Budgets and academic targets can cause policy makers and schools to cut back on physical education and sport, but evidence suggests this may be counterproductive, explains Annette Montague, education director at the Youth Sports Trust.
Writing in the latest issue of Better, she says that PE and sport can be used to raise achievement and improve attainment across the school. It’s not enough, however, just to do more sport; schools need to identify the key aspects of physical education and sport that enable pupils to achieve and then use these to add value in other subjects.
She recommends four key whole-school improvement strategies for achieving this, which include building on skills that are developed and learned through participating in sport, such as leadership, teamwork and analytical skills, and using sport in the teaching of other subjects, for example using data from sporting events to illustrate mathematical concepts or reading and writing about a sporting event to develop literacy. “Schools that have tried this whole-school approach”, says Annette, “have seen significant gains in exam results”.
The latest issue of Better: Evidence-based Education, which is published by the Institute for Effective Education, takes as its theme “healthy bodies, healthy minds” and looks at the evidence that sport and other non-academic activities, such as yoga and programmes to address problem behaviour, can boost children’s physical and mental health and help them to learn, and whether the amount of sleep your child gets (too little, or too much) makes a difference to academic performance.
For further information, or to get your copy, visit www.betterevidence.org.uk.