Goodbye hockey, hello raving yoga: how schools are exploring new ways of keeping children active

For a nation that this summer won the cricket world cup, bronze in the netball world cup and six medals at the world rowing championships, we still have some of the most inactive and overweight children in the world. The Telegraph reports.

So dire is the situation, the Government will soon launch a Sport and Activity Action plan to address the fact that just 8 per cent of girls and 16 per cent of boys do the one-hour minimum of daily activity recommended by the Chief Medical Officer. 

This promises to concentrate particularly on disadvantaged areas and, given the shocking gender gap in activity, girls — also the focus of the Telegraph Sport’s own Girls, Inspired programme. The Action Plan will include a range of regional pilots for “innovative approaches”; investment for 400 new after-school clubs; more school facilities open at the weekends and in holidays, and digital resources including “Netflix-style library of workout videos” aimed at girls that can be used in lessons.

Ceri Crawford, Director of Sport at Howell’s School in Cardiff has capitalised on special interests among her staff — “we’ve some who are passionate about dance or pilates, for example” — and besides offering yoga, pilates and meditation classes, has discovered groovy ways to get teenagers to forget about their body consciousness, particularly useful in the sixth form, which also admits boys. 

Noticing that many girls dislike skorts or gym skirts, Crawford has changed the kit so they can wear much-favoured leggings — “if you can get the kit right that makes a big difference to their participation” — and found ways to make involve their phones. “I actually encourage them to bring them into the fitness suite here and see any workout they particularly enjoy,” explains Crawford. “They’ll find videos teaching them good technique on Instagram and YouTube and it’s useful for me to stay in touch with what they like.”

Find out what other schools are doing to encourage sport in the full article Goodbye hockey, hello raving yoga: how schools are exploring new ways of keeping children active 

Could Raving Yoga go down a storm in your school? Is non-competitive sport for some older girls the answer? Neutral gender sports are becoming increasingly popular, do the girls play cricket at your school? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin


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