Mark Johnson, PE and Sport Subject Advisor
This year National School Sports Week runs from 19 to 25 June. Its aim is to encourage all children in the UK to be active for at least 60 minutes a day, and in this blog I look at how you could join in.
Like the other PE and sport subject advisors at OCR, I’m passionate about my subject. It’s our involvement in sport from a young age that has led us to where we are now. We understand how lifelong habits can be formed during children’s formative years and that participation in regular sporting activities and exercise can have a positive impact on both physical and mental health. So we’re supportive of any initiatives that aim get more young people exercising, playing sport, and making positive long term lifestyle choices.
National School Sports Week was started by the children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust (YST) in 2008 to further promote participation and inclusion in school sport. Its main goal is to highlight the importance of sport at school and its positive impact on children’s physical and mental health, by having a designated week for school sports activities every year.
Following the disruption caused by the Covid pandemic, young people’s participation levels declined. Sport England’s latest Active Lives Children and Young People survey revealed that activity levels have now recovered to pre-pandemic levels. However only 47% of young people are meeting the guidelines recommended by the Chief Medical Officers. As a result there is still an obvious need to get more children and young people to return to exercising and playing sport.
To address this issue, National School Sports Week is back for 2023, and this year the YST want to make sure that all children in the UK are active for 60 minutes a day.
It is suggested that all children participate in physical activities for 30 minutes in school and a further 30 minutes outside of school each day, to reach the minimum daily recommendation.
For disabled young people, the Chief Medical Officers’ recommendation is for a minimum of 20 minutes of physical activity every day, including strength and balance activities three times a week.
The YST would like as many schools, families, individuals and partner organisations to join in by signing up to the Pledge to Play campaign. By doing this you will be committing to encouraging children and young people to ‘play for fun, play for 60’ – to be active for 60 minutes a day: 30 minutes in school and a further 30 minutes outside school.
Once you’ve pledged, you will have access to a range of supporting materials and resources to help young people achieve their active minutes. There are resources to suit schools, families and organisations and to suit all age ranges.
Do encourage your colleagues, friends and family to join the movement, and share your pledge on social media to help inspire others to take part, using the following tags:
We hope that this has inspired you to get involved and #PledgeToPlay as soon as possible.
Mark joined OCR as a PE and sport subject advisor in October 2018. He graduated from Staffordshire University with a BSc in Sports Studies, having previously completed a HND in Sports Science and Sports Injuries at Nottingham Trent University. Mark started his teaching career teaching PE at his old secondary school before lecturing Sports Studies and Sports Science at an FE College for nearly 15 years. Mark sees today the positive impact of sport in his own young sons, who share his passion for sport.