Posted Thursday 5 November 2020
A programme to help primary school pupils learn core subjects and develop essential life skills through the power of sport is being launched by a Kingston University partnership.
Move.Learn.Grow. will see experienced sports teachers, coaches and internationally acclaimed educators from Harlequins Foundation, Sport Impact and Kingston University's Centre for Physical Education, Sport and Activity (CPESA) working together to provide schools in London with unique learning solutions.
The new scheme comes amid fears that children's physical exercise has fallen sharply since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. A recent survey by Sport England found that during lockdown, just 19 per cent of children under the age of 16 were doing one hour or more of physical activity every day – the UK government's recommended daily amount.
The initiative will offer bespoke and wide-ranging support packages to primary schools from curriculum development and planning to numeracy, literacy, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) programmes. It includes extra-curricular clubs and inter-school sport competitions, as well as professional development for teachers who are less confident or experienced in delivering physical education (PE).
The programme will initially be offered to primary schools in the London boroughs of Kingston, Richmond, and Hounslow but it is hoped that it can be extended more widely.
Kingston University's CPESA will work with the schools to help them build a more inclusive curriculum and support teachers in feeling more comfortable changing the way they teach, while also helping the schools meet Ofsted's three I's – the intent, implementation and impact of their PE programmes.
Director of Kingston University's Centre for Physical Education, Sport and Activity, Greg Dryer said the pandemic has changed the demands on teachers. "It is more important than ever to provide teachers with professional support and learning so that they can confidently deliver exceptional experiences for their pupils at school," he said.
Mr Dryer said it was essential to create an environment in which young people can find what is meaningful to them when taking part in physical activity so they can flourish. "Everyone has a choice for how and why they wish to engage in a particular activity. It's not all about physical wellbeing, it is also a tool to build a sense of inclusion and belonging and that can help a person's mental wellbeing," he said.
The former head of PE in three London schools said each of the parties in the partnership with Sport Impact and Harlequins Foundation brought a different skill set that would benefit schools and their pupils. "We believe coming together will have far more reach and impact working collaboratively than doing it in silos as the schools can get the best that each organisation has to offer," he said.