New school sports partnership established as children stop exercising during lockdown

Local sports education organisations have teamed up to create a new school sports partnership to combat the losses of exercise and education during lockdown.

The Harlequins Foundation, Kingston University and education non-profit Sport Impact have collaborated to launch the initiative, called ‘Move.Learn.Grow’.

The program will see experienced sport teachers, coaches and educators from the organisations working together to provide primary schools in London with unique active learning opportunities.

Harlequins Foundation Head Marc Leckie said: “You can deliver activities that involve movement and play and still embed the core curriculum within lessons.

“We’re really about developing the skills of young people to support them as they go through school, especially in the wake of Covid. We want to apply whatever academic skills they learn as effectively as possible.

“If a school or child has a need to be addressed, like literacy or numeracy, we can tailor the program to improve those skills. Equally, we can tailor it to develop life skills like speaking, listening and problem solving, while having fun at the same time.”

Mr Leckie believes the benefits of this initiative can also be reproduced and reinforced at home.

He added: “I would encourage parents to involve themselves with their children’s games. Encourage them to pick a book or film that they’re really excited about, make up a game or activity around it and then let their imagination run away with it.

“This is something I’ve done with my own kids as well as in schools and it’s worked really well.”

The initiative has been introduced after Sport England reported that just 19% of children were exercising for a recommended minimum of one hour during lockdown.

Even prior to the pandemic, London Sport reported 29% of school-aged children in the capital doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity each day. 

The foundation hopes to combine academic education and physical activity to combat these losses.

The school sports partnership also aims to boost the confidence of teachers to deliver active learning.

Greg Dryer, Director of Kingston University’s Centre for Physical Education, Sport and Activity, said: “The demands on teachers have changed over recent months and it is more important than ever to provide them with professional support and learning so that they can confidently deliver exceptional experiences for their pupils at school.

“Move.Learn.Grow will be a leader in its field.”

For more information about Move.Learn.Grow, visit the website.

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