Sports Minister Mims Davies calls for increase to school sport levels

Only 17.5% of children meet recommended guidelines for daily activity levels according to research
Only 17.5% of children meet recommended guidelines for daily activity levels according to research

Sport and physical activity must be put "on a par with reading and writing", says Sports Minister Mims Davies.

In her first major sport speech since taking on the role in November, Davies will call for schools to ensure children are "physically literate".

Davies, 43, says children must be given "fundamental" skills needed in order to build "a sporting habit for life".

The minister will also call for more women's sport on television as current levels are "too much of a novelty".

Davies, who succeeded Tracey Crouch in the role, will speak at UK Sport's launch of their future funding strategy on Tuesday and outline three priorities she hopes to tackle in her role.

They are harnessing sporting excellence to inspire the nation, fostering a culture of integrity and fairness, and increasing engagement and physical activity.

"I am issuing a call to action for all organisations, big and small, across the sport and physical activity sector," Davies' speech will read.

"As a minimum, schools must ensure children are physically literate. They need to learn how to run, jump, throw, catch. All of these things are fundamental to building a sporting habit for life.

"To achieve this we need schools to deliver high quality sport and physical activity throughout the school day and ensure that all children have a positive first experience of sport.

"It is time to put sport and physical activity on a par with reading and writing."

In December, a Sport England surveyexternal-link found about 43% of children led active lives but only 17.5% meet recommended guidelines of 60 minutes of activity a day, every day of the week.

Over 130,000 children aged 5-16 took part in the research.

Rosena Allin-Khan tweet
Labour MP for Tooting Rosena Allin-Khan said the announcement contradicts government policy

Davies says a new cross-government plan will be published to increase activity levels and she will encourage clubs across the country to make it easier for individuals to book on to a sporting activity.

In her speech, Davies will also welcome changes to athlete welfare implemented by UK Sport and will also address doping, having spoken to athlete representatives since taking up her role.

"I have had discussions with UK Anti-Doping, UK Sport and the World Anti-Doping Agency," Davies' speech states.

"I am clear that we need to see long-term, strategic changes to ensure increased transparency in the anti-doping system, so that we all have confidence in Wada's future work and the integrity of sport."


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