Mental Health and the importance of PE, Sport and Physical Activity in schools

Growing and powerful evidence of the positive link between physical activity and improved mental health is building awareness of the need to provide children and young people with ample opportunities for sport and exercise. The importance of providing a broad curriculum in schools which includes sport, outdoor play and physical activity is clear.

A rich and exciting physical education is essential for children and teenagers, not only for those most vulnerable to suffering from mental health problems, but for all young people.
Through PE, children express themselves physically, challenge themselves and others, cooperate, compete and take risks. Physical Education helps to develop resilience, empathy, confidence and social skills – all vital for good mental health.

Activity also releases energy, enabling young people to ‘let off steam’ which helps to lower anxiety levels. The sense of the achievement that is often experienced by students can also make a significant contribution to positive mental health. Sport and physical activity affect the chemistry of the brain, improving mood both in the short and longer term. A positive PE experience at school can have a lasting impact on the mental health of young people for the rest of their lives.

However, evidence from the Sports and Physical Education Association (SPE) shows that at secondary school level, physical education is being squeezed out of the curriculum and increasingly, sport is not at the heart of secondary school life.

Primary and Secondary PE Provision

A recent survey* commissioned by SPE suggests that, while primary schools’ PE provision has been relatively well-funded thanks to the soft drinks levy or ‘sugar tax’, the same level of funding has not been available to secondary schools.

A number of Heads of Department in secondary schools responded to the survey; the sentiments expressed here were echoed by many others and suggest that secondary schools’ PE provision is in crisis:

“PE is becoming less of a priority and something that I feel is impacting upon young people’s mental health, especially as the pressure of GCSE and examination subjects increases. As a school we do well with what we have. but a significant shift in the last five years is having an detrimental effect on student health and fitness especially at KS4. I feel education in general is being stretched and that staff goodwill is more and more relied upon to fill the gaps that are being left. This is unsustainable and will force staff to push back against the constant increased demand placed upon them.”

“PE is being squeezed and with really poor facilities we are struggling to make the subject appealing to young people. We face a crisis in terms of involvement for the ‘mobile phone generation’.”

“PE has declined in importance in terms of fitness and is not a whole school priority anymore.”

*Based on survey responses from 161 primary and 154 secondary schools, Oct 2019

Flicx: 2G Flicx Pitches are supporting Cricket Australia’s new Junior Formats

Flicx have just supplied a container of 2G Flicx Pitches to clubs in Australia as part of their innovative plans to grow the junior game. Pilot projects of the new junior formats have seen hugely positive results with shorter pitches meaning more good games, more runs and wickets and more FUN!

As part of the pilot in 2018, Cricket Australia (CA) engaged Flicx UK to assist in providing an alternative playing surface whilst allowing multiple games to be played at a single venue. With the growth of junior cricket, more and more clubs and associations are looking at an alternative to the traditional centre wicket. Temporary pitch solutions ease the pressure on junior competition managers and associations by allowing multiple games to be played at a single venue. The new partnership with Cricket Australia sees an approved product, the 2G Flicx Junior Multi-Age Pitch, promoted to clubs and councils on an opt-in basis with a subsidised price. The improved 2G technology from Flicx provides a consistent bounce and offers turn to spinners when rolled out on a firm, flat area. Batsmen can play their shots in confidence and its quick and easy for club volunteers to roll out the pitch ahead of matches and training. The star quality of the 2G Flicx Pitch, however, is its versatility so clubs, councils and schools have the option of using the same product in the nets, indoors or even for beach cricket!

With green spaces at a premium and multi-use sports areas being stretched – the 2G Flicx Pitch is a real problem solver as it’s a temporary solution which requires minimal ground preparation and maintenance and is very durable making it a great investment. The pitch selected by Cricket Australia will enable clubs to host stage 1 (U11s) and stage 2 (U13s) games just by moving the stumps.

“The ever-growing junior cricket landscape demands more facilities and facility optimisation, with the 2G MAP Flicx Pitch; this allows more games to be played, more often with a strong alignment to the Australian Cricket Formats” commented James Liggins, Junior Pathway Support Officer at CA. Clubs from Perth to the far north of Queensland as well as the busy urban city areas of Melbourne and Sydney are the first to benefit this year – with pilot project results on the 2G Flicx Pitch being very encouraging from a usability and performance perspective.

