Author - Francesca Laughton

Her Majesty, the Queen – an inspiration to us all

The nation, indeed the world, has spent the last couple of weeks mourning the loss of Queen Elizabeth II. She was the longest-serving British monarch, reigning for more than 70 years, a feat that is unlikely to be surpassed by any future monarch in either our lifetime or that of the next generation.

Princess Elizabeth became Queen in 1952, far earlier than anyone had anticipated at the time. Taking on the role of head of the monarchy at such a young age would have been daunting for anybody, but the young Queen eased into the job far better than anyone could have expected. Over the intervening years before her sad death on 8th September 2022, she became a leading light, a constant, the voice of reason, compassion and understanding for so many.

 

So, who was Her Majesty the Queen, and how did she inspire people, particularly young children and adults? What did she enjoy most away from her formal duties? What lessons can we, and should we, learn from this greatest of monarchs?

 

Who was Queen Elizabeth II?

 

Queen Elizabeth II wasn’t just monarch of the UK; she was also queen and head of state of 15 Commonwealth countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Fiji. She also held two religious titles – Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Her faith was extremely strong, and she took this role very seriously, probably more so than many of the UK’s former kings and queens.

 

Throughout her reign, she saw many changes across the world; economic, social and technological. Who would have thought that decades into her reign, we would be witnessing royal podcasts? But while she was a figurehead for the country and Commonwealth and met many world leaders, some notable and some not as notable, as well as countless celebrities, she continued to lead and inspire generations of young and old people. She was admired, respected and loved by many globally.

 

An inspiration to many

 

If we consider the definition of inspiration – “being mentally stimulated to do or feel something” – it doesn’t really give us a full picture of how much the Queen inspired people. But if we think about how a person can give us the inspiration to create and achieve something, to give us the confidence and determination to change direction for the better, or the ideas and drive to solve a problem, then we have a better understanding of just how inspirational the Queen was.

 

With just a few words of kindness and an imperious interest in what you were doing or trying to achieve or had achieved, she put you at your ease. She was intelligent, and her extent of knowledge across multiple topics was rarely matched. If we think back to the beginning of the Covid pandemic, her short address inspired the nation to be stoic, steadfast and patient. She united people in a common battle for the good, just as she had during World War II.

 

It was quite usual for people to lack confidence and be in awe of the Queen before meeting her, but with an encouraging smile and words, she put you at ease. Her love of horses and horse racing knew no bounds – you can count on one hand the number of times she missed the Derby or Royal Ascot in her seven decades of reign. But that wasn’t the only sport and sporting people she inspired.

 

Becoming Head of the Commonwealth in 1952, her unwavering support of the Commonwealth Games was inspiring. Many athletes from many countries will remember how she took an immense interest in every sport and supported not just the successful athletes but those coming up through the ranks.

 

Who can forget her words as she hailed the Lionesses’ historic Euro 2022 victory as “an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations”. Indeed, generations of fans, young and old, boys and girls, were inspired by their win, which, when supported and championed by the Queen, added more depth and power to their achievement. So many young people and children not only felt more confident to play a game they loved but empowered, too.

 

Initiatives, like the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Activity Fund, are specifically set up to bring communities together through sport and activity and boost opportunities for everyone at every level in sport. She was patron of the Jockey Club, the FIA, the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, Rugby Union, the All England Club and the British Olympic Association. In fact, she was patron of more than 400 organisations, many of which were sports and recreational-based. She regularly maintained contact and visited them to follow and support the organisations, inspiring the younger generation to work hard and follow in the footsteps of their heroes.

 

Lessons to be learned from the Queen

 

For children and young adults, indeed for many people, there are so many lessons to be learned from the Queen; duty, loyalty, commitment, leadership, dedication, honesty, calm, support, friendliness, kindness and more. She supported over 600 charities, and she was renowned for the way she cared about children, the elderly and home-grown causes.

