APPG Lewisham 3 Tint

Lack of curriculum PE is failing our children

England Athletics and partners call for political party leaders to facilitate more access to sport and physical activity to help alleviate the mental health epidemic in the UK.

Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Emmanuel Oyinbo-Coker and Olympian Donna Fraser OBE took part in a funetics session along with 40 school children from Downderry Primary School in Lewisham earlier today, as England Athletics hosted the second in a series of All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Running events.

Today’s APPG event follows on from the open letter launched by England Athletics and Partners* in October, with a further call from Kim Leadbetter MP – chair of the APPG – for MPs to recognise the need for more support for physical and mental health amongst children.

Emmanuel read the Open Letter, emphasising:

"We’re calling on all party leaders to put physical and health literacy at the heart of the future school curriculum, giving all children and young people access to high-quality PE, co-curricular activity, and community provision." 

Following the funetics activities, Kim Leadbeater MP led a conversation with the school prefects before hosting a panel session with Donna and Vicci Wells, Head of Sport at the Youth Sport Trust, on the topic of physical literacy and well-being at the heart of the curriculum.

"I get quite frustrated with the lack of political leadership in this space - really understanding the value of sport and physical activity in our communities, for our young people and for our families, is something I’m really trying to champion. We need to look at how we can do more to support our young people to be happy and healthy, to support our grass roots clubs who can do amazing things, and to take a much more holistic approach."

Kim Leadbeater MP speaking during the event,

With a clear strategic focus which places athletes and runners at the heart, funetics is one of two national participation schemes run by England Athletics targeted towards helping children and young people become more physically active. 

The Personal Best Foundation

A charity launched by England Athletics in November 2022 which uses the transformational impact of athletics to provide children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and underserved communities with the opportunity to participate and achieve their personal best, breaking down social inequalities and improving their physical, mental and social health and well-being.

England Athletics’ partners The Daily Mile supported by Ineos and London Marathon Events run a further two schemes aimed at children:

The Daily Mile is free and fun for all. Children simply run, jog, wheel or walk for 15 minutes during curriculum time. 

The TCS London Mini Marathon is an inspiring and inclusive event held the day before the prestigious adult marathon. There are various methods of schools taking part, including virtual celebrations for schools across the whole UK. 

"Sport has the potential to play a pivotal role in a child’s development across academic attainment, mental health and physical well-being and we are proud to deliver programmes aimed specifically for children in conjunction with our partners."

England Athletics CEO Chris Jones

"It was great to be at Downderry Primary School today - a huge thank you to England Athletics, The Daily Mail, London Marathon Events and the Personal Best Foundation for their collaboration on the event. Bringing organisations together to create a joined-up approach is important in achieving political change."

Kim Leadbeater MP

Today was another successful APPG event, but there is still more which can be done, so we continue our call to the political party leaders to facilitate more access to sport and physical activity to help alleviate the mental health epidemic in the UK.

*Joining England Athletics in the creation of the Open Letter, are:

Welsh Athletics
Scottish Athletics
Athletics NI
Youth Sport Trust
Sport and Recreation Alliance
London Marathon Events
The Great Run Company
The Daily Mile