Damian Hinds launches Activity Passport to inspire young people

2019-01-07

Education secretary Damian Hinds has launched an Activity Passport for schools in a bid to inspire children and boost resilience.


Designed to encourage pupils to pursue new interests, the passport advocates the ditching of gadgets by providing a list of 140 prescribed activities for children to complete.


The list includes actions such as baking a cake, sewing on buttons and climbing trees and while it will be sent to schools in January, it is not compulsory.


Mr Hinds revealed that the idea took inspiration from a visit to St Werburgh’s Primary School in Bristol, which encourages pupils to take part in numerous activities and to tick them off a list as they go.


It is hoped that the lists – which feature 20 activities that get more complicated as a child progresses through each school year – will help with the development of personal skills.


Whereas pupils in year 1 are urged to visit a farm or fly a kite, for example, those in year 6 are encouraged to visit a new city or write a speech.


Mr Hinds revealed that he was basing the new activities list on feedback from parents, having asked many what they wanted most for their children.


“The instinctive answer that came back was never about the curriculum or qualifications, vital as these are – what they wanted first and foremost was for their child to be happy and healthy,” he explained. 


“As a father, that’s what I want for my children and as education secretary that’s what I want for all children in this country.”


Mr Hinds also said that feedback from teachers regularly highlighted the need for children to “have the chance to try things out” and “to get a taste of the world around them” – something the activities passport aims to support.


“Experience is a great teacher and can equip children with valuable skills that prepare for any challenges life may throw at them,” he said. “What’s on the inside – someone’s character, drive, resilience, and the ability to stick to a goal – is just as important as their academic achievements.”


Numerous groups have lent their backing to the passport, including the National Trust, Scouts and Action for Children.


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