Nearly Half of Children ‘Leave School Without Basic Movement Skills’, Study Says
Posted by Dean Holden at August 24th, 2015
by Javier Espinoza, 24 June 2015
Nearly half of primary school pupils are leaving school without “basic movement skills” to engage in physical activity, teachers have claimed in a new survey.
Teachers also said more than one in three children dislike exercise by the time they leave primary school and believe 42 per cent of children don’t enjoy PE lessons.
The findings follow reports that just a tiny minority of parents are spotting obesity in their children and warnings that they are getting childhood obesity “terribly wrong”.
The findings also follow a push by the government to encourage schools to promote PE among students.
However, a survey of 400 primary school teachers revealed negative attitudes towards physical activity among primary school pupils still prevail.
The survey, by Virgin Active, the University of Bedfordshire and primary school teachers nationwide, revealed teachers believe 39 per cent of children across the UK leave primary school with a negative attitude towards being physically active.
Experts say primary school teachers play a crucial role in helping children develop physical literacy.
But a third of them lack confidence when it comes to teaching PE, while over a quarter said they don’t feel adequately qualified to teach the subject and more than half want more professional development opportunities for PE.
The vast majority of teachers, or 88 per cent, say they recognise PE is as important as the other subjects they teach.
Professor Margaret Whitehead, an academic on physical literacy, said: “PE lessons help shape a child’s first experiences of physical activities and their attitude towards leading an active lifestyle. It is crucial that these first experiences are positive, rewarding and enjoyable.
“We must do all we can to make sure teachers are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to deliver quality PE, helping all students to make progress on their physical literacy journey. We need to enable teachers to nurture a lifelong love of physical activity among future generations.”
To help tackle the issue, Virgin Active have launched Active Inspiration, a five year-long programme working with charities such as the Youth Sports trust and various educational partners.
Earlier this year, a study led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the UCL Institute of Child Health showed just one in 100 parents of obese children were able to accurately classify them on the spectrum between underweight and clinically obese.
Official figures show more than one third of children in England are now overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.
The findings also follow a push by the government to get children in schools to exercise more with more than £300 million handed out in the last two years to schools to promote PE.
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