Petition to make PE a core subject: Government response
The Department for Education has issued an official response to the petition calling for government to ‘Make PE a core subject from KS1-KS5 with a minimum of 2hrs allocated weekly’.
The government’s response:
“It is important all schools teach PE which, since 2014, has been the only national curriculum foundation subject mandatory at all 4 key stages. We have no current plans to change the curriculum.
PE has been a part of the National Curriculum since 1988. Since September 2014, PE has been the only foundation subject which is statutory at all four key stages of education. The PE national curriculum is designed to ensure that all pupils develop competence to excel in a broad range of physical activities, are physically active for sustained periods of time and lead healthy and active lives.
The Government agrees that it is important for all schools to offer PE and sporting activities to their pupils throughout their time at school. PE and sport can make an important long-term contribution to health and building character. We have set an ambition under our Childhood Obesity Plan that primary pupils should be given the opportunity to do 30 minutes of the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day while at school. PE and sport receives significant specific funding with £320m a year provided to primary schools through the PE and Sport Premium.
We have no plans to change the PE curriculum requirement but are taking a number of steps to support schools to provide PE and wider opportunities for pupils to be active. We are introducing a new basic curriculum requirement for all schools to teach health education across all four compulsory key stages from September 2020. There will be opportunities to link thins new requirement to the provision of PE and activities.
The Education Act 2002 prohibits the Secretary of State for Education from prescribing the amount of time to be spent on any curriculum subject, including PE. The National Foundation for Educational Research Teacher Voice Omnibus Survey, January 2017 shows that PE is the subject with the third highest amount of teaching time in primary schools. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/584503/Teacher_Voice_Summer_2016_Report_Final.pdf
While academies and free schools are not required to follow the National Curriculum, they must provide a broad and balanced curriculum that “promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils”. In practice this means that they provide PE.
It is up to schools to decide which sports or physical activities they choose to teach as part of their curriculum. The only required activities in the National Curriculum programmes of study for PE are swimming (in key stage 1 or 2) and dance (all key stages).
Our teacher workforce census indicated that in November 2010, the number of hours taught in PE to pupils in state funded secondary schools, was 333,800 hours. For 2017, this same statistic was 282,200 hours.
However the same 2017 census showed that PE was the fourth highest subject in terms of hours taught in secondary (after Maths, English and Science). The figures do not cover the time dedicated to extra-curricular sport or other physical activity done outside of formal lessons.
We will publish a School Sport Action Plan later this year to support schools in tackling the challenge of inactivity in our children and young people. It will set out further steps to support schools to train their teachers to deliver high quality provision in school and ensure that every child can participate in the sport and physical activity that is right for them.”
Department for Education.
You can view the petition and the government’s online response here.
At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.