The PESSPA approach can have a big impact on students’ mental and physical health, attendance, attainment and behaviour – especially for those with SEND. Nasen Teacher of the Year Jon White discusses using school sport and physical activity to empower students

PESSPA stands for physical education, school sport and physical activity and includes PE lessons, school games events and competitions, sport leadership, extra-curricular clubs and enrichment.

Many senior leaders will say they are right behind the notion that PESSPA is important – even essential – for their students.

However, even before the pandemic, 38 per cent of English secondary schools had already cut PE time from their timetables, while one in four have cut back PE by 24 per cent in the past year.

While most teachers have said that will deliver similar levels of PESSPA this year as pre-pandemic, 22 per cent of key stage 3 teachers admitted in a survey ahead of September re-opening that they will deliver less or no curriculum PE during the autumn term. This figure rises to 26 per cent at key stage 4 (Youth Sport Trust, 2020).

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