Article date: 22 April 2010
Hundreds of thousands of children are set to benefit from better athletics tuition in schools, as insurance giant Aviva today launched an "Elevating Athletics Fund", pledging to provide practical training and support to every single sports teacher in the UK. With London 2012 just over two years away, leading athletics sponsor Aviva is taking action after new research revealed that over half of the UK’s PE teachers feel they need further training and better facilities to teach athletics effectively.
Backed by World Champion heptathlete Jessica Ennis, the move is a direct response to a study conducted by Aviva, which revealed that:
- 52% of teachers feel they need further training to teach athletics effectively
- 63% of teachers believe their schools lack the facilities to teach athletics effectively
- Two thirds of teachers admit that in the build up to London 2012, there will be more emphasis on athletics in their schools
- Nine out of 10 teachers actively plan to use London 2012 to inspire children to get active and participate in sport
- 93% of teachers take the view that elite sportspeople play an important role in inspiring children to get involved in sport.
As part of Aviva’s long term partnership with UK Athletics (UKA) they have committed to giving every child in the UK the opportunity to get involved in athletics by 2012. Aviva’s Elevating Athletics Fund will provide support in three ways; free places on athletics teaching courses for every school in the UK (over 30,000 schools), detailed curriculum resource packs for all teachers and the chance for schools to win a £10,000 sports grant for facility upgrades. Aviva will also arrange a series of elite athlete visits to schools, to help inspire students.
In addition, the study highlighted that over half of all parents (58%) would like their child to be taught athletics over all other sports, including football. 63% of parents believe that PE classes should be treated as seriously as other academic subjects.
Jessica Ennis, World Heptathlon Champion said: “I will never forget my school PE teachers Mr Eccles and Mr Cockgreves as they gave me such great support and encouragement. It’s really important that we recognise the important role that PE teachers play in getting children involved, and continuing their interest, in sport. I’m proud to be working with Aviva to give teachers the tools they need to teach the basics of athletics in schools and hope that this will help inspire the next generation to develop a passion for athletics.”
Heather Smith, head of sponsorship at Aviva, commented: “Aviva has been the number one sponsor of UKA for more than a decade. Since our sponsorship began we have helped the Aviva GB&NI team prepare for all major championships and helped millions of children get involved in grassroots athletics.
"Continuing our long term investment into athletics at the school level we are proud to be providing practical, ‘hands on’ support to a PE teacher in every school in the UK. We hope to create a long-term legacy for the sport, unearth potential champions of the future and also make sure our investment has a continuous impact where it is needed.”
Ed Warner, chairman of UKA, commented: “With the launch of the Aviva Elevating Athletics Fund we hope to reach out to every single PE teacher in the UK to raise standards of teaching athletics in schools. The Government’s commitment of getting two million more people into sport or physical activity by 2012 must begin in schools.
"Aviva have been working hand in hand with UKA for the past 10 years to get more children involved in athletics, after all, running, jumping and throwing are the foundation of all sports and this will have a long term impact. As the school summer term begins, I am delighted that Aviva is supporting UKA in our ambition of putting athletics back on the school agenda and helping to deliver on the UK’s intention to increase mass participation in sport.”
For more information on the Aviva’s sponsorship of athletics please visit: www.aviva.co.uk/athletics
For more information contact:
Telephone: 0207 413 3510
Telephone: 0207 413 3225
Notes to editors:
Aviva are proud to be the No. 1 sponsor of UK Athletics since 1999 and are committed to developing the sport at every level, from playground to podium through to the end of 2012. To find out more visit the new Aviva website at www.aviva.co.uk/athletics
In 2010 we will have hosted six world class athletics events on home soil, helping and supporting the Aviva GB & NI junior, senior and disability teams as they prepare for all major events and championships. Through the Aviva UKA Academy, it is anticipated that by 2012 we will have given every child in the UK the opportunity to get involved in athletics.
Aviva is the world’s fifth largest insurance group, serving 53 million customers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. We are the largest insurance services provider in the UK and one of the leading providers of life and pension products in Europe. The Aviva media centre at aviva.com/media includes images, company and product information and a news release archive.
The Aviva Elevating Athletics Fund forms part of the Aviva UKA Academy which is made up of six different schemes and aims to engage and attract children to athletics regardless of age, level or ability.
Aviva Elevating Athletics resource packs assist teachers and coaches in planning engaging and relevant athletics sessions for kids of all abilities emphasising how athletics is the base for all sporting movement – developing the athleticism required to run, jump and throw.
The overall focus behind the Aviva Elevating Athletics Approach is as follows:
- To bring the sport of athletics to life and make it accessible.
- To provide teachers with a creative and practical resource that will help them encourage and motivate youngsters participate and achieve in athletics.
- To ensure that athletics is taught in a more inclusive and engaging manner, with modern approaches that are less reliant on formal didactic delivery and focus more on learning.
- To ensure all children receive a positive experience of athletics, where the emphasis is on participation, enjoyment, mastery and the acquisition of skills, so that they maintain interest in the sport.
- To create a greater understanding that running, jumping and throwing underpin the vast majority of sports, and ensure children acquire and develop these skills throughout their education.
- To reach out and appeal to a much wider audience of young people to ensure we have a sustainable number of 16-17 year olds in the sport, who are committed to competing at senior level.
Enter a school for a chance to win a £10,000 school sports facility makeover plus ten further schools will win an elite athlete PE lesson at www.aviva.co.uk/athletics
Aviva is in support of Change4Life. In order to maintain a healthy weight we need to both eat better and move more. Many families are making changes that will help them live healthier and longer lives. Visit www.nhs.uk/change4life or call 0300 123 4567 for more information.
About the research
Research commissioned by Aviva and conducted by ICM Research. A random sample of 300 UK primary and secondary school head and deputy-head teachers was conducted between 25 March 2010 and 16 April 2010. The research was completed to a 95% confidence interval and the data is accurate to plus or minus 5% points (+/-5).
Omnibus survey of 1,000 people commissioned by Aviva and conducted by ICM research.