The reopening of schools presents a hugely important moment to help the nation’s children to increase how much sport and physical activity they are doing, says Sport England.
Last year, 46.8% (3.3 million) of children in England were meeting CMO guidelines of an average of 60 minutes per day across a week but during lockdown, with schools closed and fewer opportunities to use facilities and play formal sport, these figures dropped significantly.
Activity levels fell from just under half (46.8%) to less than a fifth (19%) of children meeting the recommended guidelines, while a third of children told Sport England that the absence of school during the height of the pandemic had a major impact on their ability to be active.
The research also showed that teen girls, Black, Asian and poorer children are relying more than others on ‘at school’ provision to be physically active in their everyday lives.
“We want children to develop a healthy relationship with sport and physical activity and build habits that will benefit them throughout their lives. School plays a hugely important role in this and large numbers of children tell us that not being at school has negatively impacted on their ability to get active,” said Sport England CEO, Tim Hollingsworth.
“We know that both parents and teachers are under pressure in so many areas right now, but our message would be that their role is absolutely vital in supporting our children to be more active and in turn healthier and more resilient. Whether that’s encouraging children to walk or cycle to school safely, making break times and lessons active or delivering PE sessions that children want and enjoy, it all counts.”