 

She showed immense strength and resilience through good and hard times, and she was always a good listener. As much as duty was important, her family was also as important. She wasn’t just a monarch; she was also a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, hosting annual weekends and holidays in Balmoral and Sandringham that were filled with laughter.

 

Her love and devotion to her family, her subjects of all ages, young and old, her nation, the Commonwealth and her duty to serve were and will be unmatched. As we mourn her passing, our thoughts are with those she’s left behind in their sorrow.

 

Sports for Schools is a social enterprise that works with top athletes from around the UK and Northern Ireland, visiting primary schools to inspire and encourage kids of all abilities, and teachers, to be more active. Our mission is to Activate, Educate, Motivate and Innovate schools and parents through a series of events and workshops.  If you’d like your school or parents to get active, get in touch with us and see how we could help you inspire our next generation.

 

WIN 40 amazing sporting prizes!

Sports for Schools are thrilled to have been selected as one of six charities being supported by the Sporting Chance Prize Draw. It’s a fantastic competition with 40 amazing sporting prizes that YOU could be in with a chance of winning. It’s just £10 to enter and the winners will be announced on the 31st March.

Prizes include:

Two places for a day with Team GB at the Olympics (Tokyo 2021 or Paris 2024)

A basketball masterclass with Olympian Peter Bakare

A gymnastics masterclass with Olympian Kristian Thomas

A swimming masterclass with Olympians Amy Smith & Joe Roebuck

A sprinting masterclass with International Sprinter Frederick Afrifa

Two places for a Ski Weekend in Salzburg

And many, many more!

Thanks to the generosity of the Sporting Chance Prize Draw team, 100% of the funds donated will go straight to the six participating charities, including Sports for Schools. We intend to use the money to help to support our mission to visit as many schools as possible to inspire children to be more physically active.

Enter the draw here.

Thank you! You’ve been amazing.

2020 has been a testing year for many of us, and no one’s hardships outweigh anyone else’s. However, through the home workouts, takeaways, DIY, and baked goods, there has been a driving force keeping the nation going.

We’re not talking about NHS workers – though they have been incredible and deserve every applaud they got those months ago – but we’re talking about the teachers, schools, and support staff who have endured the changes we’ve all had to face in an environment making it difficult to do so.

You’ve had to bubble up with your classes.

You’ve had to cover staff sicknesses.

You’ve had to teach both those physically in front of you and those who couldn’t be.

You’ve had to take on the pressures of social distancing in a class full of children who are still learning and struggling to understand why it’s so important.

You’ve had to risk your own health to ensure our kids still have a future.

You are so much more than childcare. You are so much more than teachers, support staff, administration – you are the unsung heroes of 2020. Through your drive and commitment to continue providing an education for children across the nation, you have helped shaped their futures.

We want to say THANK YOU to all schools out there. To all teachers, support staff, and school administration – you absolutely deserve some credit. Although things may be tough right now, we want you to know how fantastic of a job you are doing. You’ve been great!

As our way of saying thank you, we want to offer you a FREE target throw pack (worth £250) when you book an athlete event with us before Christmas. ALL new Spring term bookings will receive this pack once their event has taken place as our way of saying thanks to you. You deserve it.

From all of us here at Sports for Schools, keep doing what you are doing. You’re doing great!

 

 

5 ways that athletes change children’s lives for the better

For many children, their most important role models are their parents and caregivers. However, children look up to a variety of role models to help shape how they behave.

Having a role model helps children to become the person they want to be and inspires them to make a difference. Choosing wisely means that they will be positively influenced and encouraged to be the best person possible not only through their childhood but also into their adult life.

  1. Athletes are fantastic role models

Athletes are able to show the children the power of hard work, perseverance and resilience in a very unique and influential way. Throughout an athletes career, they experience tremendous highs and heart-breaking lows and sharing these encounters with the children helps them to see that failure is inevitable but having the grit and determination to bounce back is what counts.

