NI Education: Most primary schools ‘not providing enough PE’


About three-quarters of primary schools are not providing the recommended amount of physical education (PE) classes, according to the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI).

Department of Education guidance is that pupils should have at least two hours of PE each week.

But the study found that 74% of primary schools were unable to do that.

The ETI report also said the pandemic had impacted significantly on PE in schools and children's activity.

Children were prohibited from playing outdoor sport for a number of months in early 2021 and PE in schools was also affected by lockdowns and limits on indoor gatherings.

The inspectorate's report found studies had shown that "many children have had significantly reduced levels of physical activity during the Covid-19 pandemic".

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The ETI inspects schools, youth services and training in Northern Ireland and was asked by the department to carry out an evaluation of the provision of PE in primary schools.

A representative sample of 84 primaries were involved in the study and inspectors observed over 140 PE classes.

The inspectorate said it had also observed a lot of "good practice" when it came to teaching PE in primary schools.

It said that in most schools it had witnessed effective PE teaching and learning and some examples of "best practice".

But the evaluation also highlighted a range of concerns about how, and how much, PE was taught and "significant areas" for improvement.

Over half of schools, the ETI explained, did not have a clear "whole-school" plan about how PE should be taught.

Department of Education (DoE) Chief Inspector Faustina Graham said PE may be the only structured physical activity some children get.

"An ambitious PE curriculum levels the playing field by giving all children the benefits of physical activity and sport," she said.

"This report aims to support our schools to raise the quality of PE for all children and young people."

She said the DoE will work with schools "to consider and act upon the next steps in the report".

By Robbie Meredith

Source: BBC News

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