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Physical literacy consensus statement commissioned by Sport Ireland

Sport Ireland has commissioned a consensus statement on “physical literacy” in partnership with Sport Northern Ireland as part of efforts to increase children’s physical activity. Ulster University won the contract to undertake the project which is worth €60,000 (excluding VAT), a meeting of Sport Ireland’s board heard last year. 

Physical literacy can be described as the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.

According to a spokesperson for Sport Ireland, the origins of the project are based in the Government’s National Sports Policy 2018-2027, which sets out the public policy framework for the development of sport over the next 10 years. 

“The policy recognises that, while the vast majority of younger children are involved in sport to some extent, many are not sufficiently engaged to optimally benefit their health,” commented the spokesperson. 

“Developing more physically literate cohorts of younger children will require that we provide positive and rewarding experiences for them in sport, physical education and physical activity in the belief that they will be more inclined to either stay ‘in the game’ or return to sport and physical activity at future stages of their lives.” 

Sport Ireland said developing strong consensus around physical literacy throughout the sport, physical education and physical activity systems is regarded as a key potential enabler “in our efforts to achieve the desired policy objectives around participation including addressing the significant gradients that represent a key limiting factor in this regard”. 

In conjunction with Sport Northern Ireland, it has appointed Ulster University to develop an agreed position (a consensus statement) around physical literacy from those involved in developing and delivering sport, physical education and physical activity opportunities for children. 

“The expectation is that the consensus statement will be adopted and embraced in a systematic way by all those involved in developing and delivering sport, PE and physical activity for children.”  

The project is underway and expected to be completed by the end of October 2020.