Alarming fall in school PE lessons casts doubt over government’s commitment to tackling obesity crisis

The Telegraph is reporting that the Government has overseen an alarming fall in the amount of PE in schools since coming to power, according to new figures which, it says, cast serious doubt on its commitment to an Olympic legacy and to tackling Britain’s obesity crisis…

The biggest survey of its kind ­during the Coalition’s 4½ years in office found that the average number of minutes of PE offered to children in England had dropped well below two hours per week, in defiance of promises made to use London 2012 to ‘Inspire a Generation’ of ­youngsters to become more active.

Seen by Telegraph Sport ahead of its official publication on Wednesday morning, the Youth Sport Trust’s National PE, School Sport and Physical Activity Survey Report also suggested that there had been a major slump in the number of links between schools and community sports clubs since 2010.

Baroness Campbell, chairman of the charity formed in 1995 to support children’s development through sport, described current physical inactivity levels among the young as “a bleak and worrying picture”…

The DfE last year commissioned its own survey of 586 primary schools which showed their pupils spent an average of 122 minutes each week doing PE, up 13 minutes on 2013. A DfE spokesman said last night: “As part of our plan for education, we want children to get into the habit of playing and enjoying sport – both in lessons and after school. That’s why we are giving primary school headteachers over £450 million of funding to spend on improving PE – and our own research shows they are using it to deliver more and better sport.

“Our findings show that primary schools are delivering more than two hours of PE each week, and it has increased by an average of 13 minutes in the last year; 83 per cent of schools also reported an increase in participation in after-hours sports since the introduction of the funding. We are pleased that the Youth Sport Trust’s own figures show that PE lesson time has actually increased for pupils in years 10 to 13…”


There’s lots more detail in the original article and the findings appear disappointing at both primary and secondary phases (although it appears we now have a battle of survey results between them and the DfE). Your insights into why the amount of PE time appears to be going down? Please let in the comments or via Twitter…


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  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Govt has slashed sports funding & allows many school to opt out of national curriculum so these findings should not surprise

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Sport seems to be last thing on politicians’ minds with new schools being built with no playing fields whatsoever

  3. rachelrossiter

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove PE not just about tackling obesity (which is important) but also supporting our talented athletes. IME many

  4. andylutwyche

    rachelrossiter SchoolsImprove Quite – it obviously doesn’t win or lose enough votes to be very important to our politicians

  5. terryfish

    SchoolsImprove Mr Gove ceased the excellent schools’ sports partnerships and EBac/Progress 8 + much harder GCSEs meant academic curriculum

  6. ImSporticus

    andylutwyche rachelrossiter SchoolsImprove They do enough for ‘show’ to the media, but don’t really attempt any meaningful change.

  7. andylutwyche

    “ImSporticus: andylutwyche I wonder if one day I might stop being so gullible then?” Many in a similar boat

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