It seems that school funding has never been more of a hot topic than it is today. Apart from the obvious impact of this on children’s education in maths and English and the like, it can also massively affect the opportunities for PE and other physical activity that are available to them. Helping children to achieve the recommended daily levels of physical exercise is a subject that we at Streetspace have been passionate about for a long time.
Research by Sport England shows that around 43% of children lead active lives, but of that group, only 17.5% are meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of more than 60 minutes of activity a day, every day of the week. Also, 33% of children and young people are less active, meaning they do fewer than 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Plus, the research highlights inequalities in activity levels as children from the least affluent families tend to do the least exercise, as well as girls being less likely to be active than boys. All in all, the research shows that much needs doing if we as a nation are going to get our children active and healthy.
One outcome of the funding issue is that in recent years lots of organisations have taken it upon themselves to promote physical activity throughout the population. This has resulted in a wide variety of initiatives such as: The Telegraph’s “Girls, Inspired” campaign; British Cycling’s campaign to get one million more women on bikes by 2020; The Daily Mile which aims to get children out of the classroom for fifteen minutes every day to run or jog, making them fitter, healthier and more able to concentrate in the classroom; and schools taking the lead themselves to promote active travel.
As a consequence of these ongoing concerns, we welcome any proposals from the Government that aim to boost physical activity for children, in particular. One example of this was in December 2018 when Education Secretary Damian Hinds called on the country’s leading sporting organisations to work in partnership with the Government to improve school sport and ensure all children have the opportunity to take part in competitive sport and increase their activity levels. This came after a summit of top sporting organisations including the Premier League, the Rugby Football Union and England Hockey, where Hinds and the Sports Minister Mims Davies asked these bodies to advise the Government on how to help children to harness the benefits of sport.
While experience has shown that it sometimes pays to be cautious about announcements such as this, particularly when there doesn’t appear to be a concrete commitment to a specified level of funding, it can nevertheless be praised for at least attempting to address the issue.
From our perspective, we would highlight that at Streetspace we offer extremely cost-effective sports canopies for multi-use games areas (MUGAs) at schools. We provide a range of permanent tensile fabric structures, including all-weather sports canopies, that are designed for performance, looks and durability, offering protection from the sun and even the worst of the weather. Our Sportspace365™ canopy consists of a PVC tensile membrane cover tensioned over a steel framework, which is very cost efficient for large-scale covered MUGA space.
Complementing our sports canopies very nicely, our partners at metroSTOR offer a range of cycle parking facilities to encourage people to swap their car journey for a bike ride.
Please get in touch with the Streetspace team to discuss how we can help to make school funds go further in providing outdoor spaces that encourage and enable children to get active!
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