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Children to have greater opportunity to be active 60 minutes a day

Children will have a greater opportunity to access 60 minutes of daily sport and physical activity, whether that be in school, after school or during weekends and holidays, under new Government plans revealed today. 

The School Sport and Activity Action Plan, outlined by Education Secretary Damian Hinds, Sport Minister Mims Davies and Minister for Public Health, Seema Kennedy, will set out a range of new measures to strengthen the role of sport within a young person’s daily routine, explain how teachers and parents can play their part, and promote a joined-up approach to physical activity and mental wellbeing. 

It comes after the latest data from Sport England’s Active Lives Children and Young People survey showed that a third of children are currently doing fewer than 30 minutes of physical activity a day. 

Ofsted’s new Inspection Framework comes into effect from September 2019. As Amanda Spielman, HM Chief Inspector of Education, said last weekend: “Schools that offer children a broad, balanced education, including plenty of opportunities to get active during the school day and through extracurricular activities, will be rewarded under our new inspection regime.”

As part of the plan, the Government has committed to launch a series of regional pilots to trial innovative approaches to getting more young people active, particularly less active groups such as girls and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Schools and sports clubs will also work together to share their facilities and expertise, giving more pupils access to character-building competitive sport and volunteering opportunities. They will focus on ensuring boys and girls have an equal and coordinated offer of sport, competition and activity, including modern PE lessons and access to high-quality clubs and competitions after school and during weekends and holidays.  

The pilots will be joint-funded by the Department for Education and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport through Sport England, and are expected to run from September 2020. 

Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, said:

“As a parent I want my children to be happy and healthy. As Education Secretary, I want young people to leave school prepared for adult life. Sport can help with both – it not only keeps pupils fit and healthy but helps them grow in confidence and learn vital skills, such as teamwork and recovering from life’s inevitable setbacks.

“My ambition is for every pupil to have the chance to find a sport they love, setting them up to lead healthy, active lives and equipping them with the skills to reach their full potential, both inside and outside the classroom.”

Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Mims Davies, said:

“Sport has such an incredible power to have a hugely positive impact on children’s lives. It increases their physical and mental wellbeing, helps them achieve at school and teaches important life skills such as working as a team, developing the confidence to try new things and taking leadership.

“I urge schools to put sport and physical activity at the heart of every school day, creating a cultural shift where it becomes routine in the daily lives of young people. 

“Our plan will help shift the dial in school sport – making lessons more fun and engaging and vitally increasing the number of out of school clubs so that more young people get and stay active.”

The Department for Education has also committed £2.5 million in 2019-20 to deliver extra training for PE teachers, help schools open up their facilities at weekends and during the holidays, and expand sports volunteering programmes to give more young people the opportunity to become sports leaders and coaches. 

Sport England will invest an additional £2 million to create 400 new after-school ‘satellite clubs’ to get more young people in disadvantaged areas active, as well as additional funding to better coordinate sport programmes and competitions for young people.

The plan will build on the £1 billion that the Government has invested since 2013 to improve sport in primary schools through the PE and Sport Premium. This funding has already helped schools give more choice to their pupils – Bolton on Swale Primary School in North Yorkshire asked pupils what activities they wanted to try and used its PE and Sport Premium to offer canoeing, volleyball, climbing and table tennis. Sport England is also investing £194 million in children and young people between 2016 and 2021.

New research published tomorrow (15 July) by the Department for Education found that nine out of ten primary teachers surveyed thought the confidence, knowledge or skills of all staff in teaching PE had increased since the PE and Sport Premium was doubled in 2017. Eight out of ten thought that the proportion of pupils doing 30 minutes of exercise a day in school had increased, while the same proportion said their pupils had more competitive sport opportunities.

Public Health Minister, Seema Kennedy, said:

“Making exercise both fun and accessible to all children is a key part of healthy development.

“Obesity is on the rise, and schools have a vital role in achieving our ambition to halve childhood obesity by 2030. The sugar tax is already funding school sports across the country and we are encouraging all primary schools to get their pupils active for a mile a day as part of our world-leading childhood obesity plan.

“This pledge is a vital step in making sure that our children grow up healthy, active and happy. The School Sport and Activity Action Plan will build on these successes, increasing access to sport and activity for every child so they can reap all the health benefits this brings.”

