Fit For Sport, the UK’s leaders in engaging and educating children and young people through physical activity, have revealed that a worrying 78% of primary school pupils across the UK measured through their Healthy Active Schools System (HASS) are failing to meet the recommended fitness levels for their age group.
The leading childcare activity provider launched HASS back in January 2017 in a bid to tackle inactivity amongst primary school pupils, with an estimated one in three children in the UK beginning secondary school as obese.
Dean Horridge, CEO and Founder of Fit For Sport, believes that government must rethink how pupils are engaged in physical activity at school:
“The fact that only 22% of children are meeting recommended fitness levels comes as little surprise given the current inactivity crisis that we find ourselves in.”
Researchers from the University of Bristol monitored the behaviour of more than 2,000 children from 57 schools across the south west of England during primary school over the past year and found children became 17 minutes less active per week each year.
“We must change the way in which we are educating children through physical activity or else we’ll continue to fight a losing battle. There’s too much focus on diet and too little on regular exercise.”
“A couple of hours of outdated PE lessons a week are not enough to get children engaged. The key is, and always will be, daily engagement in fun and varied physical activity. After all, government guidelines state that 30 minutes of daily physical activity must be carried out during school and what better time of the school day to ensure children achieve this than at lunchtime. Active lunchtimes are a great starting point, however, we witness many schools restricting their pupils from running, skipping and playing ball games during the lunch hour.”
“Furthermore, without measurement how will we ever know if this new investment is working? Physical activity at school must be taken as seriously as Maths and English otherwise obesity rates will continue to soar.”
HASS is a free platform that allows schools to record, monitor and evaluate their pupils’ physical activity levels. The online portal also ensures that schools can easily track their PE and Sport Premium spend, level 1 and 2 competition and individual pupils’ swimming milestones.
To measure the fitness levels of the 45,000 children registered on the HASS, Fit For Sport conduct a simple physical activity test, otherwise known as the Activity Challenge, which requires a combination of skill and physical fitness, including stamina, agility and coordination.
Each child completes three timed physical activity challenges (which vary in difficulty depending on the age range). The Activity Challenge assesses hand-eye/physical coordination, muscular endurance, power and cardio-vascular endurance through simple catching, jumping and running activities.
The results are placed into three categories - Bronze, Silver, and Gold - to represent the levels expected of ages. Those children falling into the Gold category meet recommended levels of fitness set by children’s activity experts, and children in the Silver category are not able to meet the required levels in at least two of the three challenges. Those children in the Bronze category are significantly below recommended levels of fitness, meaning their fitness levels are deemed to be a cause for concern.
About Fit For Sport:
• Fit For Sport have been educating & engaging kids through physical activity for over 29 years.
• The Healthy Active Schools System is free to all primary schools throughout the UK www.healthyactiveschools.co.uk.
• For more information on the Activity Challenge and to test your child’s fitness levels visit www.activitychallenge.co.uk.