Most Suffolk children enjoy enough PE

MOST children in Suffolk receive the recommended two hours of sport each week with the county's schools easily beating the national target, it emerged today.

MOST children in Suffolk receive the recommended two hours of sport each week with the county's schools easily beating the national target, it emerged today.

The figures come just days after prime minister Gordon Brown unveiled his plans to make PE a much more prominent part of the curriculum.

Currently, national targets state that 75pc of primary and secondary schools should be teaching sport for two hours a week, but in Suffolk 83pc of schools are achieving at least that figure.

However there was still a huge disparity across the county with children at one school getting just 45 minutes per week while those at another enjoying three hours.

The statistics come at a time when childhood obesity is at an all time high.

Sue Thornton, county advisor for PE and sport, said: “I know the pressure that headteachers are under with exams, but the good thing about our subject is that we can do a lot outside of the curriculum.

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“We have spent a lot of time with primary schools so now we are looking to do something with the older high school pupils and try to sustain what we have started.

“The hours don't always equate to quality. We need to make sure that the PE lessons are effective.”

The Department for Education and Skills has set a target for 85pc of five to 16-year-olds to be doing two hours of “high quality” sport each week by 2008, something Suffolk is already well placed to achieve.

The need for PE at school has never been greater. Earlier this month, it emerged that more than a fifth of adults in Suffolk are obese and only one in nine people take the recommended level of exercise.

Nearly one adult in four smokes, less than 30 per cent eat healthily, and one in six binge drink.

In Ipswich, the estimated number of physically active adults places it among the ten worst areas in England.

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Gordon's PE proposals:

GORDON Brown announced a £100million campaign to give every child aged between 16 and 19 the chance of five hours of sport per week.

The move has been made in the run up to the 2012 Olympics in a bid to build a sportier and fitter nation, according to the government.

The plans include greater emphasis on competition within and between schools, a network of competition managers and a new National School Sports Week, championed by Dame Kelly Holmes, who was in Ipswich earlier this week.

Mr Brown said: “We need to put school sport back where it belongs, playing a central role in the school day.

“Watching sport is a national pastime. Talking about sport is a national obsession. But now we need to make taking part in sport a national characteristic.

“Whatever their natural ability and whatever their age sport and activity can make our children healthier, raise self-confidence and self-esteem.

“It develops teamwork, discipline and a sense of fair play. Values that will stand young people and the country in good stead in the years to come.”

Mr Brown said the ultimate aim was for every child to have access to a range of sporting competition from regional level, leading on to national finals.