The Sports and Physical Education Association (SPE) has engaged with the Sports and Recreation Alliance (SRA) and The Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition (CYPMHC) to promote funding for PE in secondary schools.
A General Election Sport & Physical Activity Hustings, organised by the SRA and UK active, was held on the 3rd December 2019 with representatives from each of the three main parties attending. The SPE who also attended, shared their manifesto to restore PE in secondary schools with those at the event. The manifesto calls upon the government to extend the ‘sugar tax’ to include secondary schools, empower secondary school staff to be able to prioritise PE in their time tables and that a renewed emphasis on secondary PE is created and maintained. The full Manifesto can be viewed here.
All three speakers outlined the elements of their parties’ manifestos which related to sport and activity – it was highlighted that all were rather light on this issue. The speakers were questioned about the importance of school sports and PE as well as the lack of funding. Tom Watson, Labour, was in favour of a gambling levy and mentioned an investment into school training, ensuring schools have trained PE teachers / coaches to tackle inactivity issues. Lord Addington, Lib Dems, reiterated the urgent need for investment and that they want to relook at initiatives like schools’ sports partnerships, to encourage and train teachers and children for long term engagement. And Nick King, Conservatives, highlighted that the school sports premium has delivered results, that they must continue to develop and that they will continue to push for the target of one hour a day.
When questioned if their party would commit to the School Sports Premium after 2020, none were able to provide a figure or dates, but all committed to supporting the plan fully or partially.
Alongside attending the event, The SPE launched their manifesto to coincide with a highly successful social media campaign led by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) and CYPMHC. The campaign, #ChildrenAtTheHeart, called on election candidates to put children at the front of their investment queue and was supported by large organisations such as Young Minds UK and Action for Children. The launch of the Manifesto was seen by over 500 people across Twitter and LinkedIn.
The partnerships with the SRA and CYPMHC have been very successful for the SPE and helps ensure PE is pushed up the political agenda going forward.