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MINISTER HAILS 5X60’S SUCCESS

24 Mar 2009

The Sports Minister Alun Ffred Jones today headed back to school to announce that 98% of state schools have now signed up to the 5x60 physical activity scheme.

Sports Minister Alun Ffred JonesLaunched in October 2006 and supported by a £7.6million investment by the Welsh Assembly Government, the programme – managed by Sports Council for Wales - aims to help ensure that secondary school pupils are undertaking 60 minutes of sport and physical activity five times a week.5x60_web_logo

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The announcement was made in Bridgend where he met youngsters from Brynteg Comprehensive School and Heronsbridge Special School who were on hand to showcase their skills in street dance, basketball, tag rugby and badminton.

Now that the programme has laid the 5x60 framework in almost all mainstream schools in Wales, the Sports Council for Wales will be building on this momentum and piloting the programme in special schools which will be extended further later this year. Indeed, Heronsbridge School was one of the first special schools to get involved.

With a whole range of activities on offer - including cheerleading, outdoor adventure activities and more traditional sports - dance and football have proved the most popular for girls while boys also like to take to the pitch but they also favour dodgeball.

The Minister said, "The 5x60 programme links to the Welsh Assembly Government’s wider commitment to helping our children develop active habits which will last a lifetime and it is making significant inroads into encouraging secondary school pupils to lead more active and healthier lifestyles.

"One Wales – the progressive agenda for the government of Wales – aims to improve the quality of life in all of Wales’ communities. Working together with schools, local authorities, community clubs and the Sports Council for Wales, we have made a real impact in turning school halls and schoolyards into hubs of activity, which is providing the best possible start for our children when it comes to getting enough exercise."

_DX_5047Although the progress has been pleasing, the Sports Council for Wales is not complacent. SCW Chair Philip Carling explains:

"With 218 mainstream secondary schools on board and a 5x60 officer employed in every school to provide extra-curricular opportunities to get fit, now is the time to drive forward.

A key element of 5x60 is that the pupils themselves are selecting the activities they want to try out."

Research has demonstrated that 5 x60 is:

  • Increasing participation in sport, particularly among those who would normally prefer to stay on the sidelines
  • Increasing children’s self-esteem
  • Improving behaviour in classes and the schoolyard
  • Raising awareness of the importance of exercise

Councillor Alana Davies, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "Bridgend County Borough Council is receiving really positive feedback from pupils and PE teachers for the 5x60 initiative.

"It is entirely appropriate that the announcement is being made at Brynteg Comprehensive when you consider that the school’s former pupils include seven British Lions and Olympic gold medallist Nicole Cooke.

"And with an extra member of staff putting on activities that the children have requested, we are certainly witnessing an increase in the number of pupils taking part in activities."

To find out more about the Welsh Assembly Government’s 5x60 programme, visit www.5x60.org.uk