Yorkshire schools get to grips with sporting drive to tackle obesity

Pupils from across Yorkshire taking part in an ACES summer camp.Pupils from across Yorkshire taking part in an ACES summer camp.
Pupils from across Yorkshire taking part in an ACES summer camp.
A Yorkshire sports education company has launched a major campaign to help schools across the region fulfil new government guidelines designed to tackle obesity among young children.

Active Community Education in Sport (ACES), based in Brighouse, is working with primaries to launch its ‘PE and health ratings table’, a tool designed to help teachers assess current levels of sporting activity and identify areas for improvement in order to fulfil the Government’s new Voluntary Healthy Rating.

Led by the Department of Health, the new rating, which will be taken into account as part of a school’s overall Ofsted score, has been launched to encourage primary schools to help reduce obesity among pupils by creating opportunities for healthier eating and increased physical activity throughout the day.

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According to the latest Government guidance on childhood obesity, almost a third of UK children aged two to 15 are overweight or obese, with younger generations becoming obese at an earlier age.

To help fund the initiative, it was announced in July that schools across Yorkshire and the UK will receive an additional £6,000 per academic year, starting this month, as part of their PE and sport premium package to fund access to education in these areas.

Kyle Dench, the founder and company director at ACES, said: “Physical activity levels within schools will be a key measure as part of the new scheme, and schools will need to demonstrate what they are doing to encourage their pupils to be more physically active.

“Ofsted inspectors will expect to see pupils making informed choices about physical activity, so it’s important that schools can evidence their culture towards promoting PE as part of their pupils’ welfare.”

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In addition to the launch of its PE and health ratings table, ACES is working with schools to advise on how pupils can achieve the minimum 30 minutes of ‘moderate to vigorous’ physical activity per day that is outlined as a requirement of the scheme.

Mr Dench added: “ACES is encouraging schools across Yorkshire to get ahead of the game with the Voluntary Healthy Rating.

“We’ve already been working with schools across Leeds and Wakefield to educate staff and improve their confidence in teaching PE, as well as helping them to create PE impact reports that can then be used during the Ofsted inspection process.”

One school working under the guidance of ACES is Primrose Hill Primary School in Pudsey, Leeds. Research carried out by ACES and the school’s PE coordinator, Ian Larkin, in the academic year 2015/16, identified a need for more structured PE delivery within the school and more opportunities for pupils to participate in organised play at lunch times and after school.

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Mr Larkin said: “To help improve physical activity levels at lunchtimes, we delivered a playground leaders workshop to Year 5 students, encouraging them to take responsibility for and lead sporting and play activities at lunchtime.

“We have also created seven new sports clubs as part of an after-school programme.

“As a result of our work so far, we have managed to increase activity levels in PE lessons by an average of seven minutes per lesson.”