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APPG on FE and Lifelong Learning meet to discuss college sport

On Monday 6 June, the APPG on Further Education and Lifelong Learning held a meeting on the role of college sport in supporting student health and wellbeing.

It was great to have parliamentarians from both the Commons and the Lords and from across different parties attend and hear from speakers about this issue. Michaela Lines, Director of Study Programmes at Lincoln College, Gemma Bell, Student at Lincoln College, Mark Lawrie, CEO at StreetGames and Karen Dobson OBE, Principal and Chief Executive at Newcastle and Stafford College Group, all spoke at the meeting

A number of important points were raised:

  • Michaela Lines noted that some of the benefits of students engaging in physical activity at college included improved English and maths engagement and improved retention rates. Additionally, students would come in for English and maths as they knew there was a sport activity later in the day.
  • Many students come to college fearing physical activity due to poor PE experiences in school and reframing that engagement is important to build good habits throughout students’ lives. Through Project You, Lincoln college student Gemma Bell organised sports such as blind hockey/wheelchair basketball where students could participate and be confident in not being the best at something.
  • Mark Lawrie from StreetGames stated that through their work they know that there is an appetite and desire for sport and physical activity, that local community sport and physical activity transforms young people’s lives, and helps build healthier, safer, and more successful communities.
  • Karen Dobson highlighted the AoC Sports National Championships and said that it was a memorable event for students taking part which really makes a difference for them.
  • Additionally, sports and physical activity builds positive character and broad cross college sport provides positive lifelong activity habits and memorable experiences.
  • It was noted throughout that more funding is needed to make sports and physical activity a natural part of the learner journey and not just an add on.

As a follow-up to this meeting, we have written to Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston (who was due to attend but had to withdraw at short notice), to highlight these issues. . In addition, members of the Group will table some Parliamentary questions on these issues.

The APPG also held its AGM during the session and elected the following Parliamentarians as its officers:

  • Peter Aldous – Chair
  • Baroness Garden of Frognal – Vice Chair
  • Stephen Farry MP – Vice Chair
  • Lord Blunkett – Officer
  • Lord Addington – Officer
  • Emma Hardy MP - Officer

As the Groups secretariat, we will be working with the Chair to set the agenda for the next year’s program of activities and meetings and will update members on how to get involved in due course.

June Update: Chair of the APPG, Peter Aldous MP has written to Minister Nigel Huddleston summarising the meeting and outlining the need for further investment and attention to college sport and physical activity.

Participants at our recent APPG Meeting