Commenting on the results of the findings, gathered as part of the Irish Life Health’s 2017 school fitness challenge survey, Clive Byrne, Director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, said:
“It is absolutely vital that we recognise the importance of students’ physical health, particularly during exam years when stress levels will rise and there’s a tendency to have an unhealthy focus on exam results alone. Teachers, school management, and parents need to work together to ensure that students don’t become lost in the pressures of exams, to the detriment of their general health.
Alongside that, the provision of physical education in our schools has been neglected for many years, with underinvestment in facilities a significant problem for many schools. We need to see greater investment in facilities, as well as recognition that students’ physical and mental wellbeing are an important part of their education. We need to see leadership, both in schools and at Government-level, for prioritising student’s overall health and wellbeing, particularly during the difficult junior and leaving certificate exam cycles.”