Schools scrap PE time because of exam pressure

The Telegraph reports that schools are cutting time spent on PE lessons because of exam pressures, a survey has found. 

Secondary school teachers said that older teenagers were particularly likely to miss out, as 38 per cent said time spent on physical education for 14-16 year-olds had fallen in the past five years, and almost one in four said it had dropped within the past year. 

Teachers told the Youth Sport Trust’s poll that increased pressure to produce exam results was leading to children being pulled out of PE lessons for tutoring. 

The charity said pupils moving from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4 experience a 21 per cent drop in the amount of curriculum time set aside for PE per week. By the time they are aged 16 to 18-years-old they are doing just 34 minutes a week at school.

Almost all of the teachers from the 487 schools polled said PE should be more valued for its benefits to young people. 

Cal Strode, spokesman for the Mental Health Foundation, said cutting PE time would be “short-sighted and risk widespread unintended consequences”.

“There’s a close relationship between our mental and physical health, ensuring that children have access to regular physical education delivers an all round benefit.”

The Youth Sport Trust is campaigning for PE to become more focused on teaching life lessons such as resilience, instead of focusing on specific sporting skills. It said schools are heavily judged on their GCSE results for PE and winning trophies instead of the impact the lessons have on students’ wellbeing. 

Read more Schools scrap PE time because of exam pressure

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