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PE lessons at school down to one a week

A number of primary school children are missing one of their two weekly physical education lessons after six visiting teachers dropped out unexpectedly.

This was something no ministry can control

The Education Ministry confirmed that some primary state school children were getting only one of their two weekly lessons, after six peripatetic PE teachers changed jobs or took long leave.

Meanwhile, the Directorate for Educational Services has conducted two sets of interviews with prospective teachers, and is going through the selection process.

“It is unfortunate that members of the teaching staff decide to move out of their jobs shortly after the beginning of the scholastic year without prior notice as this invariably plays havoc with timetables and staff placements decided upon before the students start school,” a spokesman said.

While one of these two weekly PE lessons is the responsibility of the class teacher – and there is currently no shortage of primary class teachers – peripatetic PE teachers are responsible for the other lesson.

The spokesman added that the affected schools form part of St Nicholas and St Theresa College, but parents of St Anne primary school, Marsascala, which forms part of the St Thomas Moore College cluster have also noticed that their children where only having one weekly PE lesson.

This drop in PE lessons came at a time when awareness campaigns are focusing on the importance of leading a healthy and active lifestyle from an early life.

When contacted, the Health Ministry reiterated that the teachers’ resignations led to a decrease of PE lessons in some schools, but this was something “no ministry can control”.

The Health Ministry was asked what it was doing to ensure children got their allocated exercise.

A spokesman said the Government has been underlining the importance of an active lifestyle and daily exercise throughout its legislature and invested in policies like the National Obesity strategy.

“Physical exercise is central to all of this. In fact, access to places like the free open-air gyms, such as the ones in Żabbar, Mellieħa and Ta’ Qali, and a considerable increase in open air spaces, such as the parks at Xrobb l-Għaġin, Salini, and the Ta’ Qali extension are all realities forming part of this holistic approach.”

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