  1. Physical activity builds the brain

Physical activity is incredibly important to the development, self-esteem and health of primary school children. Unfortunately, 90% of children across the country aren’t getting enough exercise every week. As well as leading to an increase in childhood obesity, a lack of exercise makes it harder for kids to concentrate and can cause pupils to become less confident.

By inviting an athlete into school, the children will see first-hand just how fun and enjoyable physical activity really is. And teachers will find concentration & behaviour has improved as they return to their classrooms!

  1. Athletes are inspirational even for “non-sporty” children

It’s easy to imagine that athletes will only help to inspire and motivate the children that are already physically active and interested in sport. It’s incredible how the athlete can connect with ALL of the children. By the end of the fitness circuit every child will be smiling and trying their best, whether they are naturally sporty or not. The circuits are all about simply trying your best.

The messages that the athletes give to the children are also brilliant to any subject at school, any activity or any life decision. Here are just 3 athlete mottos:

  • “Be the best version of you” – Darren Harris, Paralympic Blind Footballer
  • “Dream big!” – Kristian Thomas, Olympic Gymnast
  • “Say yes and deliver.” – Peter Bakare, Olympic Volleyball Player
  1. Raise funds for your school

Not only does inviting an athlete into school truly inspire the children, it can also help to raise money to improve physical activity at school and create a lasting legacy. Once the children have been inspired by the athlete, they are often enthused to try new activities. Having some new sports equipment can be a great way to promote different activities at school and maintain the momentum. Sports for Schools have raised over £4.5 million pounds for PE equipment to date, and last year, 70% of schools were left with an anything from £300 to £5,000 to spend!

  1. Create a memory to last a lifetime

It’s amazing how the children will forever remember the day that an athlete came to visit school. Even now when we speak to teachers, they remember the day that Kriss Akabusi or another household athlete name came to their school and inspired them. Many of the messages that the athletes give are similar to those that are taught in schools everyday but the power of an athlete delivering it is exceptionally powerful.

“An experience the children will remember for years to come, very inspiring!

Frederick and his assistant were brilliant with the children. They loved the exercises it was so good seeing them enjoying the physical activity. Even those children who often find this difficult were participating and enjoying it. The assembly was also extremely inspiring for the children as Frederick was very clear and passionate about moving forward and continue to put effort in even when it feels as though the tide is against you. Very impressed!”

If you want to get the kids at your school inspired and find them an incredible role model to look up to, take a look round our site today or get in touch with a member of our team on 01223 792200.

 

6 ways in which Athletes can inspire your school as we exit lockdown

Returning to school is vital for children’s education and for their wellbeing, while the risk to children themselves of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is very low.

In numbers, 2 deaths from COVID-19 have been recorded across England and Wales out of 10.7 million under 15s, so that’s a chance of 1 in 5.3 million; that means COVID-19 is 7 times less risky for children than the 2017-18 seasonal flu.

In the meantime, there are so many negative health impacts of being out of school. So, for the vast majority of children, the benefits of being back in school far outweigh the very low risk from COVID-19.

Whilst children seem to be largely immune from the virus, they are not immune from the broader impacts on our society and economy. It is even more important now to lift and inspire children to achieve their potential and be the best they can be.

  1. Athletes are fantastic role models

Athletes are able to show the children the power of hard work, perseverance, grit and resilience in a very unique and influential way. Sports for Schools athletes are all of very high calibre: They’ve all represented their country at one of the major games (Olympics/Paralympics, World Champs, European Champs, Commonwealth Games or Invictus Games).

The whole school will take part in a fun fitness circuit led by the athlete and a sportivater (this can easily be done in bubbles with no equipment required).

The athlete will then deliver motivational talks in mini assemblies (or classroom visits if preferred). They don’t just talk about competing; they explain the challenges they have faced, and deliver highly motivating messages about trying your best, working hard, and leading a healthy life.

  1. Events can take place outside

Children LOVE being outside and there are many health benefits from being outside. The risk of transmission is also considerably lower outdoors and lack of space is much less of an issue.

