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Physical Exercise in Schools

Volume 618: debated on Monday 19 December 2016

We want all pupils to be healthy and active and have the opportunity to engage in sport and physical activity. That is why physical education remains a compulsory subject at all four key stages in the national curriculum. Since 2013, we have given more than £600 million directly to primary schools to improve the breadth and quality of PE and sport provision; that will double to £320 million a year from 2017.

Given the urgent need to tackle child obesity and physical inactivity, will my hon. Friend say what steps he is taking to work with organisations such as ukactive, the Outdoor Industry Association and The Daily Mile foundation, as well as local organisations such as Active Cheshire, to follow the example of Upton Priory School, where my daughter goes, to take forward more Daily Mile initiatives?

As a fellow Cheshire MP, I am aware of some of the excellent work that local schools and local groups, such as Active Cheshire, do in partnership. We welcome initiatives such as the Daily Mile, and I will be meeting the foundation in the new year. They all help teachers who have the autonomy to make good decisions on behalf of their pupils to have an array of excellent quality initiatives to use. We continue to promote those through county sport partnerships.

The Minister is too modest in declining to take the opportunity to say that he has, over many years, led by example through his repeated and impressive marathon running, with which the whole House should by now be well familiar.

Physical activity is really important to equip the next generation with the skills to contend with both their physical and mental health. Alone, however, it will not contend with our nation’s obesity crisis; we know from the child measurement figures how challenging that issue is for our country. Will the Government be bringing forward compulsory personal, social, health and economic education so that we can equip the next generation with the knowledge and skills to know what they should be eating as well as what physical activity they should be doing?

I have already told the House that PE is compulsory at all four key stages. The Secretary of State has set out the need to improve the access to, and the quality of, PSHE, and we are continuing to look at that very carefully. Just to stop the press, I will be taking part in the London marathon again next year to continue my efforts to lead by example.