IT has been a great week which has seen me interacting with local fitness enthusiasts, a passionate headteacher and even an online reader from Bulgaria.

Following on from last week, I wanted to wrap up our look at the importance of PE in primary schools. What other school lesson gives a platform for adults to explain to young people that winning and losing is a factor in all aspects of life, and therefore how that should be dealt with as a life lesson. It must highlight how winning does not necessarily make you successful and how losing does not always mean that you are a failure. Inclusivity is also essential to engage all students, no matter their circumstances.

A concept that has come to the fore over recent years is that of Physical Literacy, which can be described as the “motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.”

While I acknowledge that there are many others out there with similar aims and objectives, and it is fair to say that physical literacy fits into the current climate but may not go far enough to fundamentally change the overall education and understanding of general health and how this relates to rising levels of obesity and other diseases.

Physical literacy challenges everyone to look at their own physical activity levels, to understand that it is a continuous journey throughout your life, and it is never too late to start or restart activity.

The most recent Active Lives survey from Sport England reported:

  • Only 40 per cent of children achieved a minimum of 30 minutes per day of moderate intensity activity while at school.
  • Enjoyment – 51 per cent of children strongly agreed their PE lessons were enjoyable.
  • Confidence – 39 per cent were confident in PE.
  • Competence – 23 per cent felt they had suitable competence to participate in PE.
  • Understanding – 69 per cent agreed they understood the importance of why they should be physically active.

This proves there is need for fundamental change. In the next ten to 20 years I would suggest that PE is no longer the subject name and it has changed to incorporate a much wider and more in-depth approach to inspire a life-long understanding of health and a love of physical activity.

The Northern Echo:

It's always good to be active - archive picture


This week, it was a pleasure to discuss the return to school for pupils of Escomb Primary School with headteacher Wendy Gill. She told us: “We have had a positive start to the new school year, and we have thoroughly enjoyed having all our children back in school. Safety is paramount in our school community and we want all our children, parents and staff to feel confident and comfortable with the new routines and systems we have had to put in place. We have spent time going over rules and routines that will help keep everyone in our school community safe, as well as sharing all our lockdown adventures.

“Children have had varying experiences during lockdown, so our focus is the emotional wellbeing of our children and we are addressing this through a range of activities including outdoor activities, PE, music and art. Once our children feel safe, secure and settled they will be ready to learn. We are now beginning our ‘road to recovery’ curriculum; finding out exactly where the children are in English and maths, addressing any gaps and beginning the new learning for their year group.”

It was also interesting to hear from the new Year 6 children about how they have settled in. “It’s been nice to have time off school and I was worried about returning but now I’m back I like it better than before.” said Danae.

Lucy said: “I feel safe because our teachers remind us of the rules.” Henry told us: “I feel safe because we keep washing our hands and everything is wiped down, so it keeps us safe all the time.”

Madelyn said “If we feel sad then the teachers talk to us to make us feel more comfortable.”

Thank you to Escomb Primary School for sharing your experience.


Next week we will be looking at adult activity levels and I would like to ask for your help. Please email me with your current activity levels or if you are not exercising as much as you would like, let me know the main barriers you face. Your input, no matter your age, ability or location would be extremely helpful for the article. You can contact me at: or you can also connect on Twitter @TSmith_PE and @TheNorthernEcho

Trevor works at Premier Education supporting primary schools to improve children’s health and wellbeing through active learning.