I know what you’re thinking…what about the weather?! But how many times does it actually rain or snow so much that you can’t be outside? Think back to the past 4 weeks of going to work – how often did you actually get wet? I imagine the answer is less than you first thought.

  1. No equipment is necessary

The beauty of the fitness circuit, is that absolutely no equipment is needed which can help considerably with cleaning procedures. The Athlete and sportivater will simply use some tape (that they will bring!) to separate the exercise stations.

  1. Online sponsorship

Since lockdown, we’ve all discovered there’s a digital solution for just about everything these days; running fundraising events is no exception. More digital means less social contact, so encourage the parents to set up an online fundraising page where they can easily share the page with friends and family and learn more about the visiting athlete.

  1. Self-certification

Government guidance will be followed throughout to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Athletes and sportivaters will also provide self-certification on arrival (along with their DBS and ID as always) and will practice good hygiene with regular hand sanitation to reduce any risk.

  1. Virtual events

If you’re still not sure, then how about an ONLINE event?  The great news is that the whole school can take part (wherever they are, whether in school or at home!). All you need is a mobile device or computer.

The athlete will deliver a fun fitness circuit, give a brief inspirational talk, and host Q&A all ONLINE. The event is carefully moderated, and as always with children, we’ve found the Q&A to be the best!

 

Here’s some recent feedback from a school who hosted a virtual event during lockdown:

“With everything going on at the moment and the anxiety the children are feeling, this was such a great thing for the children to experience, there was a real buzz after the event. 

Overall, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to do another event like that again. It was engaging, educational, interesting and for the pupils to have Olympians training them will truly inspire them.” (Pentland Primary School)

If you want to get the kids at your school inspired and motivated to be more active, take a look round our site today or get in touch with a member of our team on 01223 792200.

 

CEO Insights: Part 1 – Education & schools – a system in need of radical change

The covid-19 pandemic has exposed the way in which incrementalism and focus on exam results has driven out initiative and leadership from the system. We all know that it’s only when things get tough & when there are surprises that anyone or anything is really tested, and weaknesses identified.

All systems are good and bad
The human instinct, when thinking about planning for the future is to look back to last year, and then extrapolate a plan. This is the essence of incrementalism. Though it has a place, it’s inherently a system that sets in stone some essential elements of itself, which is a recipe for eventual self-destruction. It’s now brought us to an ever-increasing tightening of the Ofsted noose around schools, not because Ofsted are not doing their job (they are implementing the law), but because each little step has seemed sensible at the time. Max Weber, the first sociologist to study bureaucracy, saw it both positively as an efficient means of organising society, but also as a force that destroys individual freedom (both behaviour and thought).

By squeezing out individual thought, diversity and innovation are stifled. Free thinking ideas never see the light of day, as the pressure to standardise reduces the very diversity on which progress is based. The system no longer has the capacity to adapt to technology & societal changes. Failure is no longer tolerated, and we end up with one monstrous top down system disconnected from the reality experienced by those very people the system is expected to serve.

Share paintbrushes but not pencils
This is the process that has led us to a situation in which central government in the form of the Department for Education (DfE) felt the need to produce a 156 page document to explain to schools how they should go about re-opening in September 2020. It is surely not the role of the DfE to tell a head teacher that pencils may not be shared between pupils, but paintbrushes may indeed be shared, in order to reduce the risk of transmission of the coronavirus. This is the moment we need to step back and realise that our system needs change. The bureaucracy is self-destructing, and children are the victims, today and for the rest of their lives.

LEAs had their weaknesses and were clearly in need of change. MATs have been suggested as a solution, but once again this is an example of tinkering – moving the administration around does not change the actual product or service that is delivered (whether by a school, a company or an individual). The bureaucratic noose is the idea that a single national curriculum policed by a single body is a good idea. It’s not. We know that monopolies are bad, we know that the great 20th century experiment with communism failed. So too any single approach is bound to fail eventually. People change, the needs change, society changes, technology advances, but the bureaucracy just keeps on squeezing and tinkering incrementally.

