Equal access to sport in schools ends centuries of gender discrimination

By Frances Marcelin March 14, 2023

Girls and boys will have equal access to sport in schools and will gain parity through a guidance scheme called the School Games Mark. Fotokostic/Shutterstock

The UK government has stated that boys and girls should have equal access to sport in schools and requires schools to allocate at least two hours of curriculum time per week to PE.

The £600 million package will also go towards improving intellectual and sports in primary schools. Those who ensure equal provision will be rewarded through a kitemark scheme called the School Games Token.

The statement comes in response to A an open letter sent by the Lions Women’s Soccer Team Following their win at the UEFA Women’s European Championship last year and the success of the Football Association’s #LetGirlsPlay campaign, launched on International Day of the Girl in October 2021.

“Winning the Lions last year was a game-changer,” said Premier Rishi Sunak. “Young girls know when they step on the pitch that football is for them and, thanks to the Lions, they too can be part of the next generation to bring it on for their country.

“We want schools to build on this legacy and give every girl the opportunity to play the same sport as boys, as well as providing at least two hours of PE. This means that every child can benefit from regular exercise and we are proud to provide them with the support they need to do so.”

In addition, up to £57m will be given to the three-year Opening School Facilities initiative, which aims to keep around 1,350 schools’ sports facilities open outside school hours. The work will be carried out by Active Partnerships, led by a consortium of organizations including UK Active, Youth Sport Trust and Street Games.

“We’re delighted that schools across England will get a share of this new three-year investment to help them open their sports facilities outside the normal school day,” said Andy Taylor, chief executive of Active Partnerships National Team.

“Working with our consortium partners Street Games, UK Active and the Youth Sport Trust, our network of 43 Active Partnerships will support schools to develop and deliver their plans, working together to identify the local communities facing the greatest inequalities and helping give them access to more diverse opportunities to be physically active.”

Priority will be given to projects that encourage women and girls to be more active, help disadvantaged and culturally diverse communities and those who support special educational needs, disabilities or long-term health conditions.

UK Active’s Research Institute will be the evaluation partner for the Opening School Facilities project, which is linked to UK Active’s own Open Doors campaign with Nike. Research by UK Active as part of this project found that 39 per cent of sports facilities in England are locked behind school doors during the holidays. Children on free school meals lost up to 80 per cent of their cardiovascular fitness during the summer holidays, it was found.

“This commitment from the Department for Education is an important step in our shared mission to make physical activity and sport accessible to every child and young person,” said UK Active chief executive Huw Edwards. “Opening school doors outside of schools can open up access and opportunity to participate in sport and physical activity, providing children and young people with safe spaces to play, socialize and ultimately lead happier, healthier lives.

“The UK Active Research Institute is a proud evaluation partner of the Opening School Facilities program and we look forward to working with the Active Partnership Network to ensure we maximize this opportunity to successfully engage children.”

The package also includes a new digital tool for the PE and Sport Premium to help schools optimize funding and £22 million in two years of further funding for the School Games Organizing Network (SGO), which supports 28,000 competitive school sporting events that provide more than 2 million opportunities to participate. for children.

“I will do everything I can to help tackle inequality in sport and today’s announcement is a big boost to help give girls more opportunities in schools in England,” said Culture Secretary Lucy Fraser. “The Lionesses have undoubtedly inspired the next generation and it is vital that we ensure that there are structures in place in schools and in society to capitalize on this and promote participation in all the positive life benefits it brings.

“By providing £1 billion to ensure the sport and leisure sector survives during the pandemic, we are now setting a new standard to ensure children and young people have the opportunity to live healthy and active lives both in and out of school.”

The latest version of Sport England Active Lives Children and Young People Survey showed that 58.2 per cent of children did not meet the GP guidelines for 60 minutes of physical activity per day, and overall, girls exercised less than boys. The data showed that the lowest rates were among children aged 7-9 years from low-income families, as well as children from black, Asian and other ethnic groups.

Source link