PE and school sport for health – afPE summary
The Association for Physical Education (afPE) has updated their Health Position Paper which outlines the crucial role of physical education (PE) in public health and the promotion of physical activity.
This paper introduces physical activity for health guidelines and draws on BHFNC’s resourceInterpreting the physical activity guidelines for children and young peopleto explore how professionals working with children and young people can implement strategies to help children achieve the guidelines.
- PE is defined as planned and progressive learning in the school curriculum for all children while school sport which takes place beyond the curriculum.
- PE is important due to the physical learning context it provides for each and every child.
- High quality PE provides opportunities for children to be physically active. This is associated with several immediate health benefits and reduces the risk of developing some chronic diseases in later life.
- When high quality PE is delivered, children receive the opportunity to learn and develop movement skills which prepares them to be active in later life.
- PE and school sport can contribute to addressing the childhood obesity epidemic by promoting active lifestyles to help children maintain a healthy weight. Overweight and obese children can gain health benefits from physical activity even if their weight does not change and a focus should be placed on ensuring PE opportunities are available for all children regardless of their size.
- Children should be provided with additional opportunities to be active during the school day by taking a whole school approach.
- The governments physical activity target for schools recommends five hours a week. Although this is short of the seven hours recommended in the public health guidelines, the high quality experiences of PE and school sport should serve to encourage children to take up additional activities during childhood and in later life.
- afPE recognises that any form of health, fitness or physical activity testing should be positive, meaningful, relevant and developmentally appropriate as part of a programme to promote a healthy, active lifestyle.
- afPE warns that fitness test results should be interpreted with caution due to limitations in the validity, reliability and accuracy of some fitness tests. Results can be influenced by maturation levels, genetic potential, skill at taking the test, motivation and the surrounding environment and do not necessarily accurately reflect a child’s activity levels.
- Fitness testing has a place in the curriculum if it addresses these limitations and promotes a positive, educational experience for all learners and contributed to the promotion of healthy, active lifestyles.
- afPE favours the monitoring of physical activity levels in their totality to determine which pupils are/aren’t meeting physical activity for health guidelines.