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Last Updated: Monday, 14 June, 2004, 10:15 GMT 11:15 UK
PE teachers set to jump by 400
Boy playing basketball
The executive believes children will benefit from specialist help
Plans have been announced to recruit another 400 physical education teachers to schools in Scotland.

All pupils will receive at least two hours of PE each week as part of the Scottish Executive's drive to improve fitness levels.

More than 600 "active school co-ordinators" will also be in post by 2007, Education Minister Peter Peacock said.

The announcement is the government response to the PE Review Group report.

Mr Peacock promised to give pupils a wider choice of activities - such as martial arts, aerobics and dancing - as part of their PE lessons.

Sportscotland has been battling for two hours of high quality PE in schools for several years
Alastair Dempster
sportscotland
He said: "I want more and more young people to have the opportunity to be engaged by sport, to have greater choice in the activities they pursue and to be inspired by their PE teachers - just as I was.

"We all know the benefits that flow from a healthy lifestyle and school has a major part to play in ensuring every young person is more active."

The minister admitted: "I know that revamping PE alone cannot make Scots more active.

"But it can make activity more attractive and, coupled with existing initiatives, ensure future generations have solid foundations for lifelong engagement in sports and a healthier life."

'Huge breakthrough'

The Scottish Executive has billed the change as "the biggest boost to school physical education for generations".

Alastair Dempster, chairman of sportscotland, said the announcement was a "fantastic news for sport and physical activity".

"Sportscotland has been battling for two hours of high quality PE in schools for several years and it is one of the key targets in Sport 21, Scotland's national strategy for sport," he continued.

School sports
Coach potatoes are being shown the red card
By the age of 16, two-thirds of girls and a third of boys are not taking the minimum level of activity recommended for good health - a cumulative one hour every day for most days of the week.

The keep fit drive, published during a visit by Mr Peacock to Lasswade High School, follows a major review of PE by a group chaired by North Lanarkshire Council education director Michael O'Neill.

The group was set up in 2002, following a previous task force report in June that year which recommended that all pupils should receive a minimum of two hours quality physical education classes a week.

Mr O'Neill said: " I am sure that, over the next few years, the importance of these recommendations will lead to significant improvements in both the levels of participation in PE and in the quality of provision."

Earlier this year First Minister Jack McConnell described as "horrifying" statistics which revealed that by the age of 12, almost one in five children in Scotland (18%) are clinically obese compared with one in five 15-year-olds in England and Wales and America.


SEE ALSO:
Plan of action to get country fit
08 Jun 04  |  Scotland
Unions get exercised over PE plan
30 May 04  |  Scotland
Fat Scots youngsters targeted
29 Dec 03  |  Scotland
Childhood obesity plea to parents
06 Jan 04  |  Scotland
Do we need to take more exercise?
04 May 04  |  Politics


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