14 Capital high schools fail to hit weekly PE target

ALMOST two thirds of secondary schools are failing to hit national targets to give pupils two hours of PE per week.

Only nine schools out of the Capital’s secondaries have hit the minimum guidelines set by the Scottish Government, with some providing as little as one hour and 15 minutes each week.

More than a third of primaries are also failing to hit the targets, which were set in a bid to get children more active and cut childhood obesity.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Education chiefs in the Capital insist they are working hard to ensure all children get more PE in school, and have made vast improvements on last year.

The figures show that 14 high schools – just over 60 per cent – did not meet the two-hour target in the last year for providing S1-4 pupils with the minimum PE time.

The worst schools were Liberton and Portobello, which both only managed to achieve one hour and 15 minutes.

They were closely followed by Queensferry High, which only provided 80 minutes, while St Thomas of Aquin, Balerno, Craigmount, Craigroyston, Firrhill and the Royal High all only managed to achieve one and a half hours.

Sean Watters, an active member of Portobello For A New School, said he was not surprised the figures were so bad due to the lack of sports pitches at the current site on Duddingston Road. Pupils have to be bussed up to the Jack Kane Centre in Craigmillar, and the 20 to 25-minute travelling time eats into their PE lessons.

He said: “With the new school they will have two all-weather pitches for football and hockey so they will be able to do everything on site.”

The number of children in city primary schools getting enough exercise has increased. Out of 87 schools, 54 – or just over 60 per cent – hit the target, compared with 17 – just 18.5 per cent – the year before.

Mr Watters, who is also chair of Towerbank Primary’s parent council – which met the two-hour target – said: “Towerbank only has one sports hall and they have struggled in the past with meeting PE targets.

“It’s definitely improving in primary schools, with lots of emphasis on doing things for the enjoyment of it.”

City education leader Cllr Marilyne MacLaren said: “We’ve worked hard in recent years to raise the amount of PE time in schools and it’s encouraging to see these improved figures coming through.”

Councillor Paul Godzik, Labour’s education spokesman, said more needed to be done.

He said: “I fear that without the Scottish Government making PE a real priority, and assisting with funding, it is unlikely that we will reach 100 per cent for a number of years.”