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What we learn here can influence decision-makers back home

Interview with Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive Ali Oliver.

“This movement represents everything that we believe in – the right of every child to move and the importance of that in their day-to-day lives.”

When Youth Sport Trust Chief Executive Ali Oliver led our Active School Communities plenary session at the MOVE Congress 2017 in Birmingham, she underlined the importance of prioritising physical education and new, innovative ways of getting kids active at school and out of school hours. It is a battle to work against the trend of sedentary activities and technologies, but it is an essential movement to enable children’s rights to move around, she said.

A woman from her team who shares the same passion and helped set up the Youth Sport Trust in the UK, Helen Vost, is our latest confirmed speaker who will present a new EU Physical Activity Label for Schools at the MOVE Congress in Budapest on 18 October 2019.

But in our exclusive interview below, ISCA catches some reflections from Ali Oliver on her experience of the MOVE Congress and its theme the Human Right to MOVE.

We have the Human Right to MOVE, so what’s stopping us?

Ali Oliver: “What’s stopping us? Where to start on that question? What’s stopping us is a whole range of things – everything from changes in technology that are creating a more sedentary environment. Everything is easy to do now.

I think things are changing for us, particularly in schools, where the academic pressures of other subjects are often squeezing out time for physical education, physical activity and sport. I think there are lots of things that demand children’s attention now, so if physical activity isn’t fun enough, isn’t exciting enough, that could be a barrier to young people doing it, not because we’re necessarily put them off, but because there are other exciting things for them to do.

So there are so many answers to that question and the purpose of the Congress is to move some of those barriers away and learn from each other.”

How do you see the potential of events like the MOVE Congress to facilitate change?

Ali Oliver: “Things like the MOVE Congress help us realise that we’re all dealing with the same issues – we’re in different countries but the issues are the same. And once we’re united in that understanding, the great thing is that every country will come at the problem from a different angle.

Just sitting in the sessions and listening to people we can learn so much from each other. And then, importantly, we can use what we are learning in other countries to advocate and influence decision makers in our own nations. Whether that is school leaders, policy makers or whether it’s as simple as families, parents and carers of young people.”

There are so many more angles to explore when it comes to school sport and physical activity in schools. It is also natural that with the Hungarian School Sport Federation (HSSF) as our organising partner, we have dedicated a whole new track to Discovering new perspectives on physical activity promotion among school children – featuring the results and way forward for HSSF’s EU Physical Activity Label for Schools project.

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