Three Yorkshire entrepreneurs have combined their business expertise and backgrounds in physical education to launch a platform that aims to reduce obesity and improve levels of physical literacy among UK schoolchildren.
Shaun Fox, Andrea Springthorpe and Jonny Nolan from Huddersfield have invested more than £200,000 to establish Sporting Age, a digital platform which uses data from a series of benchmarking tests to produce stage-appropriate PE lesson plans that ensure schoolchildren are being taught at the correct level of ability in PE and sport.
The launch of Sporting Age comes following results released last week from the annual National Child Measurement Programme which show that one in 25 children in year six of primary school are so overweight that they are classed as obese.
Mr Fox said: “The National Child Measurement programme results show that a record number of ten and 11-year-olds are now classed as severely obese.
“We firmly believe that a lack of confidence and competence in physical activity and sport among some children is a significant contributor to these statistics.”
Ms Springthorpe said: “Many UK primary schools conduct what are commonly known as reading age benchmarking tests to help teachers and parents identify the correct level of reading material for each child to develop their core literacy skills during their early years.
“We spotted a gap in the market to use our backgrounds in physical education to develop Sporting Age in a similar vein.
“Purchased on a license basis by schools, the software is accessed through a computer or tablet and will enable staff to consistently benchmark and identify levels of physical ability among pupils so they can ensure every child is participating in regular physical activity that is being taught at the correct level for them.”
Mr Nolan said: “The government announced that it will review what steps can be taken to support schools to ensure that every child can participate in the sport and physical activity that is right for them.
However, it is unlikely that we will start to see more children participating confidently in physical activity at school unless we begin to benchmark their level of ability and deliver lessons that are set at the correct level for them.
“Sporting Age is the catalyst for this, and will help to improve the uptake of healthy, active lifestyle choices among pupils to tackle obesity and increase levels of physical literacy across Yorkshire and beyond.”