Our system has driven out independent leadership by making schools subservient to central government diktat, which has focused on metrics that measure a narrow range of exam skills. Those metrics serve the politicians, but not the people for whom they are designed. So we now have learning objectives, rather than education. Schools are driven to a dependency culture, and headteachers are no longer measured by their ability to educate children, but by ensuring that the system is satisfied with exam results (and the implementation of audit trails that confirm adherence to risk reduction and other safety measures). Failure will not be tolerated!
To be clear, this is not a question of the people in the system – the teachers, the education professionals, those working to prepare our children for life. The education profession is staffed by highly committed people who are invariably motivated and dedicated to doing a great job – but they are constrained by the system. They are stuck in their little paddling boat on a creek when they need to get out onto the high sea to get the freedom they need.

Those who have seen how independent schools switched seamlessly to teaching online as lockdown bolted us indoors will know what independence can do. Within 2 weeks they had learnt how to deliver the full curriculum online and spent the Easter holidays making adaptations from their learnings (note I didn’t say failures). They then delivered a full term of education to their pupils and students. Everything from art, to maths to PE and sports.

PE and Sports during lockdown?
Yes, as we know from Joe Wicks and others, keeping physically active is entirely possible in lockdown. When I asked a teachers and heads about continuing to deliver their curriculum online, the best response I had was, “I’d not thought we could do that, we’ve not had any guidance”, and the worst was, “but some of my students don’t have computers or internet access”.
Those same educators also told me proudly that the school had a large number (I forget exactly the number) of computers in school – presumably not being used. Could these, maybe, just maybe, have been sent home with those children who did not have access to a computer, with a USB SIM card to give them internet access? Central government guidelines were not produced for that particular idea, so those stuck in the system would naturally prefer to avoid taking any unnecessary risks.

So what’s the answer?
In my next blog I’ll examine ideas for how the system could be changed. Ideas are cheap; the work in identifying things that actually work in practice. Questions we might ask are,

• “Why do we need a national curriculum when exams are the test?” Surely it’s the (expert) teacher who is best able figure out the curriculum for their particular pupils and local culture & needs so that pupils are ready for the test.

• “Why do we need GCSEs? When O-levels were invented, 93% of students left school at 16. Now 93% stay on in education. So what’s the point?”

• “How are exam results compatible with creating a “growth mindset”? The very essence of a growth mindset is focus on effort and the process, not the outcome. Yet we measure outcome.

• “What are the alternatives to a Victorian classroom setting that will facilitate and speed up education and learning?”. We know physical activity is essential to building a well balanced brain, yet 80% of children don’t do the minimum to stave off inactivity related diseases.

• “How might we allow real diversity in schools and between schools?”. This means accepting different metrics for success. We know that setting minimum standards has a tendency to reduce overall standards, so what’s the alternative?

The answers are available. Let’s explore them, and redesign the system before it breaks us.

How to…keep busy whilst you’re in lockdown!

We are all in this together and, as we’ve all been told to stay at home, this is an excellent opportunity to learn some new skills to keep busy.

For many of us, uncertainty is lingering. We don’t know how long this will last. Time spent in isolation could lead to mental health problems, which is why it is so important to try your best to keep busy. Many of us have been given an opportunity to rest, so what is the best use of our time?

There are a number of things you could try, but whether it’s occupying just yourself or your loved ones too, here are a few ideas:

  1. Learn a new skill! Whether it be sign language, Makaton, French, German, crafting, or anything you can think of – we have an opportunity to invest our time into something you might have always wanted to do!
  2. Redecorate – have you been putting something off because you didn’t have the time? Painting the bedroom? Moving the furniture around? Cleaning the garage? Well, here’s your chance. Redecorating could give you a sense of achievement – it’s always nice to have a fresh start!
  3. Exercise – don’t let your old fitness DVD gather dust anymore! You have 24 hours in a day, let’s find some time to exercise! There are plenty of workouts you can find online, including Joe Wick’s daily 9am workout on his channel! Remember, you are allowed to go outside for one form of exercise a day, so you could even take up jogging or cycling.
  4. Cook from scratch – no more need for convenience meals. We have the time to create beautiful meals from scratch! Have you ever made your own bread? Your own pizza dough? Your own pasta? (Come to think of it, there is a shortage of pasta so this one might be worth a go…) Let’s get cooking!

