Virtual physical education should be the priority in schools, according to sports association

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Children’s sports charity Youth Sport Trust has urged schools to implement a recovery-focused virtual physical education program during England’s third lockdown.

According to the charity’s chief executive, Ali Oliver MBE, this could “be a game-changer for the well-being of young people” – especially those who became less active in the first two lockdowns.

According to a Sport England report released in July 2020, 93% of children under the age of 16 continued to do something to stay active during the first lockdown, but the amount of activity they engaged in declined. While 19% of children did an hour or more of physical activity on a typical day, 43% reported getting less than half an hour of physical activity per day.

The lockdown has resulted in the widespread closure of schools, playgrounds, recreation centers, gymnasiums, fields and courts, causing enormous disruption in children’s physical activity. Now England are expected to remain in lockdown until potentially March.

Oliver said: “As millions of young people across the country now return to distance learning, continued physical education and daily physical activity will be vital in supporting their well-being.

“We know the activity levels of young people plummeted during the first lockdown, and that contributed to some of the issues they now face – from mental health challenges and low levels of fitness to developmental delays.

“Schools have done so much to overcome impossible challenges over the past 10 months to keep children safe and enable them to learn. Over the next few weeks, a recovery-focused virtual physical education program should be a priority. It could be a game-changer for the well-being of young people.

A number of independent schools have shared their virtual sport projects with their online communities.

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