Sports stars back calls to extend the school day for two hours to allow more time for PE


Sports stars including Lawrence Dallaglio call to extend the school day for two hours to allow more PE

  • Ministers considering a proposal to add an extra two hours onto the school day 
  • The scheme would include extra-curricular activities such as drama and dance
  • England rugby international Lawrence Dallaglio has shown support for scheme 

Ministers are considering a proposal to add an extra two hours onto the school day to offer pupils more time to exercise and the plan has been backed by sporting stars.

The scheme would include extra-curricular activities such as drama and dance as well as netball and football in a bid to tackle the obesity crisis and anti-social behaviour amid the coronavirus pandemic.  

Sporting stars including England rugby international Lawrence Dallaglio, former Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand and double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes have backed the proposals by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ).

Meanwhile tennis star Tim Henman, former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp and English rugby player Courtney Lawes have thrown their support behind the scheme, according to The Telegraph. 

Ministers are considering a proposal to add an extra two hours onto the school day to offer pupils more time to exercise and the plan has been backed by sporting stars (file image) 

England rugby international Lawrence Dallaglio

Former Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand

Sporting stars including England rugby international Lawrence Dallaglio (left), former Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand (right) have backed the proposals by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ)

‘If we want to extend the benefits of sport and physical activity it starts with keeping the gates open at our state schools for a few hours each day to let local coaches and sports clubs get children moving before they go home,’ Mr Dallaglio told the publication. 

The CSJ, founded by former Conservative leader and Cabinet minister, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, said physical activities and sports should be used as a tool to improve physical and mental health. 

The report, A Level Playing Field, calculates the cost of rolling out an extended school day for children in Years 7 to 11 at £1.5 billion, which could be funded by taxpayers, sponsorships and ‘small contributions from parents’.

Meanwhile former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp (pictured) has thrown support behind the scheme, according to The Telegraph

Meanwhile former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp (pictured) has thrown support behind the scheme, according to The Telegraph

Meanwhile the CSJ’s estimation of the cost of inactivity among young people stands at £53.3 billion during their lifetimes. 

It suggests schools should put on a ‘carousel of sporting activities’, including team-based and competitive sports, and individual exercise such as dance.

The CSJ said independent schools currently have a ‘large emphasis … placed on extra-curricular competitive sport’ and that these schools which have charitable status should be obliged to share their facilities.

It said: ‘This would help independent schools to demonstrate their fulfilment of the public benefit test required to retain their charitable status, as well as narrowing existing sports participation inequalities that typically fall along deprivation lines.’

The CSJ, founded by former Conservative leader and Cabinet minister, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, (pictured)  said physical activities and sports should be used as a tool to improve physical and mental health

The CSJ, founded by former Conservative leader and Cabinet minister, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, (pictured)  said physical activities and sports should be used as a tool to improve physical and mental health

Double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes

English rugby player Courtney Lawes

Double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes (left) and English rugby player Courtney Lawes have reportedly backed the proposals by the CSJ 

The CSJ's estimation of the cost of inactivity among young people stands at £53.3 billion during their lifetimes. Pictured: Tennis star Tim Henman reportedly supports the proposals

The CSJ’s estimation of the cost of inactivity among young people stands at £53.3 billion during their lifetimes. Pictured: Tennis star Tim Henman reportedly supports the proposals 

Currently, most after-school provision is teacher-led, but the CSJ said the extended school day proposals could involve schools working with community sports clubs, charities, or in partnership with other educational establishments.

The report said: ‘Physical inactivity among today’s young people is estimated to cost £53.3 billion during their lifetimes, through a costly burden of diseases related to inactivity and lower quality of life, and life expectancy.

‘An increase of 10 per cent in those children and young people attaining the recommended levels of physical activity could reduce the cost of physical inactivity by around £8 billion over the course of the lives of today’s 11 to 25 year-olds.’

Other ideas for England in the report include rolling out the Daily Mile – a scheme from Scotland which encourages schools and nurseries to take children outside to jog or run for 15 minutes – as well as following a move in Scotland and Wales which permits school facilities to be used by pupils after hours.

The law should also be amended to allow the Education Secretary to set a minimum number of hours per pupil per week of physical activity, the CSJ said.

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