Count your blessings. These are tough times for many of us, but remember to be kind to each other and spend time with your loved ones (if they’re in your household, of course!) If you’re fit and healthy you might like to consider volunteering for the NHS in these testing times – but keep safe and stay sane!

5 top tips: Keep your children busy during coronavirus school closures

We’re in the midst of very uncertain times at the moment, with social distancing becoming the utmost of priorities – to the point where school closures are in place (although, not for everyone!).

We’re all in a state of limbo, not knowing how long this will last, or what to do in the meantime. If you’re a parent trying to keep your child busy, or a teacher trying to work out what to do with the time you have with a limited amount of children, why not try some of the following ideas?

  1. Children are used to a routine at school! Why not try and follow this as much as you can? Allow for a morning break time and lunchtime, and try use different slots to allow for children to learn different skills. It might be school work, exercise, chores or free play – children thrive off routine and it can help with a sense of normality.
  • Twinkl are offering one month FREE access to their Ultimate Packages. Enter the code ‘PARENTSTWINKLHELPS’. Try searching ‘KS1 Maths’ or ‘KS2 Science’. Want to organise a whole topic? Try searching ‘Fire of London’, ‘Ancient Greece’ or ‘Olympic Games’! *TOP TIP* Search ‘School Closure Resources Pack’ for some great ideas.
  • Allow children to go outside for breaks and lunch times. Exercise is important too!
  • Want to plan a PE lesson? You could set up your own fitness circuit outside, with a different exercise on each station! Try one minute of jogging on the spot, star jumps, high knees, or hopping!

2.  Social distancing doesn’t mean children can’t go outside. Why not ask children to design their own bug/hedgehog hotel? You could even ask them to search in the garden for Minibeasts! Children can be super inventive, so see what they come up with – whether it’s a drawing, or a shelter made from sticks!

3. Keep your kids active! – Joe Wicks (aka ‘The Body Coach’) has announced that each day (Monday-Friday) he will host a live workout on his Youtube channel called ‘PE with Joe’. Just visit his channel from 9am – it’s a workout specifically designed for kids!

4. Have any unfinished puzzles? It’s the perfect time to crack them out! Puzzles require lots of critical thinking and brain power!

5. Get creative! Try supervised Facetime play dates with friends, painting, colouring, or even gardening! You could try baking healthy treats for your children to have towards their daily snacks! Have you ever tried making homemade Fruit Winders? They’re much lower in sugar, and much tastier!

Remember, we’re all in this together and we can make sure we are doing everything to limit the spread of COVID-19. It can be extremely difficult for young children who don’t understand what is going on, so do your best to keep everything as normal as you can for them – but with extra hand-washing!

Have any of your own ideas? Comment below or tag us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram – we’d love to share them!

Does enjoyment of PE lessons affect exercise as an adult?

It’s a well-known fact that regular exercise helps us to stay fit and healthy. Maintaining a balanced weight, and getting your heart rate up a few times a week, helps to prevent lifestyle-related diseases like type II diabetes, heart disease, stroke and obesity. Cardiovascular exercise also boosts the endorphins in our brains, something that can ease the symptoms of depression and help with mental health issues.

However, even though most of us are aware of the many health benefits of regular exercise, a lot of adults in the UK are still reluctant to get out and get active. According to figures published by The Independent, one in three Brits doesn’t get enough exercise. While in some cases, this could be down to a lack of time, a lack of energy or illness, a lot of these people might be avoiding exercise because of bad childhood memories. Keep reading to find out more.

