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Physical activity 'should play a greater role in classroom learning'

20/10/2017 Joanna

MPs are calling for physical activity and exercise to play a greater role in day-to-day classroom activities in order to improve children's health and wellbeing.

A report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for a Fit and Healthy Childhood has examined current trends in children's health and wellbeing and made a number of recommendations on how schools could be doing more to encourage kids to get active.

With childhood obesity on the rise, concerns are emerging over the long-term impact that behaviours established during early years and primary schooling can have on a child's habits and general health.

As such, the cross-party group has called for a national review of the concept of school readiness to be carried out to take into account children's physical capabilities, as well as for physical activity to be brought into the classroom as a part of traditional learning.

Under the group's recommendations, Ofsted would play a proactive role in challenging the ineffective delivery of national frameworks that endorses outdoor play and learning, while the Department for Education would carry out a review of PE requirements in the key stage 1 curriculum.

Meanwhile, all teaching staff, including headteachers, would receive a minimum of 20 hours of training on enabling and delivering playtime learning, to be updated every five years. A particular focus would be placed on ensuring children with disabilities do not face any unnecessary barriers to getting enough exercise.

The overall aim would be to cultivate a culture in which physical activity is seen as an integral part of the overall curriculum, with regular assessments taking place every few years to make sure children are developing the right way.

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