The rise in 'Obesity' and 'Mental Health Issues' in Children

Child obesity and mental health issues are on the increase in the UK.

This is well documented however, we are yet to see any clear direction from the government on how they are going to tackle these issues within our Primary Schools despite ongoing research and reporting by Ofsted and other influential bodies.

Let’s take a look at what we currently know…

Obesity

The important role our primary schools play in encouraging healthy lifestyles and exercise.

Ofsted recently released a report aligning the important role that primary schools play in encouraging healthy lifestyles and exercise to tackle the rise of obesity in our children.

Interestingly, the report highlighted that parents wanted more time for Physical Education in the curriculum.  It also advised that parents wanted to know more about what their child is eating and learning about with regard to health and well-being so they can follow this up in their child’s home environment.  Here is an extract from the report:

Inspectors found that schools put too much effort into activities designed to influence parents without any evidence that these activities are actually what parents want.  For example: 83% of parents said they had been invited to an event at school. But many told Ofsted they are time-poor and what they really require is readily available information about what their child is doing at school.  Particularly, they wanted to understand what they are eating and learning about, so that this can be followed up on at home.

Parents also said they wanted more time for PE in the curriculum. And while extra-curricular activities are a good way to broaden the opportunities for children to learn new skills and to exercise, a quarter of parents said that their child couldn’t access all the clubs and activities they wanted.

Ofsted Findings

Obesity is a serious public health challenge with wide-ranging and deep-rooted effects. Schools have an important role to play in the fight against childhood obesity. A broad curriculum, which emphasises healthy lifestyles and high quality PE is vital to this, but is too often given insufficient focus.

Amanda SpielmanOfsted Chief Inspector

Mental Health

Both The Guardian and The Telegraph have recently published findings on how anxiety is affecting our children.

The Guardian newspaper reported on a recent survey carried out by mental health charity stem4 which asked 300 teachers about the mental health of the children they teach every day.

Almost four in five (78%) teachers confirmed they have seen a pupil struggle with a mental health problem in the past year, with one in seven (14%) cases involving suicidal thoughts or behaviour.

The Chief Sports Reporter at The Telegraph newspaper has also covered children’s mental health following a poll conducted by the National Education Union.  Again, four in five teachers said that they have seen a rise in pupils experiencing mental health problems over the last two years.

Sats pressure and general expectations are continuing to take their toll on more vulnerable pupils and teachers are under more and more pressure to try and alleviate anxiety in our pupils.

Primary School Teacher

The role of your Primary School

Ofsted have documented that primary schools are the best place to reinforce messages, impart knowledge and develop a child’s skills set.

They want all primary schools to focus on improving things that they are best placed to do such as:

  • Updating parents on their children’s physical development, such as agility, balance and coordination.
  • Planning a challenging and well-sequenced curriculum, including learning about the body in PE and science, and about healthy eating and cooking.
  • Providing ample opportunity for children to take physical exercise during the school day – with lots of opportunities to ‘get out of breath’.
  • Teaching particular skills like how to cook or how to dance.

The SPR Juniors Programme

SPR Juniors Programme is a highly active P.E lesson resource pack containing video and lesson plan resources that allow staff to deliver high quality Physical Education at the push of a button.

Learn More

The programme for SPR Juniors is designed to offer each primary school a balanced education programme focusing on nutrition, fitness and mindset delivering Strong Powerful Resilient Juniors!

Primarily, the programme provides progressive P.E. lessons for years 3 to 6 which help children improve their core fitness and develop motor skills that will underpin their sporting performance.

Each school will also have access to our SPR Junior Resource Centre. This is an online library for teachers to access nutritional guidance to support their curriculum plus it includes fun goals and milestones for pupils to reach that will support their nutritional awareness.

These resources are designed to be used as part of the weekly parent newsletter.  They help parents understand, in more depth, what their children are learning in relation to nutrition and fitness and give them the core information on how to encourage their children to continue their SPR Junior’s programme at home!