CEO of Sport England, Tim Hollingsworth, said:

“This year we conducted the biggest piece of research ever into children’s activity and found that physically literate children are happier, more resilient and trusting of other youngsters. We also found that enjoyment is the biggest single factor that motivates children to be active above competence or knowing it’s good for them.

“We are delighted to be working at the heart of the new School Sport and Activity Action plan to embed those learnings, as well as making it easier for schools to offer more activities during the school day and after lessons not least through creating another 400 new Satellite Clubs and a This Girl Can workout resource for teenage girls.

“Every child has the right to be active and find an activity they love. And the School Sport and Activity Action Plan is a great step forward.”

The Government and Sport England will work with a range of sporting bodies including the Football Association, Premier League, England and Wales Cricket Board and the Rugby Football Union to ensure that their clubs and programmes can reach even more children, encouraging them to get active by focusing on fun, enjoyment and increasing confidence.

All schools will be urged to recognise how physical literacy and high-quality, modern PE lessons can benefit other aspects of school life and improve pupils’ behaviour, wellbeing and attainment. They will also be encouraged to use sports leaders and mentoring schemes to ensure pupils have a say in developing their schools’ sports offer. Schools will be encouraged to offer a range of activities that appeal to young people from different backgrounds, including girls and less active groups.

Drawing upon the successful This Girl Can campaign, which has inspired over 3.9 million women and girls to take steps to get active, Sport England will also provide £1 million to develop a digital resource for girls. This will include a new Netflix-style library of workout videos that can be used in schools and PE lessons.

By making sport and exercise an integral part of pupils’ daily routine, the School Sport and Activity Action Plan will aim to increase the amount of time children spend being active, boosting their physical health, mental wellbeing, character and resilience. 

The Chief Medical Officers’ guidance on daily physical activity levels sets out that children should do at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Schools should ensure all pupils have access to 30 minutes of physical activity every day, which are currently delivered through PE lessons and lunchtime sports clubs as well as innovative activities such as The Daily Mile, and building in activity to classroom lessons, with 30 minutes also delivered outside the school day. 

More detail on the actions in the plan will be published later this year. 


The School Sport and Activity Action Plan is a joint initiative from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care.

The plan is being informed by the views of more than 130,000 children and teachers, insight gathered through the Active Lives Children survey. It is being developed in consultation with Sport England and experts from Youth Sport Trust and the Association for Physical Education, as well as leading sports organisation like Active Partnerships, the Sport and Recreation Alliance and ukactive. 

In her inaugural speech at UK Sport’s Future Funding Launch in February 2019, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society called for coordinated action by providers, sports, National Governing Bodies and schools to get children active, maximise the use of facilities (including opening up more facilities owned by schools) and to build upon the Sport England Families Fund which has committed up to £40 million pounds for families with children to be active together, and for physical literacy to be a priority for schools.

Sport England’s £2 million funding for satellite clubs will build on the £34 million (between 2017-21) invested over 2017-21, creating 400 new clubs to get more young people in disadvantaged areas active. The clubs, which target 14 to 19-year-olds, aim to bridge the gap between school, college and community sport. There are over 6,500 active clubs in England, which have helped more than half a million young people to get active.

A proportion of the £2.5 million funding provided by the Department for Education will include increasing the investment in Sport England’s Volunteer Leaders and Coaches programme, which last year helped more than 5,000 young people get involved in volunteering.

The cross-government commitment to sport and physical activity will be supported by compulsory health education being introduced from 2020 in all state-funded schools, ensuring that children are taught from an early age how valuable an active lifestyle is to their physical and mental wellbeing.

The Government’s world-leading childhood obesity plan set the bold ambition to halve childhood obesity by 2030 and significantly reduce the gap in obesity between children from the most and least deprived areas.

We have seen some important successes since the publication of the first chapter of the plan in 2016, with over half of all drinks in scope of the soft drinks industry levy being reformulated, the equivalent of removing 45 million kg of sugar every year.

In England, revenue from the soft drinks industry levy is being invested in improving child health and wellbeing, including doubling the primary PE and sport premium to £320 million a year from the 2017-18 academic year and £100million in 2018-19 for healthy pupils capital fund, up to £26million in breakfast clubs over three years, and £22 million in an Essential Life Skills programme.

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