Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Physical Education - 'Competition Is Not a Dirty Word': News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Physical Education - 'Competition Is Not a Dirty Word': News

Article excerpt

Sports charity says winning and losing are valuable experiences.

In recent years, proponents of traditional competitive sport in schools have complained of football and athletics being pushed aside to make way for activities such as yoga and cheerleading. The Youth Sport Trust (YST), which promotes high-quality physical education in schools, has been among those that have promoted "physical literacy" and participation above a focus on winning and losing.

But the charity's chief executive is concerned that the pendulum may have swung too far away from traditional sport. "Competition is not a dirty word, it is something to be desired," John Steele told TES. "We should not be afraid to teach children about winning and losing, to strive to beat their best."

With the second annual Sainsbury's School Games taking place for the UK's young athletes this weekend in Sheffield, the YST has called on schools to rethink their position on competition. Around 1,600 students will take part in 12 current and future Olympic and Paralympic sports during the four-day event.

Mr Steele's comments echo the position of government ministers in England, who have stressed the importance of competition in helping children to develop new skills and learn to work as a team.

Baroness Sue Campbell, chair of the YST, has previously promoted "physical literacy", which focuses on teaching children how to run, jump, catch and throw, to encourage them to lead active lives.

But earlier this summer, a group of MPs criticised the government's plans to put competitive sport at the heart of the new primary school curriculum and to extend school games. …

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