A Huddersfield – based sports Education Company has invested £200,000 to launch a campaign to help primary schools across the UK tackle obesity among pupils by increasing their levels of participation in physical activity.
Sporting Age has launched the campaign in line with results released in October from the annual National Child Measurement Programme which shoes that one in 25 children in year six of primary school are so overweight that they are classed as obese.
Sporting Age founders Shaun Fox, Andrea Springthorpe and Jonny Nolan have created a digital platform which uses data from a series of pupil benchmarking tests to produce stage-appropriate PE lesson plans that ensure schoolchildren are being taught at the correct level of ability in PE.
Mr Fox explained: “The National Child Measurement programme results show that a record number of 10 and 11 year-olds are now classed as severely obese.
“We firmly believe that a lack of confidence and competence in fundamental movement skills among some children is a significant contributor to these statistics.”
Ms Springthorpe added: “Many UK primary schools conduct what are commonly known as reading age benchmarking tests. They help teachers and parents identify the correct level of reading material for each child to develop their early years.
“We have developed Sporting Age in a similar vein. It will enable schools to consistently benchmark and identify levels of physical ability to ensure each pupil is participating in regular physical activity that is being taught at the correct level for them.”
Mr Nolan added: “The government announced on 2 October that it will review what steps can be taken to support schools to ensure that every child can participate in the sport and physical activity that is right for them.
“However, it is unlikely that we will start to see more children participating confidently in physical activity at school unless we begin to benchmark their level of ability and deliver lessons that are set at the correct level for them.
Schools have to be the catalyst for this, and Sporting Age will help them to improve and uptake of healthy, active lifestyle choices among pupils to tackle obesity and increase levels of physical literacy across Yorkshire and beyond.”