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Dallaglio calls for urgent government action to make physical activity a priority for schools

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You need to bake metrics of physical activity and sport into how schools are governed and measured
– Lawrence Dallaglio

England rugby legend Lawrence Dallaglio says the government must take immediate action to improve physical activity in schools.

The World Cup-winning captain said the UK has reached a critical moment for the health and wellbeing of young people and must rebalance the National Curriculum to include more hours of physical activity. He also called on the physical activity sector to create a “massive campaign” to help drive the change and get more young people active.

“We have a serious problem in this country,” Dallaglio told an audience of ministers, health professionals, sports leaders and health club operators at the ukactive National Summit. “Some schools have less than two hours physical activity a week and I don’t think that’s fair on young people.

“There’s way too much pressure put on academic results and nowhere near enough pressure on schools to give students a good education on what to eat and what constitutes good physical activity.

“I urge the government and the people who make policies: you need to bake metrics of physical activity and sport into how schools are governed and measured. We need to do something drastic and it has to come from government, right from the top, baked into the whole school curriculum.”

Dallaglio said headteachers were being driven solely by academic results in order to improve Ofsted ratings, but the inclusion of nutrition, physical activity and sport as key metrics would go a long way to addressing major issues in society such as increasing rates of obesity, mental health problems and crime.

“If a headmaster gets a highly commended Ofsted report because of the number of hours a young person achieves in physical activity per week, lo and behold there will be lots more physical activity in schools,” he said at the summit in London yesterday (1 November).

“I’ve got three young kids and I want them to do well at school and go to university if they want to, but actually I want them to be healthy and happy too.”

Dallaglio’s RugbyWorks programme helps young people aged 14 to 17 who have been excluded from mainstream education to get back into education and employment by providing a support network, structure and a ‘belief system’ by learning to play rugby.

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England Rugby legend Lawrence Dallaglio says the government must take immediate action to improve physical activity in schools.
Lawrence Dallaglio called on the health and fitness industry to come up with a major campaign to boost activity among young people, but that government had to act now on education

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