Addressing industry delegates at Leisure Industry Week in Birmingham, Dean Horridge said that the way we engage the younger generation with physical activity in the UK was “terribly wrong”, and that some children left primary school without learning to catch – but were then expected to play cricket in secondary school.
He said that while it was commendable that the government has made Sport England responsible for the out of school activity for children five and above, as opposed to its previous requirement of 14-plus, but emphasised that the quango would need to work with a wide selection of partners to successfully engage a good proportion of children.
The government’s obesity strategy – which lays out the requirement that children should participate in 30 minutes of physical activity in school – had increased the urgency to engage children, said Horridge, but the focus had to be on “fun activities” like tag, rather than structured team sports.
Fit For Sport will launch its Healthy Active School system in January 2017, which measures the physical fitness of children. In the pilot stage – where one million kids were challenged over a three-year period, 67 per cent were unable to do continuous star-jumping for one minute.