The impact of PE lessons

All childhood experiences have an impact on the people we become as adults, and PE lessons are no different. According to recent research, a negative experience in school PE lessons can have a lifelong impact, with those who struggled with games at school a lot less likely to be active as adults.

The research showed that people who were regularly picked last in PE are more likely to live sedentary lives when they get older. Those who struggled in team sports and found physical challenges difficult were also a lot less likely to be fit and active as adults.

Many of those who took part in the research reported finding these early experiences of exercise humiliating and difficult. As a result, they began to associate physical activities with negative emotions, something that has prevented or discouraged many from getting involved in sport and activity as adults.

On the other hand, people who responded to the survey saying they had positive experiences of PE at school are a lot more likely to be fit and healthy later in life. People who didn’t feel singled out and who got positive recognition from their teachers associated exercise with fun and enjoyment, something that ensured they were more likely to continue playing sports and visiting the gym as they got older.

In essence, the research showed that if adults associate exercise with negative memories, they won’t expect it to be enjoyable, and so will be less likely to exercise. While adults who believe physical activity is fun will be a lot more inclined to get active.

How to improve PE lessons for today’s children

In order to ensure that the adults of tomorrow aren’t put off exercise by negative experiences in childhood, schools need to improve PE lessons for all participants. For some schools, this may involve a radical rethink of their lesson plans, while all schools should assess the sports they offer to ensure they’re as inclusive, and as fun, as possible.

As one of the main negative memories adults reported was being picked last for team sports, PE teachers should look for alternative ways to make their teams. Giving kids random numbers, or dividing them using other, non-discriminatory means, should help to prevent less able children from feeling left out.

The research showed that positive recognition from a PE teacher went a long way to helping children create a good association with exercise. PE teachers should try to ensure they make positive remarks to all pupils regardless of ability.

Schools, and teachers, also need to work on making their PE lessons as fun as possible. While lessons need to be informative and challenging as well as enjoyable, the research shows that having fun during PE lessons as a child can really help to encourage people to stay fit as they age. This makes the fun factor one of the most important considerations for today’s PE teachers.

Introducing a bit of variety into PE lessons is another good way to get kids excited about exercise. Some children might excel at ball sports while others are better at tactics, speed or stamina. Playing a variety of games will help to ensure children learn a range of skills, and different kids can shine in different areas.

How clubs make sports more enjoyable 

Positive experiences of exercise don’t just have to happen in PE lessons. In fact, taking part regularly in any sport, game or physical activity can help to boost kids’ confidence and set them up for a healthy life.

Adding a variety of active clubs to the after-school timetable can be a great way to boost the number of pupils getting regular exercise. Clubs also allow schools to increase the range of activities they offer, something that may well be crucial to boosting enjoyment and pupil participation.

Schools could consider offering activities like martial arts, netball, rugby and even cheerleading. Ensuring there’s an activity to suit everyone will help to get as many kids as possible taking part and having fun.

Offering a range of after-school activities helps to get kids excited about sport and shows them exercise can be enjoyable. This early positive experience of sport is a great way to set kids up for a healthy life and ensure they stay active and fit as adults.

How to run more school clubs

If you think your school could benefit from boosting the number of clubs it offers, we can help. Our online platform makes club admin quick and easy, and helps to connect schools with experienced, qualified club leaders.

By streamlining the process, Clubbly allows schools to dramatically increase the range of clubs they offer without increasing the workload of teachers and club leaders. This can allow schools to offer their pupils a great range of clubs and ensure that all children are getting out and getting active.

Get in touch with a member of our team, or take a look around our site to find out more.

Is sports premium money having a positive effect?

Physical activity is incredibly important to the development, self-esteem and health of primary school children. Unfortunately, the vast majority of kids across the country aren’t getting enough exercise every week. As well as leading to an increase in childhood obesity, a lack of exercise can make it harder for kids to concentrate in the classroom and can cause pupils to become less confident.

