17 June 2015

On Radio 5 Live yesterday, there was a debate over health campaigners’ calls for children’s fitness to be tested at school. Listening to the callers who rang in to share their thoughts, there seemed to be a distinct split in opinion between those who agreed with measuring young people’s physical fitness and performance in sports, and those who condemned it.

Be a Sport: The UKFast Netball Team

Be a Sport: The UKFast Netball Team

Personally, I think it creates more of a level playing field. If kids are only tested on academic subjects, what happens to the children who aren’t as gifted in the classroom? Where is their opportunity to shine and come top of the class?

I think we’re at risk of succumbing to the mind-set that we shouldn’t encourage competition for fear of discouraging young people, but sport teaches resilience and teamwork, and it gives all children a chance to excel at something if they’re not as strong academically.

It’s also worth mentioning that kids don’t necessarily have to be tested against one another but against themselves and their past performances.

On a side note, I read the news coverage that prompted the 5 Live debate and one article mentioned that the government was increasing funding for PE, which is a step in the right direction. Personally, I believe sport should be at the heart of every school environment. The head teacher of a school that had incorporated physical activity into lessons told the BBC that they had seen behaviour improve since making this change.

It makes sense; the connection between physical activity and things like productivity, concentration and memory is something that has even been increasingly incorporated into the business world. It’s why we invested in a gym here at UKFast Campus, as somewhere people can go to refocus and get a boost of energy. We see the benefits of fitness and exercise first hand, so from my point of view, the more sport is included in kids’ lives, the better; whether it’s helping to create the next Mo Farah or simply giving the child struggling at maths a chance to thrive.

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