The education watchdog has called on primary and secondary teachers to make physical education (PE) classes more demanding of their pupils.
Ofsted's 'Beyond 2012 – outstanding physical education for all' report indicated that investment over the past decade had helped make PE more central to school life.
There were more 'good' and 'outstanding' PE lessons than at the time of Ofsted's last PE survey in 2008, while most schools now provide at least two hours of PE each week for pupils between the ages of 5 and 14.
Yet the report also highlighted continuing shortcomings, with one in four schools not making PE classes strenuous enough to improve pupils' physical fitness.
Furthermore, very few schools played competitive sport to a high level, while there was scant adaptation of PE programmes to suit the individual needs of overweight or obese pupils.
Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted's chief inspector, commented: "Physical education is part of every child's entitlement to a good education.
"Generally, PE in our schools is in good health, but there are some issues the report highlights as areas for improvement."
In its recommendations to the Department for Education (DfE), Ofsted advocated that more specialist knowledge on PE should be taught as part of initial primary school teacher training, with there being twice as much outstanding PE taught in secondary schools as in primaries.
The watchdog also praised the achievements of the Schools Sports Partnership (SSP) programme, which the current government stopped funding for and called on the DfE to devise and implement a new national strategy for PE and school sport.
Moreover, it urged teachers to keep children physically active throughout PE lessons and to raise expectation levels of what pupils can achieve and provide them with more challenging activities to help them attain higher levels of performance.
In addition, Ofsted announced that it was commissioning a follow-up report into the best competitive school sport in the state sector and how it compares with provision by independent schools.
However, National Union of Teachers general secretary Christine Blower claimed that this was a "pointless" comparison, as state schools lack the funding, facilities and space available to their independent counterparts.
She claimed that all of Ofsted's criticisms of sport in schools were being addressed by the SSP programme, which saw specialist PE teachers being brought in to work at primary schools and called on the government to reinstate this initiative.
Posted by Alan Douglas