By Graeme Paton, Education Correspondent
Children are misbehaving in the classroom because of a lack of opportunity to play sport, a new report states.
In one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind, academics at Loughborough University found that games such as football and rugby can boost attendance levels, cut bad behaviour and increase self-esteem.
A total of 11,000 pupils, aged from 11 to 16, were given extra PE and after-school activities over a three-year period. As a result, three-quarters of the pupils showed better behaviour and overall attendance soared by up to 10 per cent.
The findings come amid growing fears that a lack of competitive sport in many schools may be to blame for persistent underachievement.
Earlier this year, Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, condemned the "perverse political correctness" which led to many teachers banning competition between schools.
A recent study by Oxford University warned that the Government's recommended two hours of PE every week was inadequate - insisting that state schools should emulate those in the private sector by offering games every day.