Monday, 22 June 2009

I moved on to the third 'Annual Heads of PE Conference' at the Leeds Carnegie Stadium...

I have attended all three conferences and it is a real priviledge to spend time with this group of colleagues. They are an amazing bunch and they have in many ways led some of the most important work we have been doing to transform learning in Leeds. The Department of Health's 'Health Profile of England 2008' provides a snapshot of health and well-being and contains loads of good newsand highlights the fact that the proportion of schoolchildren engaging in physical activity has risen significantly. However, at the same time child and adult obesity has increased alarmingly and cases of diabetes have increased alarmingly.

And the bad news is that the picture is different across the country with Yorkshire and the Humber lying towards the bottom of many of the indicators. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recently published guidance on Promoting Physical Activity for Children and Young People. The recommendations are that children and young people should undertake a range of moderate to vigorous-intensity activities for at least 60 minutes every day with at least two sessions a week of activities that improve bone health, muscle strength and flexibility.

Clearly, we should all focus our energy and efforts on addressing the following issues; encouraging healthy lifestyles; tackling obesity through better diet and increased activity and continuing to work towards every young person in Leeds engaging in five hours of PE and Sport every week. My colleague Helen Plimmer, Adviser for PE, had invited me to talk to the Conference about the success we have had with the PE and School Sport Strategy with over 90% of our children and young people are doing the two hours a week of PE and School Sport. Our challenge now is to build on our success and ensure that every child engages in five hours of PE and School Sport every week including those who are not that interested.

I also talked to the group about the brilliant 'Spirit Alive' project Max Amesbury has been managing for us. The initiative started with four schools in 2007, involved 30 schools in 2008 and we hope will involve at least 70 schools this year. Our aim is for every school in Leeds to be involved in organising their own mini-olympic games in 2012.

I also talked about the vitally important work Shelagh Dixon is doing with the production of another hugely impressive development and training programme for colleagues working in schools. This is such an important aspect of our work here in Leeds and I hope that today's conference has provided colleagues with a pool of great ideas to help us build on our success and move on to achieve this ambitious and incredibly importnat target for all our children and young people.


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