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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 July, 2004, 00:48 GMT 01:48 UK
PE scheme 'helping school sport'
Swimming lesson
Inspectors called for more emphasis on physical fitness
Secondary school pupils are spending more time on sport and PE because of a government scheme, a report suggests.

Ofsted, the education watchdog, found 80% of those aged 11 to 14 at schools under the School Sport Partnerships did two hours of exercise a week or more.

For those not taking part, the figure was 62%. Ofsted said the partnerships showed "promising signs".

Some 222 partnerships, involving almost 2,000 schools, have been set up in England since the scheme began in 2000.


Each partnership, involving a whole town or area, has a full-time development manager and receives an average annual grant of 270,000.

One teacher from each secondary school is released for two days a week to take on the role of school sport co-ordinator.

Another from each primary or special school is released for 12 days a year to allow them to become "link" teachers, improving continuity between age groups and sharing teaching methods.

The aim is to encourage children to keep doing sport when they move into secondary education.

In recent years, there has been concern over rising levels of inactivity and obesity.

The Ofsted report found links between schools were "good" in more than half of the primaries and about a quarter of secondary schools visited.

Some 19% of pupils covered by a partnership participated in a sports club with links to the school.

Some partnerships were also starting to address concerns about pupil fitness by offering daily "huff and puff" activity sessions before classes each day.

'Room for improvement'

But inspectors recommended more emphasis generally on health and fitness.

The amount of extra-curricular activity on offer was also "uneven", Ofsted said.

David Bell, the chief inspector of schools in England, said: "It is great to see the government and schools encouraging children to take more exercise."

"However, not all schools involved in the partnerships are yet benefiting as progress and priorities in schools remain uneven and the report identifies much room for improvement."

The 222 partnerships across England involve 244 secondary schools and 1,535 primary/special schools.

The scheme, funded by the Department for Education and Skills and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, will be extended nationally in September 2006.

Ofsted's findings were based on a study of 59partnerships.

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