Date: 21 October 2016
The Association of Play Industries (API) supports the call for a radical shake-up of physical activity in UK schools, made by the All Party Parliamentary Group for a Fit and Healthy Childhood in its new report on PE this week.
The API campaigns for policy recognition of the value of play, and lends particular support to the group’s recommendations that physical activity and play be funded and prioritised in equal measure to sport and PE within schools.
API Chair Mark Hardy says: “The current School Sport & PE Premium is too narrow and should be evolved into a more impactful Physical Activity Premium. This would provide the financial support head teachers need to take a holistic approach. By embedding physical activity in every aspect of school culture, with teaching staff and senior management as role models, healthy habits and routines become the norm.”
The APPG, which is co-chaired by Baroness Floella Benjamin, urges funding from the soft drinks levy for physical activity provision that extends beyond school hours, in order to counter periods of physical inactivity during school holidays. The API argues this step doesn’t go far enough.
Mark Hardy: “We want to see further levies on food and drink companies producing high sugar, salt and saturated fat products, particularly those targeted at children. There is absolutely no excuse. Companies that contribute to the obesity crisis should be forced to fund the solutions. The revenues raised could provide every local community with high quality facilities for physical activity – a small cost compared to the significant benefits to child health and wellbeing, not to mention the wider social and economic benefits they would bring.”
Other recommendations made by the APPG include:
- A cross-department Cabinet Minister for Children to drive child-focused policy.
- A national PE Taskforce to devise and implement a new PE Curriculum, with a strong emphasis on personalisation.
- Broader provision of physical activity for girls, specifically beyond the confines of competitive sport.
- Improvements to training and CPD for teachers, playtime supervisors and the early years workforce.
- Better opportunities for children with disabilities to be physically active.
- Every school to appoint a dedicated team with responsibility for physical activity across every aspect of school life.
- An overhaul of physical activity provision in early years settings, with new quality guidelines, a review of Ofsted inspection requirements and the appointment of a physical activity co-ordinator in every setting.
In recent research by the API, more than six in ten (61.4%) parents and families of school-aged children felt that schools should be given more support for better facilities and equipment for play and physical activity.
Mark Hardy: “Increased physical activity levels are directly linked to greater concentration and academic attainment, yet many schools still have little or no suitable outdoor space for children to be active. In academies and free schools, there is no requirement to provide outdoor space at all.”
The API is an active member of the APPG and has contributed recommendations to its reports on play, PE and the national obesity strategy.
For further information about the Association of Play Industries, contact: Deborah Holt, API Association Manager, tel: 024 7641 4999 or email email@example.com
API Media Contact: Julie Parmenter, Elephant Creative, T: 01981 251820 / 07775 715936
Notes to editors:
The Association of Play Industries (API) www.api-play.org is the lead trade body within the play sector and campaigns at the highest levels for policy recognition for play. Its members are leading manufacturers, installers, designers and distributors of both outdoor and indoor play equipment and safety surfacing. Founded in 1984, the API currently has 65 members.
Follow us on Twitter: @apiplay
The API operates under the umbrella of the Federation of Sports and Play Associations (FSPA), the national trade body responsible for representing 14 Associations in the UK’s sport and play industries. www.sportsandplay.com