Chair of Parliamentary sport group calls for greater use of dance in schools
The Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Sport, a body supported by the Sport and Recreation Alliance, has called for a greater recognition of the value of dance in schools.
In his contribution to a debate in the House of Lords on the role of schools, Lord Pendry argued that young people have “wide-ranging interests that we need to recognise if we want to keep them engaged and motivated in sport and education.”
After listing the wide range of benefits of physical activity for young people, Lord Pendry called for greater provision of dance opportunities in schools:
“It is a great shame that we are not using the wonderful vehicle of dance to engage more young people in sport while they are at school… Many of these young people said that the lack of options available in school sports turned them off doing physical activity, and many, girls in particular, would have preferred to have had less competitive PE options like dance.”
Referring to the ZooNation Dance Academy in Islington, and the popularity of street dance, he continued:
“Activities like dance that are creative and physically demanding help children express themselves, feel part of the team and valued by their peers. Children of the ZooNation Academy get the chance to channel their energies towards a positive and exciting goal, rather than spending it on the streets causing trouble.”
The Lord’s debate, which considered the contribution of schools to children’s wellbeing, was called by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch, who argued that schools have an important role to play in tackling poor physical health.
Building on these comments, Lord Pendry criticised the decision by the Department for Education to reduce funding for school sports partnerships, and praised the work of the Youth Sport Trust.
To read the transcript of the debate in full, click here.
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