Physical activity is a crucial part of every child’s development.
Those aged five to 18 years old are recommended to engage in moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity for an average of at least 60 minutes per day across the week.
But the Active Lives Children and Young People 2018/19 Survey by Sport England found that only 46.8 percent of children and young people (3.3 million) in England are meeting these requirements.
Another 29 percent (2.1 million) of five to 16-year-olds could not even achieve half of this. They were found to be participating in less than an average of 30 minutes of sports and physical activity a day during September 2018 to July 2019.
For this less active group, they are missing out on the health benefits associated with physical activity. According to the survey, they are likely to report feeling less happy, be less resilient when attempting something difficult and be less trusting of people of a similar age to themselves.
Schools are pivotal in ensuring this does not happen to young people. With the right sports education programme, schools can inspire students to meet their physical activity requirements and lead healthier and more fulfilling lives.
Sports classes can be used to teach students how to integrate exercise into their daily routine, to discuss impactful diet plans or emphasise the importance of mental wellbeing.
Here are four schools in the UK with sports education programmes that improve students’ health and wellbeing:
Kingswood School in Bath is one of the top schools for sports in England, with students competing at both national and international levels.
The School’s extensive range of activities and sports programmes along with strong links to professional clubs, such as Team Bath, enable students to make lifestyle choices that will enhance their wellbeing.
In addition to professional sports, students at Kingswood School are encouraged to join co-curricular activities to improve skills and reap the benefits of physical activity.
For instance, Year 11 students Emily and Grace have always been encouraged to push their learning boundaries through team sports at Kingswood.
“Working together is a big part of life at Kingswood and this has given us both the confidence to explore everything that the School has to offer,” they say.
Whereas for Year 8 learner Owen, the School’s approach to sports education not only lets him gain the benefits of physical activity such as the release of endorphins that helps improve mood and energy levels. It’s helped him grow more confident too.
“I’ve had the opportunity to explore (…) and get involved in every kind of sport imaginable,” he said.
“At Kingswood, you can be anyone you want to be.”
The school hosts an annual sports tour in international destinations such as North America, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Australia, Fiji, South America and South Africa.
At Sherborne School in Dorset, 17 rugby teams compete regularly; whereas for football, there are as many as 14 teams across varied age groups in action.
This independent boarding school for boys also advocates the important of healthy living through physical activity. Sherborne students commit to regular exercise routines and join a diverse range of sporting activities, from traditional sports like rugby, football and hockey, to activities like squash, fives, clay pigeon shooting and golf.
Shaping their sports selection around personal preferences, Sherborne also believes that if a boy requests to participate in a particular sport, then they will find an opportunity for him to do so.
Or if he has a particular talent in a specific sport, then they will support him in receiving expert coaching and joining programmes that enhance his chances of success.
That’s why Sherborne is a renowned sports-centric school in the UK and known for its lifelong commitment to promoting healthy living.
Bedford School is a place where students acquire a healthy lifestyle from being involved in sports such as badminton, swimming, basketball, rugby, squash, hockey, rowing and more.
On their estate, there is a range of sports facilities that support these activities, such as a multi-purpose sports hall, four squash courts and the Lindsay-White Fitness Centre.
Currently, the school consists of 1,115 boys, aged seven to 13 for Prep and 13-18 for the Upper School.
These pupils come from all over the world and there is an average staff to pupil ratio of 1:9, which means that every student gets the attention they need.
And with a 50-acre estate to call home, Bedford School boys have the space they need to grow and develop into healthy young men.
King’s Ely firmly believes that all students should enjoy a wide range of sporting experiences, and one major sport that the school prioritises is rowing.
As rowing is enormously popular at King’s Ely, aspiring student rowers make good use of the Boat Club that’s just a short walk away from the school.
The King’s Ely rowing fleet also have access to impressive land-based facilities including a free weights gym, sports hall and dedicated rowing fitness suite.
In addition to on-site sporting facilities, King’s Ely provides an outdoor education programme that consists of great adventures across rock faces, rivers and mountains.
Outdoor education at King’s Ely also offers pupils the chance to learn self-reliance, teamwork, creative thinking skills and a determined attitude to all tasks in life.
And as a school that prizes sports education, many of King Ely’s students go on to win impressive sporting titles.