is the central pillar of the charity’s new manifesto, which it published on 17 January.
To achieve the 60-minute target, Youth Sport Trust wants the government to create a “nation of active and well schools”, underpinned by investment and supported by a campaign to raise awareness of recommended activity levels.
Outlining the plans for the new active schools network, the Youth Sport Trust said it wants to see:
• A dedicated coordination and delivery team working across a family of schools in every community
• The introduction of a new national wellbeing measurement for children, to track progress and target interventions
• A drive to protect and increase spaces for play and physical activity in every locality, and provide co-curricular sport for all children
• Physical Education being “reimagined”, making it a core subject developing physically literate children, healthy learners and active citizens
• The formalisation of existing youth sport leadership opportunities into a national young sport volunteers programme delivering year-round social action.
The manifesto was developed with contributions from children and young people, teachers and school leaders, and representatives from youth, health and wellbeing, physical activity and sport organisations.
Ali Oliver, Youth Sport Trust CEO, said: “We’re calling on the next government to prioritise the transition to this model by starting in the most disadvantaged areas first, demonstrating the impact and generating learning to inform national implementation.
“Our passionate belief is that by embedding opportunities to be active in every child’s daily life, we can develop young people who are happier, healthier and ready to learn.
“Children and young people’s physical, mental and social wellbeing are in crisis and require immediate, urgent action. Increasing levels of physical activity is key to the response.
“We can develop healthier, happier and more successful children through a new national plan, guaranteeing every child access to 60 active minutes a day, putting physical activity at the heart of schools, communities and every stage of childhood.
“In this manifesto for action, we put forward proposals to initiate the systemic change needed to improve outcomes and transform lives. The ideas within are informed by contributions from more than a hundred organisations and individuals who have generously shared their insights, experiences and suggestions with us, to enable the development of a collaborative vision detailing how to use physical activity, PE, sport and play to improve wellbeing.
“Contributors have included young people, teachers and school leaders, alongside representatives from youth, health and wellbeing, physical activity and sport organisations. We are grateful to all for their participation and support for this project. In this mission we are speaking with one voice and a shared determination to achieve change. In recent years, interest and focus on children has been missing in policy making.
“At a time of great division, we are optimistic that this can be a unifying vision for those of all political colours and none. After all, we share a desire to create happier, healthier children – their future will define our nation’s future. The onus is on all of us to match words with action.”
To download and read the full manifesto, click here.