All credit for this article goes to Mark Carter, 2015 (Ministry of Football). The original article can be found at this link.

Next week at my son’s primary school it is ‘Walk to School Week’. He came home with a letter yesterday and it says:

“The public health minister has urged that parents take more responsibility for their children’s weight and fitness. By taking steps such as encouraging children to walk to school, they (their parents) can help ensure their children lead an active life.”

With one-third of children leaving primary-school overweight or obese, certainly weight and fitness are an issue, and the school is correct to be asking parents to consider walking instead of putting the children in cars or buggies. Children strapped to seats are not moving children, and they are unable to learn physically during this time. When I walk my boy to school, we climb on walls, we kick stones, we leap across the white lines on the zebra crossing. We have fun moving, and we get better at balancing, jumping, and co-ordinating ourselves along busy pavements.

MoF has already studied Active Learning Time in PE lessons in primary school and found that only a third of a PE lesson contains opportunity for movement and for ‘learning by doing’. Despite recognising the importance of campaigns such as Walk to School Week, primary schools offer very little movement opportunity to children in the school curriculum. Many parents know this already, and many families rely on after-school and weekend sport to fill the void in movement and physical activity. For football children, the obvious solution is to join a local football team.

However, having been involved in children’s football and competition for decades, I have long suspected that the children’s football experience contains very little football and an awful lot of being strapped to seats. This blog post will look at the ‘Game Day’ experience for primary-school aged children at football clubs.

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