For more information on this partnership visit: https://flicx.com/flicx-pitches-heading-to-australia/

The EU Commission has recently published 17 standards in the Official Journal of the European Union

These standards now provide a presumption of conformity with the general safety requirement set out in Directive 2001/95/EC on General Product Safety. The following sporting goods products are affected: gymnastic equipment, bicycles, stationary training equipment and floating leisure articles for use on and in the water.

The General Product Safety Directive imposes general safety requirements for any product put on the market for consumers or for any product that is likely to be used by them.

A product is considered to be safe once it conforms to the safety provisions in European legislation, or, in the absence of such rules, if it complies with the specific national regulations of the member state where it is being marketed or sold. The product is also considered to be safe if it complies with the European standard established according to the procedures in this GPSD, but a risk assessment report is required.

Thus, if you are manufacturing products covered by the new harmonized standards, you can use these standards to demonstrate that your products comply with the safety requirements of the GPSD. Since those standards are quite recent, it should be enough, but the Commission nonetheless recommends checking if there are additional rules at national level covering the products.

Please also note that the use of harmonized standards is not mandatory. Manufacturers can demonstrate that their products meet the safety requirements of the Directive in other ways. However, harmonized standards provide a presumption of conformity (with the safety requirements they are covering). Hence, if your product respects the relevant standard it should automatically be considered as meeting the safety requirements of the GPSD.

More details: 

Please find attached/or website the Commission’s implementing decision granting 17 standards presumption of conformity with the general safety requirement of the General Product Safety Directive. Please find below the list of standards published which should be of interest to the sporting goods industry:

  • EN 913:2018 Gymnastic equipment — General safety requirements and test methods
  • EN ISO 4210-2-2015 Cycles — Safety requirements for bicycles — Requirements for city and trekking, young adult, mountain and racing bicycles
  • EN ISO 4210-6-2015 Cycles — Safety requirements for bicycles — Frame and fork test methods
  • EN ISO 20957-4:2016 Stationary training equipment: Strength training benches, additional specific safety requirements and test methods
  • EN ISO 20957-5:2016 Stationary training equipment: Stationary exercise bicycles and upper body crank training equipment, additional specific safety requirements and test methods
  • EN ISO 20957-8:2017 Stationary training equipment: Steppers, stair climbers and climbers — Additional specific safety requirements and test methods
  • EN ISO 20957-9:2017 Stationary training equipment: Elliptical trainers, additional specific safety requirements and test methods
  • EN ISO 20957-10:2017 Stationary training equipment: Exercise bicycles with a fixed wheel or without freewheel — Additional specific safety requirements and test method
  • EN ISO 25649:2017 Floating leisure articles for use on and in the water

If you need further information, please contact Jane Montgomery – Email: jane@sportsandplay.com

Harrod Sports: Rugby World Cup 2019 Suppliers

2019 is set to be an incredible year for international rugby, with eyes already looking towards the World Cup in September. With previously supplying and delivering the Rugby Posts to the last two tournaments, New Zealand and England, Harrod Sport were hopeful of repeating this at the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup.

In March 2016, Japanese distributor Kofu visited the UK to sign a deal as the first, and exclusive Harrod Sport distributor for Japan. Following on from this, Kofu received the contract to install Harrod Sport’s 17m Millennium Rugby Posts in all 12 host stadia for the Rugby World Cup.

In February 2017, Harrod Sport’s Sales Manager John Robinson visited Japan to oversee the installation and erection of the first set of posts at The Ecopa Stadium in Fukuroi. He was given the great honour of taking to the full-sized pitch and kicking the first goal through the new posts (even if it was in his socks). John Robinson and Kevin Utton returned to Japan in 2018 to visit Osaka for a Turf Summit. They were asked to present to the Rugby World Cup organising committee and all the grounds managers of the 12 host stadiums. Whilst visiting, they were also introduced to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic competition mangers to discuss Harrod Sport’s future involvement in Japan in 2020.

Harrod Sport are immensely proud of their fantastic relationship with Kofu which has grown from strength to strength throughout the past 3 years. They are honoured to be able to say they will be the exclusive supplier of Rugby Posts to the 2019 World Cup and look forward to an exciting future for Harrod Sport in Japan. Where performance and quality is essential, Harrod Sport continue to be the No.1 choice worldwide.

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