To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the role participation in sports at school can play in tackling obesity.
The government firmly believes in the importance of physical education (PE), sport and extra-curricular activities to teach children the importance of physical activity to improve their physical and mental health as well as their overall wellbeing. The government’s Childhood Obesity Plan (COP) highlights the contribution that schools can make, including through PE and sport.
Since 2013, the government has invested over £1 billion of ring-fenced funding through the primary PE and sport premium to improve PE, sport, physical activity and extra-curricular activities for all pupils in England. We encourage schools to use this funding to support their least active pupils to achieve the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of 60 minutes of physical activity each day, of which 30 minutes should be during the school day. Under the COP chapter 2 update, the government is promoting a national ambition for every primary school in England to embrace an active mile, such as the ‘daily mile’, as a fun, inclusive and engaging way for all pupils to develop healthy exercise habits from a young age. Schools have the freedom to use the funding to determine which activities will improve participation, especially for their least active pupils.
The government has also utilised £100 million from the soft drinks industry levy through the healthy pupils capital fund in England to improve pupil access to facilities for physical activity, healthy eating, mental health and wellbeing, and medical conditions.
The ‘Active lives: children & young people’ survey published its baseline findings in December 2018. The survey provides a valuable insight on how children in both primary and secondary schools engage in sport and physical activity: https://www.sportengland.org/media/13698/active-lives-children-survey-academic-year-17-18.pdf.