Page last updated at 15:21 GMT, Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Stepping up schools' PE provision

MSPs on the Scottish Parliament's education committee have been been looking at levels of PE provision in schools across the country.

Inspectors have warned that many schools are not delivering the two-hours-a-week target set by ministers five years ago.

The BBC Scotland news website has been speaking to two teenagers at a secondary school in North Lanarkshire where efforts are being made to encourage more enthusiasm for physical education.

Laura Robertson and Amanda Cockburn
The girls have been doing body attack classes as part of their PE curriculum

"We have been doing body attack classes, body combat, aerobics and yoga. It is knackering, but it's good fun," said Laura Robertson.

She and her fellow third year classmates at Cardinal Newman High School in Bellshill have been taking part in a project run by the local council and the North Lanarkshire Leisure aimed at getting more teenage girls involved in sports.

Fitness motivators from local gyms have been taking PE classes in 18 schools in the area offering new activities including dancing, cheerleading and bodyjam sessions.

Laura added: "It is very uplifting. We all get to take part in the classes together.

"I feel like I am really benefiting from it.

"It feels like I'm losing weight and getting more fit and active."

Amanda Cockburn is another of the pupils taking part in the programme.

She said: "There's a big difference between this and our normal PE lessons.

"It is a lot more active because we can all get involved.

"We don't have to wait our turn like we did with things like trampolining, where maybe one week someone would get a chance and someone else would have to wait until the next class.

Increasing take-up

She added: "The fitness motivators make a real difference. They encourage you to do activities that you would not normally do.

"They are really bubbly and make you happy to take part in the PE lessons."

As well increasing the take-up of sports within schools in North Lanarkshire, the programme also aims to encourage pupils to carry on with a fitness regime when they leave school.

And the if the attitude of these girls is anything to go by, it seems to be working.

"I would definitely think about joining a gym now and doing more exercise outside school," said Laura.

And Amanda added: "I had never thought about joining a gym before, but now I know what the classes are like and how good they make you feel I would seriously consider it."

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