Since children and young people spend a large amount of time in their day at school, the school environment represents many opportunities for the promotion and facilitation of physical activity (e.g. PE, extracurricular sports).
In the UK, it is recommended that schools provide 120 minutes (2 hours) of physical education on average per week. In addition, research has shown that more physical activity opportunities offered at school (excluding PE) is linked to higher levels of physical activity in children and young people (Carlson et al. 2013). It is therefor important for schools to offer extracurricular opportunitites to encourage more active pupils.
The benchmarks for this indicator relate to physical activity opportunities at school and physical education. The Research Work Group used data on, (1) the percentage of schools that offer physical activity opportunities (excluding PE) to the majority of their pupils; (2) the percentage of schools with sufficient facilities/equipment to support pupils’ physical activity and sport; (3) the percentage of schools where teachers were confident in delivering quality PE lessons; (4) the percentage of children that believe PE lessons and school sport help them to have a healthy lifestyle; to allocate a grade to this indicator.
A nationally representative data source was used by the Research Work Group to assign a School grade. School Physical Education Coordinators and children’s responses from the School Sport Survey (2015) were synthesised.
The School Sport Survey (2015) provides data on 115,398 children aged 7-16 years old from across Wales. Further, the 2015 Survey also provides data from 914 physical education coordinators from primary and secondary schools in Wales.
In total, 60% of primary schools and 80% of secondary schools provide a wide variety of extracurricular sport and dance opportunities to all pupils. This provision includes health, fitness and wellbeing activities, competitive activities, creative activities, and adventure activities. On average, primary schools provide 11 different extracurricular activities for pupils, and secondary schools provide 16 different extracurricular activities.
Physical education staff reported that 70% of primary and 62% of secondary schools agreed that the school had sufficient access to facilities to provide sport, and that 54% of primary and 50% of secondary schools owned sports facilities that were of high quality. Further, 73% of primary and 71% of secondary schools agreed that they had access to sufficient equipment to provide quality physical education and sport.
77% of primary and 85% of secondary schools reported teachers were confident in delivering quality physical education lessons in school.
From the children's perspective, 62% of children (64% boys, 60% girls) reported that physical education lessons and school sport had really helped them to have a healthy lifestyle.
With the current evidence in mind, schools were well resourced and the Research Work Group assigned a grade B to the school indicator.