Screen time - 12/11/2018

< Back to Blogs

Between 2011 and 2017 the number of hours dedicated to PE in state-funded secondary schools fell by 5 per cent at key stage 3 and by 21 per cent at key stage 4. PHSE lessons have also reduced dramatically; they have almost halved for KS4 pupils. PE and PSHE are not the only subjects to see a cut in hours. There has been a drop in the amount of time spent on music, art and drama.

The government has said that all pupils must be taught about good physical and mental health from 2020, with mental resilience, developing confidence and recognising when they or others are struggling with poor mental health among the subjects that pupils can expect to be taught as part of compulsory health education proposals.

Being all things to all people – particularly in the sphere of education – is demanding albeit not impossible. Is it just about HKS topping the Wyre Forest league of GCSE results?

At Heathfield Knoll School all pupils, including in Early Years, receive a balanced yet broad curriculum. PE specialist teaching starts in Reception and school representation across a plethora of sports begins in Year 4 - everything from triathlon to tri golf and hockey to horse riding. The two games / PE curriculum slots facilitate coaching and practice in addition to fixtures with other independent and local Wyre Forest schools. Music groups start in Early Years and the new Director of Music, Mrs Cain, is responsible for the vertical organisation of music across the school. The new position of teacher of drama and English is also strategically important as our creative curriculum develops further. Use of timetabled enrichment slots continue to be hugely popular and include, for example, wellbeing lessons (the donkeys, part of this programme for younger children, will make a welcome return to school in the near future)! Our pupil happiness survey has just been completed in school this week.

The pressures on our young people have never been more demanding. A 2018 study concluded that the average school pupil today is likely to have spent a staggering 20 years of their life on screen time by the time they reach 80 years of age – and this does not include screen time associated with ‘work’ of any kind. Keeping our children fit and healthy, in both mind and body, requires an holistic approach to education that offers breadth, challenge and (fun) engagement in equal measure. I believe we are achieving the right balance at HKS but there is no room for complacency; use of the newly installed astropitch and cross-curricular STEAM learning space are some of the developments that will help to ensure we continue to meet our vision.