PE Sport and Physical Activity in Scotland and beyond

Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

New Case Studies on LTS PE website

Posted by drilly on June 13, 2008

There are 2 new case studies on the LTS PE website the first is about Sports Leaders at Northfield Academy the second is about Sports partnerships in Dumfries and Galloway.

Posted in Education, Health, Physical Activity, Physical Education, Secondary PE, Sport, Teaching, web resources | Leave a Comment »

Improves Brain Function: Just One of Many Claims We Hold Dear in PE

Posted by drilly on June 8, 2008

I recently read this article which suggests findings that most PE teachers have held true for decades. Exercise and fitness has much wider benefits than weight management and physical health. The article states:

“It turns out that physical activity actually turns on hormonal support systems in your brain. The activation of these systems strengthens brain circuits that you already have and helps you develop new ones.

Exercise causes a rise in several growth factors in the brain that are responsible for helping brain cells survive and divide into new brain cells, or neurons. Only a couple of brain regions can produce new neurons and exercise increases the amount and rate of neuron production in these regions.

The hippocampus plays a critical role in learning, memory and attention. Exercise induces new neuron growth in the hippocampus and improves performance on several types of cognitive tasks.

Folks that exercise regularly know that they are much more capable of handling stress throughout their day than they are when they don’t exercise. This is, in part, because exercise and stress have opposite effects on the hippocampus and exercise improves your ‘buffer’ to handle the stress.

Studies also show that in addition to exercise’s protective role, it is a valuable therapeutic tool for brain function. Fitness training improves cognitive functions relative to planning, scheduling, task coordination and attention. ”                                                               Originally uploaded by

I can relate to many of the ideas suggested in the article I know how great I feel after a doing some enjoyable physical activity and the release I get form a hard physical work out. I only wish the article sighted some of the research that it alludes to so I can confirm the veracity of the claims.

This also tends to be the problem with physical education we make a number of claims about the benefits of the subject  most of which are anecdotal and founded on our intuition, observation and belief that it is inherently good. However that is normally as far as it goes research is limited especially in Scotland. Some of us are impassioned about promoting our subject and feel we are having to fight to secure a significant proportion of time in schools curricula. However we have limited proof of the benefits other than the anecdotal. What we need is hard evidence to back up the claims we make about the benefits of PE.

A small minority of enlightened teachers have done or are starting to do some small scale research in their schools. Practitioner based research has the potential to be a powerful medium to inform our colleagues but would it have any standing with the Government or Local Authorities? I would be interested to hear from any colleagues who have or are undertaking any research relevant to PE in Scottish schools.



Posted in Education, fitness, Health, Physical Activity, Physical Education, Research, Scottish Government, Teaching | 1 Comment »

Non Competitive play leads to more Physical Activity but is it less enjoyable?

Posted by drilly on June 6, 2008

Here is an interesting article that raises questions about the organisation of PE and physical activity for children. The research shows that children who were involved in non competitive games were more active than children who were involved in competitive games. However as you dig deeper you discover that the competitive games were all elimination games e.g. when you lose, or are caught or make a mistake you are out of the game (ie not being active) as opposed to the non competitive games where there was no elimination. I wonder what the results would have shown if the competitive games had been non elimination games?

What was also interesting is that the children were surveyed for self-efficacy, enjoyment, and peer victimisation following both types of games. Results showed that enjoyment was higher following competitive games, although enjoyment scores were high in non-elimination games as well. There were no reports of peer victimisation in either set of games, but were significant increases in self-efficacy after both sets.

The key messages for me are that competition is important for enjoyment, if handled correctly, however we need to promote non elimination games to ensure the highest levels of activity as well. I have expressed my views on competition before in a previous post. The study also highlights the positive benefits from activity within the childrens affective domain and the positive benefits to mental health.

There is also a link within the article to another interesting article ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT HIGHER AMONG MOST ACTIVE KIDS Vigorous Physical Activity Linked to Better Grades The research shows that examination of activity and physical education (PE) compared to academic achievement shows the most active kids more often have better grades.

This begs the question if PE and physical activity (don’t get me started on the difference between them) can have such positive and wide ranging benefits and in light of our appalling obesity and health record in Scotland why are we still having to fight so hard to justify it having a significant time allocation in the curricula of many learning establishments!

Posted in fitness, Health, obesity, Physical Activity, Physical Education, Research | Leave a Comment »

Human Kinetics UKPE Newsletter June 2008

Posted by drilly on June 5, 2008

The June edition of the Human Kinetics UKPE Newsletter has just been published and features the following:


  • Product of the month…
  • Learn how to use technology to increase physical activity
  • Help your pupils bounce their way to fun and fitness
  • New career guide from BASES and Human Kinetics
  • Largest school sport event in history
  • Protective parents deny children the chance to get on their bikes
  • Government gives green light to National Sports Skills Academy
  • Exercise ‘does not make obese children slim’
  • Design your own play space: Ministers launch website to get kids’ views on play
  • Obesity crisis ‘will lead to children having their stomachs stapled’
  • Posted in Education, Health, Learning, obesity, Physical Activity, Physical Education, Resources, Sport, Teaching | Leave a Comment »

    Scoptland Performs a New Government website

    Posted by drilly on June 2, 2008

    The Scottish Government have launched a new website Scotland Performs 

    “The website will allow people to find out whether the Scottish nation is becoming wealthier, safer, healthier, greener and smarter. Visitors to the Scotland Performs website will be presented with highly visual and easy to understand pages. They will have quick access to information about the quality of life in Scotland, and where thing are getting better and where things are getting worse.”

