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Written Answers - Physical Education

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 762 No. 1

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 38.  Deputy Jerry Buttimer Information on Jerry Buttimer Zoom on Jerry Buttimer  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the funding that he provides for the active school flag initiative; the efforts being made to promote participation in this initiative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19454/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn The funding provided to Active Flag was €116,000 per year for the past three years. We have allocated €80,000 to this Initiative in 2012. Recognising the contribution of physical activity to the health and wellbeing of children and to increase the physical activity levels of school children, in 2009 the Department of Education and Skills launched the Active School Flag (ASF) to motivate and reward schools which strive to achieve a physically active and physically educated school community. The ASF aims to complement the existing PE curriculum in schools.

A part-time co-ordinator was appointed to the programme in 2011. A significant element of the co-ordinator’s brief is to promote the ASF in schools. Specific measures to promote the programme include:

a mailshot to all schools aimed at promoting the programme;

the attendance of the co-ordinator at conferences;

the expansion of the programme to the Youthreach sector;

[152] a revision of the ASF website and application documents to facilitate easier application for the flag;

making presentations about the ASF to teachers at education centres around the country;

meeting National Parents Council representatives;

promoting the ASF via the HSE-funded Get Ireland Active website;

presenting to final year student teachers regarding the programme.

Since September 2009, 875 primary schools, 125 post-primary schools and 4 Youthreach Centres have registered for participation in the programme. Some 110 schools have been awarded their flags in 2010 and 2011. It is expected that another 200 schools will have been awarded an ASF by the end of this current year. The high level of participation by schools in the programme in its first three years is indicative of the desire of teachers and schools to ensure that children are as active as possible. Active, enjoyable engagement in physical activity at a young age plays an important part in the development of habits that will contribute to good health and wellbeing in the long-term.

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