Belfast Telegraph

Nuala McKeever: Kids need to get outside, not state funding

Education Minister Michael Gove announces plans to scrap £162m funding for School Sport Partnerships.

Teachers, school heads and sports people are outraged. Among other things, they argue that dismantling the grant will undermine the “fight against obesity in children”.

Now, I’m not saying Gove is right. The SSPs do good work. But to imply that getting kids to a decent weight needs government funding depresses me.

I looked out yesterday and there were no kids playing in the snow on the street. Why not? What happened to going out and turning the footpaths into treacherous slides before noon? Isn’t that what snow and children is all about?

I have a sinking feeling that perhaps the street was quiet because the idea of just “playing” without adult help, government funding or community workers to fill in health and safety forms is alien to many children now.

There are probably kids right now sitting in front rooms playing Wii Snowball Fight while the real stuff’s lying pristine outside.

We’re failing children if we don’t encourage them (with a little force if necessary) to get out and get wet and dirty and cold and hot. If we want children to grow up knowing that a snowball is something you throw, not just something you eat, we need to get our skates on, fast!

Belfast Telegraph

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