TWO Burnley head teachers helped launch a nationwide manifesto for PE and sport in schools to help the next generation get fit and healthy.
Mr Richard Varey and Mrs Dawn Forshaw were part of the Youth Sport Trust initiative calling on the next Government to tackle a growing physical inactivity crisis.
Mr Varey is head at Blessed Trinity RC College and chairman of the town’s schools sport partnership. Mrs Forshaw is head at Burnley High School and vice chairman of the partnership.
Burnley and Lancashire is leading the way when it comes to encouraging games in schools and its commitment to sport for young people.
The launch, at the House of Lords, saw the Youth Sport Trust’s chair, Baroness Sue Campbell outline their demands which include five hours of physical education a week for every child, opportunities for all young people to take part in competitive sport and ensuring that every school has programmes to involve the least active.
Baroness Campbell said: “Reversing the growing levels of physical inactivity amongst young people is a seismic challenge.
“With one in three children leaving primary school obese or overweight and less than one in five meeting the minimum recommended guidelines for physical activity, it is a bleak and worrying picture.
“We have set out where we believe any future Government should focus its efforts if we are to stand any real chance of reversing the worrying trends that are leading to increasing sedentary lifestyles amongst young people.”
Pointing out that the picture locally was not as bleak Mr Varey said: “Burnley is recognised as a centre of excellence, both at primary and secondary level, for participation of youngsters in school sport. In no small part, this is due to the work of Helen Tyson, our School Games Organiser.
“Lancashire is recognised as a beacon of excellence nationally regarding its participation at the School Games and its commitment to sport and young people.”
And Mrs Forshaw said the manifesto launch had seen inspiring contributions from young people who spoke of how their lives had been turned around by sport
But she warned: “Obesity is still a problem here in Burnley. We are determined to ensure more school age children are given the opportunities to benefit from exercise.”