    Read the full article here

    Posted in Health, Scottish Government, Uncategorized, web resources | Leave a Comment »

    Human Kinetics News letters

    Posted by drilly on May 25, 2008

    Human Kinetics UKPE April Newsletter contains some interesting articles and references to resources summary below

    ·  International Dance Day discount!

    ·  Help your pupils learn essential social skills through character-building activities

    ·  Achieve maximum fun and fitness in PE lessons with new physical education resource

    ·  Parents ‘too scared to let children play outside’

    ·  £5.5m plan to inspire new generation of Billy Elliots in schools

    ·  Obese children to die younger than parents

    ·  Labour’s 187 broken promises on playing field sales

    ·  Heart disease risk ‘increases for children who are inactive’

    ·  School-gate fast food ban urged

    ·  More children are watching junk-food adverts despite ban

    There is also lots of lots of interesting reading and resources identified in the April FitNews the April Academic News the May FitNews and the May Academic News. Happy reading

    Posted in Dance, Education, fitness, Health, obesity, Physical Activity, Physical Education, Research, Resources, Sport, Teaching | Leave a Comment »

    New PE videos on Teachers TV

    Posted by drilly on May 22, 2008

    In the first video Estelle Morris meets Sue Campbell, who has been given the task of completely reinvigorating British sport, to discuss the importance of sport to school children.

    The second video looks at how a primary school teacher has introduced Yoga into her teaching.

    Posted in Health, Physical Activity, Physical Education, Resources, Sport, Teaching, web resources | Leave a Comment »

    Health and Wellbeing the outcomes are here.

    Posted by drilly on May 14, 2008

    The CfE Health and Wellbeing outcomes were released yesterday and can be down loaded here

    Don’t forget to download the”Health and wellbeing for all” paper as well as the actual outcomes. The following section is reproduced from the paper and sets out the current position on PE in Scotland. It seems pretty positive to me.

    “Physical education provides the foundation for the development of concepts and skills necessary for participation in physical activity. It should inspire and challenge children and young people through opportunities to experience the joy of skilled, creative and efficient movement and to develop interpersonal skills and positive attitudes to active living. This should give children and young people an important foundation for engaging in physical activities and sport, in preparation for a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle.
    While Curriculum for Excellence gives both freedom and responsibility to those planning and delivering the curriculum, the Scottish Government expects schools to continue to work towards the provision of two hours of good quality PE for each child every week. This commitment will be reflected in Building the Curriculum 3: A framework for learning and teaching. Physical activity and sport will take place in addition to planned PE sessions, at break times and lunchtimes and beyond the school day. Taken together, the experiences and outcomes in physical education, physical activity and sport are intended to establish the pattern of daily physical activity which, research has shown, is most likely to lead to sustained physical activity in adult life.”

    Health and wellbeing for all 2008

    This sentiment is echoed in this Government news release

    In my opinion the Health and wellbeing outcomes are the most important set of outcomes to be released, and not just the physical but the whole range as in my mind health and wellbeing is central to the quality of our lives and is a precursor for effective learning and development.

    Along side the HWb outcomes the Government has also published the Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) Scotland Act: Health promotion guidance for local authorities and schools. This can be downloaded here This guidance supports local authorities and schools, and managers of grant-aided schools, in working with partner agencies to meet the duty to ensure that all schools are health promoting, as set out in the Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Act 2007

    Posted in CfE, Education, fitness, Health, Physical Activity, Physical Education, Scottish Government, Sport, Teaching | 1 Comment »

    Roehampton Primary PE Conference

    Posted by drilly on March 19, 2008

    4th Roehampton Primary physical education conference‘Health and Inclusion: Providing a high quality experience for all’Friday 25th April 2008 10:00AM – 4:00PM Froebel College Roehampton University London

    This one-day conference aims to bring together practitioners who are working in early years’ and primary physical education to share ideas and good practice.

    Booking Form

    Posted in conference, CPD, Health, Physical Education, Primary PE | Leave a Comment »

    Funding Opportunity

    Posted by drilly on February 4, 2008

    Sustrans Scotland’s School Travel team are offering up to £2,500 to schools for projects to improve their physical environment in order to encourage more walking and cycling.  Ideas so far have included new bike shelters, scooter racks and lockers for wet cycling gear.  Schools wanting to apply for a grant are urged to act now as the charity is only accepting applications until the 15 February 2008.

    All schools interested in applying for a grant should contact Sustrans Scotland’s School Travel team for further information by emailing
    Further information about Sustrans, including other news releases and detailed online route mapping, is available at:

    Posted in Health, Physical Activity, Resources | Leave a Comment »