Senator Catherine Noone has today supported the call of Sean Cottrell, CEO of the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN), who has said that two hours of PE should be made mandatory for Irish pupils.
Speaking on the issue, Senator Noone said: “There is no question that obesity is on a dangerously fast rise in Ireland, and I would have concerns about young people becoming increasingly overweight and obese. Indeed, two hours of compulsory PE has been suggested by the Irish Heart Foundation and the Federation of Irish Sport in the recent past. Prior to that, I had suggested half hour of PE each day – or 2.5 hours per week – back in June 2014.
Senator Noone added: “A Safefood Ireland survey has shown that 90% of parents believe 30 minutes of school time should be devoted to PE every day. It is also known that we are bottom of the EU league in terms of the time spent on PE in our schools, with Irish children getting just over half the EU average of 109 minutes of physical education”.
Senator Noone continued: “By making a half hour of daily exercise mandatory in the school timetable, we can move to the top of the table and slash childhood obesity rates in the process. Further to this, a recent survey of almost 1000 primary principals showed that 85% of them identified physical education as the subject that should be allocated more time. It is clear that action must be taken here, and that talk has gone on for long enough. I welcome the comments made by the CEO of the Irish Primary Principals’ Network and hope it leads to some tangible action in the near future”.