Status: Physical literacy is described by the long-term athlete development model, which focuses on developmental stages and windows of opportunity for learning key skills. This model explicitly focuses on developing athletes and sportspeople, and maintains that primary schools are the most important setting for the delivery of physical literacy, since they offer a constant and reliable opportunity to reach every child. In recognition, Northern Irish schools have physical development and movement components in the curriculum. Physical literacy has been endorsed by governing bodies in Northern Ireland through the alignment of their policies and programs. The strategy, as provided in the document, Sport Matters: The Northern Ireland Strategy for Sport and Physical Recreation 2009-2019,54 and endorsed by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and the Department of Social Development, supports the development of physical literacy through coaching. The intent is to provide additional opportunities for children and young people to be active and develop the movement competence or fundamental movement skills associated with physical literacy.[55]  

Definition: Physical literacy in Northern Ireland is defined as “the ability to use body management, locomotor and object control skills in a competent manner, with the capacity to apply them confidently, through play and practice, in settings which may lead to sustained involvement in sport and physical recreation.”[56]

Leadership: Sport Northern Ireland (SNI), with support from the government of Northern Ireland and Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, and the Department of Social Development.

Funding: Sport Northern Ireland has been funded by the Sports Council of Northern Ireland. SNI and lottery funding (in addition to funding through private sector sponsorships and partnerships) was pooled to deliver a program called Sport in Our Community, a physical activity and physical-literacy-based program. 

Sector and Venue: Physical literacy is taught and developed through physical education and organized sport, provided in schools, and practiced to teach fundamental movement skills.[57]   

Key Resources: 

Sport Matters: A Culture of Lifelong Enjoyment and Success in Sport: The Northern Ireland Strategy for Sport and Physical Recreation 2009-2019: This resource provides a strategy for sport that makes reference to physical literacy, includes information relevant to inclusion, and plays an important role in messaging.[58]