There’s been a 13 per cent increase in the number of school children in Scotland getting involved in sports during term time.
Figures from Sportscotland show that participant sessions increased to 5,063,000 during the academic year 2012-13 from 4,499,000 in 2011-12 – a rise of more than half a million.
The increase has been attributed to the government’s Active Schools campaign, which aims to provide more and higher quality opportunities for children to participate in school sport and to increase capacity through the recruitment of volunteers who deliver the activity sessions. In 2012-13 Sportscotland invested a total of £11.9m into the Active Schools Network, which delivers the programme.
As a result of the investment, the number of people delivering Active Schools supported sessions has significantly risen by 22.3 per cent from 15,792 in 2011-12 to 19,321 in 2012-13, with more than 16,000 being unpaid volunteers.
Louise Martin CBE, chair of Sportscotland, said: “These are excellent figures that show significant increases across all Active Schools measurements.
“There are more than 400 Active Schools coordinators working in schools across all 32 local authorities in Scotland and they are supporting the delivery of more and better opportunities to take part in sport and physical activities before school, during lunchtime, and after school.”
Sportscotland works in partnership with all 32 local authorities to invest in and support the Active Schools Network of managers and coordinators who work with primary, secondary, and Additional Support Needs (ASN) schools across Scotland.
The Eurydice Report published on March 23rd 2013 which looked at physical education (PE) in 28 European Countries, found that Irish primary school pupils in Europe receive less time on physical education (PE) than other schoolchildren in Europe. Whilst at secondary level only two countries spend less time than is made available in Irish schools.
One third of the countries that took part in the survey are currently planning reforms to PE. Finland and Portugal are intending to raise the profile of PE by increasing the minimum taught time. Greece and Hungry are working to improve the diversity of the offering during PE whilst, reforms in many countries are seeking to improve the conditions in which PE is delivered and promote the training of those who teach it.
The findings would seem to support the findings of the 2010 Irish Sports Council sponsored research carried out by DCU, UCC and UL which looked at children’s participation in sport and physical activity. This report found that only 35% of primary and 10% of secondary school students were obtaining the recommended minimum levels of PE as set out by the Department of Education with girls receiving less PE time than boys.