Head rejects ‘not enough PE’ claim

SPORT FOR ALL... Mortimer head Clare Mullane.
SPORT FOR ALL... Mortimer head Clare Mullane.

A SOUTH Tyneside headteacher has rejected claims there is not enough strenuous activity in PE lessons.

An Ofsted report says teachers tend to talk too much in sessions and often lack specialist training.

It also found only a minority of schools play competitive sport at a high level.

But Clare Mullane, head of Mortimer Community College, a specialist sports college in Reading Road, South Shields, said: “Sport in school is a vital part of the school curriculum.

“Young people at Mortimer Community College get their statutory entitlement in PE and have the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of sports, from the traditional football and netball to the Technogym.

“It is important that young people have access to a variety of sports and activities, not just in a competitive arena – sports they can take on into an active adult life.

“This has been made harder for schools, both at primary and secondary levels, as funding has been cut, especially with the demise of the School Sports Partnerships.

“However, the Schools Games Organisers, based at Mortimer Community College and Boldon School, have worked tirelessly to ensure there is a greater access to competitive sport.”

Ofsted praised School Sports Partnerships for maximising participation and increasing competition, but the programme has suffered severe cuts.

The education watchdog has called for a new national strategy, building on their success.

Chief Inspector of Schools Sir Michael Wilshaw said: “Generally, PE in our schools is in good health, but there are some issues the report highlights as areas for improvement.

“In particular, we found there often wasn’t enough physical, strenuous activity in PE lessons.”

Ofsted inspectors visited 120 primary and 110 secondary schools over four years.

Most were found to be providing at least two hours of PE a week for children aged five to 14.

The Government said its draft PE curriculum, published last week, will put competitive sport back at the heart of school life.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “We want all children to be given the opportunities they need to be fit and healthy.

“The draft PE curriculum is designed to put competitive sport back at the heart of school life and end the damaging ‘prizes for all’ culture.

“We are also extending the School Games and spending £1bn on youth sport over the next five years.”

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