Children positive about PE lessons
Faking illness to get out of a PE lesson used to be a rite of passage, but today's youngsters enjoy the subject too much to want to miss it, a poll suggests.
It reveals that three in four pupils say they like PE classes, with a quarter saying that they "love it".
Just under one in four (23%) of the 700 youngsters surveyed by the Youth Sport Trust and Bupa said that they did not like the subject.
But their parents were far less positive about their memories of school sport, with more than half (56%) saying they had lied to get out of lessons. The most popular excuse was feigning illness, followed by faking a note from their mum or dad.
Parents also admitted to claiming they had forgotten their kit, faking injuries or simply "bunking off" and missing a class.
In comparison, just under three in 10 (29%) of current pupils said they had avoided taking part in PE. The most popular excuse for the younger generation was also claiming to feel unwell, followed by lying about an injury and lying about forgetting their kit.
Just 4% of the eight to 15-year-olds questioned admitting "bunking off" PE lessons.
The poll found that the top reasons for parents disliking the subject during their school days were because they were not very good at it, because they did not like going outside in bad weather and because they did not like getting showered or changed in front of their classmates.
Many parents are more positive about PE today, with more than a third (37%) saying they thought the lessons are better now than when they were at school.
The survey also found that half (49%) of children said that their teacher makes PE fun, while 29% said that their teacher motivates them to take part in lessons.
More than half (51%) of pupils said that they would like the subject more if they had more choice of different types of sports, while 38% wanted to do more interesting sports and activities.
Baroness Sue Campbell, chair of the Youth Sport Trust, said: "It's always encouraging to see that there is an appetite for PE and school sport. The Youth Sport Trust has nearly 20 years experience in school sport and, during that time, we have supported thousands of schools to improve the quality of PE and school sport opportunities for young people.
"One area that needs the most attention is training for teachers at primary level, as we know the majority receive little to no training in teaching PE and school sport before qualifying. The renewed commitment from the Government to extend its PE and Sport Premium funding until 2020 is a welcome boost, and a huge opportunity to further improve teaching skills and embed physical literacy within primary schools."
Dr Paula Franklin, medical director at Bupa UK, said: "It is really encouraging to see that the attitude towards sport in schools has improved over the generations. It remains a national priority to increase physical activity amongst children because of the positive impact it has on their health and wellbeing. Through Bupa Start to Move, we hope to inspire children to get moving and stay active now and into the future."
:: The YouGov poll questioned 706 eight to 15-year-olds and 1,096 parents with children aged 18 and under between January 3-7.