In an effort to increase the amount of exercise children in the UK do every day, the Government created the Sports Premium. A fund of £320 million, the Sports Premium has been designed to help primary schools improve their PE provisions and get their pupils moving. So is this money having a positive effect on the country’s children? We decided to find out.

Why do primary schools need PE money?

According to the experts, kids should exercise for at least 60 minutes every day. This activity helps them to maintain a healthy weight, develop their muscles and boost their confidence and concentration. However, a lot of primary schools struggle to provide their pupils with enough opportunities to get active. While some schools can’t find time during the school day for games, others don’t have the land or the facilities to give their pupils the space they need to run, play and race.

The Sports Premium fund, or PE Money, has been created in order to help schools improve their facilities. It’s hoped that, by investing in equipment, coaching and other sports essentials, primary schools will be able to better provide for their pupils. This should give the country’s kids more opportunities to exercise and introduce them to a variety of new and exciting sports.

How much money is available?

The Sports Premium is a fund of £320 million that’s been created by the Government to help schools improve their sports provision. Although there are a few exceptions, almost all primary schools in the UK are entitled to money from the Sports Premium pot.

Money is allocated to schools depending on how many eligible pupils they have. Schools that have 16 or fewer eligible students receive £1,000 per pupils while those with 17 or more get £16,000 plus £10 per pupil. For most primary schools, this is a significant amount of money and should go a long way to helping them achieve their sporting goals.

How can Sports Premium money be spent?

Schools that receive money from the Sports Premium fund have to use the money to make additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of the physical education they offer. This means that funds should be used to develop, or add to, the PE, physical activity and sport that a school provides and build capacity and capability within the school to ensure that improvements made now will benefit pupils joining the school in years to come.

There are five key indicators that schools should focus on when looking to improve their sports provision. These include providing targeted activities or support to involve and encourage the least active children and encouraging active play during break times and lunchtimes.

Schools should also be establishing, extending or funding attendance of school sport clubs, or broadening the variety offered, and adopting an active mile initiative. As the Government believes every child should leave primary school able to swim, the fund can also be used to raise attainment in primary school swimming to meet the requirements of the national curriculum.

The Sports Premium should allow schools to raise the profile of sport and use sport as a tool for whole-school improvement. By making sport an integral part of the school day, teachers can encourage their pupils to be active throughout the day and embed exercise into the school’s education.

In some cases, the reason schools aren’t providing enough opportunities for sport is a lack of confidence, or understanding, among teachers. The Sports Premium can be used to help educate teachers to give them the expertise they need to lead active sessions and encourage pupils to take part. Understanding just how important physical activity is to education should help to motivate teachers to get involved.

Is the Sports Premium having an effect?

Schools that receive money from the Sports Premium Fund are required to report their results to a central body. This makes it possible to assess the impact of the fund and the effect it’s having on schools across the country.

According to the Primary PE and Sport Premium Survey research report, 35% of schools reported an increase in time spent on PE between 2016/17 and 2017/18, while 64% reported no change. An impressive 33% of respondents said they’d used the fund to introduce new and different types of extracurricular activities, while 54% used the money to support existing afterschool clubs and activities.

The report revealed that schools mostly used the Sports Premium fund to buy new equipment or improve existing facilities. A whopping 92% of schools invested the money in this way, while 88% used the fund to upskill staff and 83% were able to boost extracurricular sport as a result of the funding. A large proportion of schools (75%) said they used the funding to increase physical activity across the curriculum and 71% said the fund allowed them to increase involvement with sport networks and competitions.

Overall, the Sport Premium has allowed a large number of schools to invest in PE when otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to. This has provided thousands of primary school pupils with opportunities to get involved and get active and has gone a long way to promoting exercise, sport and physical activity among the country’s children.

If you think your pupils could benefit from taking part in more sports and getting more active, we can help. Our inspirational team of athletes travels the country visiting schools and encouraging children to get involved. Find out more by exploring our site or getting in touch with a member of our team today on 01223 792200.