Selaine Saxby MP today expresses her support of National School Sport Week, which runs from Saturday 19th June to Friday 25th June. As a former fitness instructor and teacher, as well as a Conservative Environment Network Active Travel Champion, Ms. Saxby is a strong advocate for encouraging us all to be more active, and firmly believes that it is good for our physical and mental health, as well as potentially the environment.
Now in its 13th year, National School Sport Week is highlighting the importance of physical education and school sport in enhancing the health and wellbeing of young people. Every year, thousands of schools and individuals across the country mark the week by holding sports days or community sporting events, encouraging active lifestyles.
Ms. Saxby recently visited Woolacombe Primary School, Combe Martin Primary School, and the Umberleigh Academy, and spoken with staff and pupils about how they build character and prepare their pupils for more than just the academic rigours of life. Ms. Saxby believes National School Sport Week will play a fundamental role in the continued efforts of all our local schools as they prepare our young people for the future, teaching them skills of teamwork and self-discipline in a more physical and innovative way than can be done in the classroom.
On the school visits, the level of broadband available in some schools was highlighted by school leaders and pupils alike. It is crucial to children’s wellbeing and development that they have good access to the internet, and many broadband speeds in North Devon are simply too slow. Last week, Ms. Saxby met with the Prime Minister in Downing Street to discuss ‘Levelling Up’ in North Devon, and raised the plight of many sufferers of poor broadband in the local area and explained how vital broadband is to the levelling up agenda.
As Chair of the APPG on Broadband and Digital Communication, greater connectivity in North Devon is something Ms. Saxby is constantly fighting for, and while the continued rollout of the Government’s £5 billion ‘Project Gigabit’ is good news, she is pushing for more to be done, more rapidly, as slow broadband is not just a frustration, but indeed an active hindrance on children’s education.
Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon, said:
“I know what a challenging year it has been for many children, especially given that most, for long periods of time, were unable to meet up with friends and family, or even to experience the benefits of school sport and PE.
“For these reasons I am delighted to support a particularly relevant National School Sport Week this year, as I think it provides the perfect opportunity for young people to once again play sports together in a safe way this summer.
“I have also been disheartened speaking to children at local schools recently about their frustration with the ‘circle of doom’. While we have had some good news stories about broadband and we are moving forward, there is still a lot more to do. I believe that with increasing digital connectivity across North Devon, and with this week’s renewed focus on sport in schools, we can help this generation of children to bounce back from the pandemic better than ever. Children will run faster at their sports days than some of our school broadband speeds currently are and it is simply not acceptable.
“I do encourage any other schools with connectivity challenges to contact my office, as I have also spoken with the Minister responsible for broadband this week, who was shocked to hear of the issues some schools are still facing. We are both committed to doing everything we can to rapidly address poor broadband in our North Devon schools.”
Ali Oliver, Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive, said:
“There is a crisis of inactivity amongst our young people, and sadly this has only worsened in recent months, with the pandemic making it difficult for children to meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity.
“School sport and PE is a fantastic way to get active, have fun with friends and re-socialise this summer after such a long time of being apart. Sports days don’t have to be about being the best, strongest or quickest, they are a celebration of bringing us together and learning key skills like communication, empathy, teamwork and resilience.
“In addition to sports days, we’d love to see parents to get involved with the kids at home during National School Sport Week.”