Physical activity is a key part of ensuring we stay healthy. Achieving sufficient levels of activity can help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases (such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes) and help to prolong our activity into older life.
Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, there has been a strong wave of public support for key workers and this has included teachers; for example, they are explicitly mentioned on the front page of the clap for our carers website. However there are widely differing views about the crucial role of schools and teachers in enabling the economy to begin to return to something like normal. On one side the right wing press - and the Education Secretary - cleverly placed this as a call to the 'duty' of teachers, positioning 'hero' teachers in opposition to the teacher unions. On the other, many parents are concerned about the safety of schools for their children. Other UK nations - not to mention some English LAs - take the view that it is unsafe to open schools so soon, as we can see. Meanwhile, the Children's Commissioner argues that disadvantaged children need to return to school quickly.
Universities have proved their worth in the COVID-19 crisis, responding at speed not simply to their own students and research partners’ changed demands, but to the communities and the national effort. But there is a clear sense that the skies will darken once the immediate crisis abates. The concerns include a precipitous fall in international students and constrained local mobility, student retention and progression to university, and the impact of a prolonged economic recession on research and development budgets. These concerns led Universities UK – the umbrella body for the country’s 137 universities, of which I am a Board member, to develop a proposal to government for a systematic programme of support.
There are nearly seven million 16-24 years olds in the UK; around 1 in 10 of the national population.
The scale of government responses across much of the world to the Covid-19 pandemic have been unprecedented in peacetime. Extensive business and employee support schemes (such as furloughing) have prevented an economic downturn turning into a huge crisis of mass unemployment and rapidly increasing poverty.