Physical Literacy Statement 2

Sport Ireland and Sport Northern Ireland collaborate to develop an All-Island Physical Literacy Consensus Statement

04 Oct 2022
Sarah Stanley

Ministers from the North and South joined sporting chiefs to launch the All-Island Physical Literacy Consensus Statement that aims to promote a culture of lifelong participation in physical activity and sport for all.

Being physically active throughout life can enrich a person’s quality of life. As physical literacy plays a key role in influencing choices to participate in physical activity, it must be clearly defined so it can be understood by everyone.

This launch celebrates Sport Ireland’s and Sport Northern Ireland’s achievement in creating and all-island definition and for being 1 of 3 countries in the world, and the first in Europe, which has a national Consensus Statement for physical literacy.

The statement defines physical literacy as:

“Physical literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding that enables a person to value and participate in physical activity throughout life.”

This Statement advocates for the integration of this Physical Literacy definition into policy, practice and research; and encourages collaboration between key organisations and sectors.

Endorsement of this Consensus Statement provides the foundation for the creation of a culture wherein lifelong physical literacy and physical activity for all are valued and promoted, and in which each person has the opportunity to benefit from a better quality of life.

“Physical literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding that enables a person to value and participate in physical activity throughout life.”

Speaking on the creation of the Statement, Minister of State for Sport and the Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers commented: “This is a very important development to create an All-Island Consensus Statement and encourage lifelong participation in sport for everyone. Having a clear understanding can be a major benefit for people to become more active, more involved and have a greater enjoyment in physical activity regardless of the activity being undertaken. I am looking forward to seeing the fruits of this come to life in the future. I would like to complement both Sport Ireland and Sport Northern Ireland for coming together to create and develop this statement which will have many benefits in the future.”

Also speaking on its production, the Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey said: “I am delighted to attend the launch today of the All-island Consensus Statement, which provides an agreed definition for physical literacy. This emphasises the importance of learning fundamental skills from a young age, so that we can enjoy a lifetime of participating in sport and physical activity. My Department’s Strategy for Sport and Physical Activity – Active Living, aims to get more people, more active, more of the time. Physical literacy plays a key role in this regard, especially as it can influence the choices for individuals to participate in physical activity whether young or old.“

Sport Ireland CEO Dr Una May commented: “As someone who advocates for being physically active within sport, this Consensus Statement sheds a light on the definition of physical literacy, which in turn encourages everyone to be motivated and confident in their physical activity journey. It is a fundamental concept that will be a pillar of Sport Ireland policy. It will be included in the new Sport Ireland strategy and embedded across Sport Ireland’s programmes. We would like to extend our thanks to the all-island research team made-up of academics from Ulster University, University of Limerick, Dublin City University and University College Cork, who completed the research in this area on our behalf. We also thank Stranmillis University College, which was instrumental in the development  of the statement..

Sport Northern Ireland CEO Antoinette McKeown commented: “Across a huge range of sports there are skills that form common building blocks, whether it be throwing & catching, swinging & striking, or balance & movement. How we think about them, do them, and how they make us feel when we are participating, all make up our experience of sport, including from a very young age. This all-island agreement will help create a culture in which physical literacy and physical activity are valued and promoted, that will benefit our children and communities for generations to come.”

The aspiration to create an All-Island Physical Consensus Statement was advanced in 2020 when Sport Ireland collaborated with Sport Northern Ireland to create one definition that would be endorsed, disseminated and implemented on an all-island level.

Read the Physical Literacy Statement